What to do when my spouse is refusing leukemia treatment?

24 answers | Last updated: Jul 24, 2014
A fellow caregiver asked...

My husband last week told me he has leukemia.

I was shocked, I cried, I looked for information on the illness and found some facts about it. I shared this information with him. He promptly told me that he would refuse all treatment. Other than crying and waiting, what else can I do?

Expert Answers

Bonnie Bajorek Daneker is author and creator of the The Compassionate Caregiver's Series, which includes "The Compassionate Caregiver's Guide to Caring for Someone with Cancer," "The Journey of Grief," "Handbook on Hospice and Palliative Care," and other titles on cancer diagnosis and end of life. She speaks regularly at cancer research and support functions, including PANCAN and Cancer Survivor's Network. She is a former member of the Executive Committee of the CSN at St. Joseph's Hospital of Atlanta and the Georgia Chapter of the Lymphoma Research Foundation.

When someone you love has leukemia and is refusing treatment, it's tough to understand, especially with the many treatment options that exist. 

You may feel powerless, but instead,  congratulate yourself for already being appropriately reactive. You are showing you care by gathering information and sharing it with him.

These are good first steps. You'll want him to make an educated decision, and you'll want to give him time to make it.  This is important, because he may change his mind when he sees his options. If he does, let him and support him the way he wants you to (doctor appointments, running errands, physically tending him, etc.).

If he doesn't change his mind -- and this is his decision, remember -- support him then too. In fact, he will need you more if this is the case (besides physical tending there will be tying up loose ends, resolving conflicts, planning for end of life). Many people find peace with a cancer diagnosis and view it as a release. You might consider having a conversation about this with him, which would help you to understand his position. 

In either instance, prepare yourself for what to expect by getting information on his specific case from his oncologist or nurse practitioner.

Remember, crying and waiting are often part of the process. You're not alone and I would recommend that you join a group to help you talk about it. The Leukemia-Lymphoma Team in Training group is wonderful. Take a look at: http://www.teamintraining.org/. Or, consider a member of the clergy, who usually have wonderful listening abilities. Good luck.

Community Answers

James ballard answered...

11:20 AM CST...may be a form of denial; but first, how old is your husband and how long have the two of you been together ?    J. B. 7/8/09

Octoman answered...

Well I refused treatment ,for cancer seven years ago.There  is nothing to say you will fare better with treatment  than without it the Docters are biased because if all people were like me,they would be out of employment, I have had three major illnesses and reversed the cause each time no medical treatment ,my brother refused a heart bypass operation ten years ago.he is now fit and active There are conditions that need urgent medical care,but do not leave it all to doctors .they are  biased just like the rest of us

James ballard answered...

4:25 PM CST

"There is nothing to say you will fare better with treatment than without it"

...Well sorry "Octoman", not sure which med school you attended that would affirm such a contention, but it's clear you don't want anyone telling you anything different.

Just speaking for myself, of course, I prefer not to turn the clock back over a 100 years and face the same mortality rate our ancestors suffered in the 19th Century.

I suppose if you lived isolated in a vacuum, with no one around your sphere of influence, your position might be tenable.

It is your life. But it's also your agenda that you're not being up front about. I suspect it's some kind of control issue that you prefer to one up some one else on...you got cards you ain't show'in.

You choose to play Russian roulette with your life, fine, but be honest about it with your loved ones and tell them your preference is death.

 J.B. 7/9/09

Octoman answered...

Jamed Ballard .Well 30 years ago  my brother in law and I both had  rheumatoid arthritis with the same symtoms. He had treatment,I did not he became disabled. and died 10 years ago,after years of pain and suffering.he believed the drugs,had ruined his health.I agreed .7 years ago a golfing mate and I were  both diagnosed with stomach cancer,he had the treatment, I did not,he thought I was commiting suicide,but he died just 10 months later .My sister in law was diagnosed with cancer the beginning of this year she lasted 3 months she may died without treatment but she would not have suffered the awful side affects of the treatment.100 years ago people were over worked and underfed my father was the only survivor of a family of twelve children it was the living conditions that killed them .You think I am blind and I think you are blinded.Hundreds of thousands of cancer patients are dying every year I am eighty years old next year,I know if I had the recommended treatment I would not be fit and active and loving life as I am now.or even alive.I have had a lot more friends and relatives who would be better off without treatment.My wife for one.I admit some people would rather die than change their life styles.But have you ever wondered how the human race has  survived for thousands of years without pills?  I have a friend whose son is a Doctor,who told  him "Dad dont become a patient"I am still working hard not to be one.It could be a slippery slope.  

Octoman answered...

James Ballard Just a comment.on my wife she like you believed Doctor 's were godlike.20 years ago she was diagnosed with osteoathritis.so she ignored my opinions,and got on the slippery slope of pills and more pills,she then later during a test  the doctors discovered she had precancerous cells in her womb( that what doctors are good at finding things ).so she agreed to have an hysterectomy,Again against my advise ,after the operation she lapsed into a diabetic coma,yes they did not take notice of her high blood sugar readings ,so now she is a diabetic,Next they find the knee's are so bad they recommend knee replacement,so as usual my wife is up for it,against my wishes,Low and behold the operation was a success except during the operation they managed to prolapse three disks in her back so she has no benefit from her new knee's and she is in constant pain with her back,and has a load of pills for company,All through these trials and tribulations she has never lost faith in doctors or gained any in me.so James I know your mind set better than you know mine,If I cannot change a believer like my wife, I have no chance with you.but I never give up. Thats why I am fit and healthy,anyone for tennis? PS I have had lots of  experiences like this,There are two deaths on average every year in my senior golf society two have popped off already this year. they were not struck by golf balls either.

James ballard answered...

1:30 PM CST

Mr. Octoman :

The depth of your anecdotal rationalizing is amazing. Yes, I read your bio after my response to you, wherein you stated you had read "many books".

Well, you need to read more books. Especially history, because your view of history, which I see by no mere coincidence ties in very neatly with all your anecdotal rationalizations, is very distorted and just plain inaccurate.

I suspect if you spent more time reading and listening, and less time on the golf course, your mind-boggling naivete would not be showing.

Not to mention all the major plagues throughout the centuries, which have been cured ONLY through the advances of medicine, the number one killer in the 19th century was what was then commonly called "consumption", now known as tuberculosis.

The "Black Death" alone, in the 14th century, wiped out at least one third of Europe. Some say half.

 It was not until the 19th century (1860) that Louis Pasteur discovered that pathogens (bacteria/viruses/ fungi and parasites) were the direct cause of disease.

The major cause of death before the discovery AND treatment of pathogens was DISEASE, not "being overworked and underfed", which, I'm sorry Mr. "Octoman", is about the most ignorant wholesale accounting of history I've ever heard, and a lame excuse to call back the darkness of centuries past.

Do you believe the American Indian was "overworked and underfed" before the intrusion of the white man, or subjected to wholesale genocide by guns and calvary, like you see on TV ? Oh, there were blood soaked massacres of Indians throughout early American history, but it may surprise you to know that the number one killer of the vast majority of the American Indian population was DISEASE, brought over from, daahh, EUROPE !! Beginning in the 15th century, throughout and up until the 19th century, there were literally hundreds of whole tribes that you've never heard of that were decimated by the white man's disease, within a spread of over four centuries.

Does the name Jonas Salk mean anything to you ? How about the vaccine for polio, which literally saved thousands of children in the middle of the last century ? It wasn't voodoo, or homespun sophomoric anecdotes that developed the vaccine.

I hope you don't pass your extremely shortsighted distortions of history on to your grandchildren.

And no, I never said doctors were "godlike" as you have accused me of saying; you'll have to point that out to me, wherever I was supposed to have said it.

But since you like anecdotes, let me give you one.

When I was an infant I had contracted tuberculosis, or "TB", from my maternal grandmother. The doctors had diagnosed the TB when I was only one, and were loathe to operate on that young an infant. By the time I was 2, the virus had destroyed my entire left lung.

By then it was simple. Either operate, or the infant dies. This is before the chemistry was available. The chemistry that cured the virus. The chemistry that you don't like.

There was no need for a play by play storyline of each and every victim of this disease. The graveyards were full of MILLIONS of victims of this disease, from centuries past.

No "exercise" on a golf course, and no cognitive insights of idiosyncratic anecdotes about all our relatives and ancestors was going to save the infant. The numbers didn't need to be counted. The odds didn't need to be calculated. And my parents were wise enough not to prefer a plumber to perform the operation.

Oh, and did I mention there were no books that I could read that might save me. Being that I was an infant, I couldn't read at all, in fact.

So, it was either operate, or the patient dies. In today's parlance, it was a "no-brainer". The doctor, who was ironically from Europe, removed an entire diseased left lung. The very next day, instead of lying in the bed coughing up tuberculin sputum, I was hopp'in up & down in the old iron rail bed, trying to make a premature exit from the hospital and go home to Ma And Dad. In terms of both the operation and my recovery, I was considered a "textbook miracle", according to my mother and uncle.

That was 1950.

Were it not for the operation, I wouldn't be here making a fruitless effort to teach the facts of life to a stubborn, self-deluded old man spouting off his self-indulgent armchair "medical" assumptions to the unwary and frustrated.

For every foolish (albeit endearing) anecdotal fable you can summon up to support your superstitious and phobic attitude about medicine and doctors, there are THOUSANDS of success stories wherein the advance of medical science bear up in the light of rock solid review.

Of course, you choose to ignore the successes because they don't fit into your ongoing internal musings from the golf course.

One of my favorite authors, Mark Twain, once said something to the effect that if smoking took 20 years off his life, he would still rule in favor of the "pleasures" of smoking. With cigars and pipe in tow, Twain lived to the ripe old age of, whatever; I ain't gonna look it up now, just to make you feel good...

Well, my uncle, not having the same genetic constitution as Mark Twain, was not so lucky as to afford the luxury of Twain's cavalier and (as Twain would be the first to admit) self-serving choices. My Uncle kicked before the age of 60. Suicide by smoking. Oh, and he didn't like doctors either; they were always reminding him (until they got fed up) that he was killing himself by smoking.

My uncle's slow self destruct was a wonder to behold. With a 25 % breathing capacity from smoke induced chronic emphysema, he would sit on his bathroom throne in the mornings, coughing up phlegm from lying supine during the previous sleepless night, holding an oxygen cannister in the left hand, the long rubber hose teathered to the cannula on his nose, and holding a lit cigarette in his right hand. He was patiently waiting to blow up and take with him the house he couldn't sell.

And it didn't help when his idiot employee associates would give him neatly wrapped cartons of cigarettes for Christmas. (Guess they were in a hurry for him to check out too)

No, I never said doctors were "godlike". They're human, and they will make mistakes.

But doctors do not have a cure for stupidity... which does not confine itself to any particular age.

I will assume, Kenneth, that you have integrity.

If you do, you will show this entry not only to your wife, who was the person that made the pleading, desperate inquiry onto this site to begin with, but all the other friends and relatives whom you've tried to bamboozle over to your side.

They may not like my style, but at least they'll know there is one reader who was not fooled by an 80 year old amateur.

J.B. 7/10/09


Octoman answered...

Well James I was right ,I did not convince you, You have already  convinced yourself you know all the answers. and I am just an anecdotal moron.You live in a wonderful world,where science has triumphed over nature and all is well with the world.I enjoyed being Aunt Sally in your letter I hope you enjoyed throwing your insults. 

Octoman answered...

This website gives cancer suffers a great deal of helpful information.but it cannot advise you not to take cancer treatment,the latest news states one third of breast cancers do not require treatment,but they cannot tell which thet are so they all have to be treated.Prostrate cancer only 0ne patient  in a hundred will die from it ,but they treat all to save the one.these are facts.so whats my point?If someone who does not want treatment are not choosing certain death.but how they will die.10,000 breast cancer patients die every year in the UK and they were all treated,so you see how my twisted mind works.I choose to keep my stomach and take my chances.So I think its up to you to decide how you live,or die.

James ballard answered...

4:00 AM CST

Now see here you ole...well I won't say it...but I will say that's a pretty cheeep shot for an 80 year old man who's supposedly done red so "many books" !!. (And I wish yu would lerrn how ta spelle "Docter"!!)

In case the meaning has momentarily slipped your mind, a distinct possibility given BOTH our ages, I want you to get your dictionary out and hunt down the old and very useful 16th century Latin term :"ad hominem".

Now I'll be the first to admit, if you'll follow by do'in the same, that indeed I did engage in a little ad hominem and of course I had fun do'in it, simply because I see right through the very nature of your form of denial.

If I've seen it once, I've seen it a thousand times, on the faces of patients I used to work on...uh...I mean work with. I know denial when I hear it, and I know rationalizations when I hear them, whether yer 20. Or 80. You ain't gonna slip by me so you better get used to it if you wanna stay on this here blog.

(And do try to form your complete answer in one response 'cause this template is really screwy by the way it gets responses out of sync. No sooner did I have my brilliant answer that I saw you had a second brilliant answer to my brilliant answer, thus mess'in up both my perfect timing and subtly nuanced state of mind...)

Correct me if I'm wrong but the gist of ad hominem involves at least one party swapp'in out character assassination to an opponent in place of owning up to or at least challenging the opponent's contentions.

If you'll add up the points, the majority of my statements involved brief and simple historical outlines that can easily be verified, combined with my own anecdotal proffering, again based on facts I can easily back up.

Whereas you, on the other hand, present me with classic avoidance, ad hominem, and a superficial attempt at self-deprecation.

Didn't bother to show me where I said doctors are "godlike"...and no I don't think "science has triumphed over nature" (never said that either), and  although you claim "they can't advise you not to take treatment" on this site, if you'll read Bonnie's answer carefully you'll see she's making a very clear and open-ended suggestion that the matter of choice IS your choice"...so, who are you fool'in ?

In your second response, you again wax anecdotal on me in your "clever" way that I have no way of verifying as to the explicit nature of the so called "cancers" you're claiming to have survived.

All cancers work in mysterious ways, and survival rates vary within a broad spectrum, from genetic predisposition, physical health, diet, degree of malignancy, longevity of remission and even cultural influences.

I have no way of knowing whether your "stomach cancer" was a low level malignancy, a benign tumor, or a misdiagnosed ulcer. It's easy to play fast and loose with anecdotal "facts" in cyberspace, when there's really no one around to either confirm or deny.

And I don't know where you get all these assumptions like they "treat all to save one". Nothwithstanding the fact that there are some 45 million Americans without insurance, another 30 to 40 odd million under insured, and countless Americans who have consistently paid their premiums yet denied insurance when the shoe drops...how can anyone say with any certainty who's getting treatment, who's denied, and who's refusing ?

And as far as any of the illnesses you're presenting, the body's response to them and the body's response to treatment are both determined on a case by case basis, not on these scrambled "stats" you insist on presenting as "facts'.

You also keep mixing apples and oranges. You can't play dice with disease, rolling each scenario around to suit your own conclusions.

Judging by your general physical good health, not to mention just plain mental orneriness, you probably have a realistic expectation to live to at least up to 100 (God help us !!). You owe it to all your friends and relations, and just maybe especially your wife, to at least consider modest treatment for your leukemia; many of these types of cancers are now considered relatively low maintenance, even treatable with relatively fewer side effect risks.

I'm more of a stronger advocate than you might suspect for respecting the choices of "older" folks, especially cancer patients, and it is your life we're talk'in here.

But the way you carry on, busying yourself on all those other blogs you've visited, somehow I don't think you see yourself as "older folk".

Take a long look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself am I ready to go to that golf course in the sky, and do I owe any consideration to the entreaties of my loved ones ?

All your silly ruminations and posturings just might pale if you discover you don't really live in vacuum.

You claim you "love life"...well, unless you live by candlelight and ride a wagon hitched to a mule and communicate with two cans and a string (which of course your use of the computer says otherwise), your 80 year testament to life on this planet has been surrounded, steeped in and dependent on the "science" you roundly criticize and mistrust.

An old Louis "Satchmo" maxim comes to mind : "There are some people that if they don't know, you can't tell 'em."

I don't think your one of those people because I think you've already showed me the young heart beneath that fuzzy old mask.

Am I right or am I right ?

J.B. 7/11/09

Octoman answered...

 As for playing golf in the next life.I believe we only have one life,this one so I try to make the most of mine,but I do not insult people who do belive in a after life.Every one should believe what has most meaning to them,only bigots believe that people should believe as they do.. I live in England where you dont have to pay for treatment. I had biopsy and CAT scans also  a PET scan and second opinion.for nothing which showed I had a active cancer in my upper stomach and growths in my liver and kidneys. not active.but the problem is not me its the poor bloke who does not want treatment for his cancer .I thought my experience might be of help.I did not try to upset you,you decided that. sorry for the Freudian slip,which showed I have little respect for Doctors.

James ballard answered...

2:00 PM CST

Ahh..."Merry ole Englund"... mother country to many of us...land of the greatest bard of all time...funny thing is there's a distinct possibility we don't really know who the hell he was...but then, 400 plus years later, we got the plays. That's what counts.


Now ole Ogdon (Nash) would take severe exception to my cavalier attitude on the subject...and who was the ex-MP who also supports the Baron of Oxford theory ? I liked him too.


The fact that we don't have ANY of the play manuscripts in ole Billy-boy's handwriting...that has always bugged me...long before the famous 1990s "Frontline" documentary on the subject.


I play with antique prints. At least one lame excuse I've heard in defense of Shakespeare being Shakespeare is : Oh...the players shuffled 'em around so much that all the manuscripts got destroyed !!...now you can't get more lame than that...Rag paper can last way over 400 years...you'd think at least a scrap or two of the ole bard's masterpieces would be float'in 'round somewhere visible, you think ??...no pulp paper around then.


Somebody (hopefully in mother England) ain't talk'in. Somebody's hoarding those papers. Somebody knows and somebody's ly'in. Wouldn't surprise me a bit if it's Royalty. The token "100" paintings on display at the Palace that Prince Charming Charlie was show'in off a few years back was merely the iceburg tip...what was it ? 4,000 + artworks hoarded away in the Palace basement ?? Give us a break.


Maybe this is the way it should be. The greatest writer of all time. I sure as hell wouldn't want any American "experts" laying their primitive hands on Shakespeare manuscripts.


I've always been an unyielding supporter of an artist getting due credit, having been a photojournalist myself one time.


But in the case of Shakespeare...I must say ole chap, in the sacrilege of doubt, the worm turneth a double face...I have no doubt whatsoever that if the real "Shakespeare" were alive, he'd be laughing at both sides of the equation. The dusty death of vanity still plays as well today as in his day, probably more so in these gaudy times. Much more.


(I'll never forget the obvious defensive posturing of the "Elizabethan scholar" and his petulant attempts to defend "Shakespeare" being Shakespeare; if he's ultimately right, it sure didn't play well on the idiot tube !! He was a pitiful sight ! Not the best choice to have in Shakespeare's corner !)


I say let the mystery keep. For now. Til I solve it !


Now you got me all confused as to who's got what and how much. Is the "poor bloke" with the leukemia a different bloke or were you just being extemporaneous as per usual ?


One old man confusing another old man.


And I ain't "upset". This is me as per usual as in not upset. Don't upset me by call'in me upset or I'll get upset, then you will be in trouble 'cause then I will be upset !!...


Ain't this a great blog ! And I ain't even a "blogger" !


As for religion I'm a fan of one of mother country's son's : Christopher Hitchens. But more the agnostic me. I let religion be at peace with itself, except when I see it going out of it's way to get in peoples faces. The vulnerable people they prey on.


You have to understand we have a bipolar epidemic in this sad country of ours. Fanaticism has ruled the day for at least the last eight years, and unlike the patient Christopher, I will insult any "religious" fanatic whenever the opportunity avails itself; the quicker they run and hide, the better off for everyone.


Their ignorance has poisoned our waters way too long.


Europe, including the stubborn, mind expanding merry ole English Isle (British & Irish isles I mean), has the luxury of being way ahead of the eight ball of experience compared to U.S.A. We just haven't grown up yet.


I'll exit for now and leave you in the company of the Bard himself :


"Of comfort no man speak.

Let's talk of graves, of worms, and epitaphs,

Make dust our paper, and with rainy eyes

Write sorrow on the bosom of the earth.

Let's choose executors and talk of wills-

And yet not so, for what can we bequeath

Save our deposed bodies to the ground."

[Richard II, 1595]



Hamlet : "The dread of something after death,

The undiscover'd country from whose bourn

No traveler returns, puzzles the will

And makes us rather bear those ills we have

Than fly to others that we know not of ?"

[Hamlet, 1600]

J.B. 7/11/09

Octoman answered...

James Do you have cancer?Also your last answer was more interesting,So you are old ,I am not ,well I dont feel old I feel I am still growing up with lots to learn,even you taught me something,Yes I can learn .My golf club secretary,tried to give a swing lesson last week  I said "after 40 years and loads of tuition by professionals ,you must be joking",but I tried it and wow it worked.Have you ever realized if no one ever thought differently,we would still believe the  earth was centre of the universe? 

James ballard answered...


12:30 AM CST

As you seem to prefer the impromptu side of conversation, let me say that if I have cancer, I wouldn't know of it. Haven't seen a doc in nearly 20 years. The matter of one's health in this country is a matter of privilege, not a right; as it is a right in the more civilized industrial countries.

I'm sure you'll correct me if I'm wrong, but I suspect you've had a relatively easy ride in your 80 years on the world's stage, with all the world's medical advances one phone call away. That's why I may well be older than you, though you are 80 and I, 61.

My brother's ride was not as smooth in time. His sojourn lasted 20 years, less than a month away from his 21st birthday. His death was slow. Painful. And insipiently diminishing in both the dignity and personality he warmly conveyed to all around him.

At about the age of 16, a local quack who called himself a "neurologist" (the only "neurologist" in Huntsville at the time, c.1973) declared my brother's first grand mal seizure to be nothing more than a "sun stroke"; but of course, as the seizures continued, my brother was put on a routine regimen of barbiturates to minimize the "events". Now this was all without knowing the cause of these cerebral "events", which other "doctors" eventually labeled "idiopathic" in origin; which you probably know is an inherently distracting duck & cover "medical" term of choice doctors adapt when they are in the dark over something. Doctors can come up with some amazing labels to soft-pedal their ignorance.

We didn't know then that an early form of the C.T. scan was available 100 miles away, in Birmingham, but the original quack did not have the presence of mind to recommend it. It could have gained my brother a few more years, at least that. I think my father had something to do with running the quack out of town.

By the age of 19 my brother had the good fortune, if you can call it that, to move with our family to Laurel, Maryland. In Baltimore, at Johns Hopkins, my brother had his first C.T. scan, a test he should've had when he was 16.

Astrocytoma, Grade 3. The size of a small orange. Soon to become a glioblastoma multiforme (Gade 4), the most deadly of all brain tumors. Astrocytomas are always fatal. The lengh of time the patient has left is totally dependent on how early the tumor is found. In my brother's case, after three delayed years of medical incompetence, the matter had become academic. 

My brother had been an athlete, by the way, all through junior high and high school. Never abused his body; always active.

They gave him 9 months to live. That's with treatment. Both radiation and chemo.

Nine months. As long as it takes to be born. Two years out of high school. Just beginning to taste life.

I actually had to talk him into taking that first CT scan.

"I don't have a tumor, Rick", he said.

A normal attitude for a 19 year old to have. Half boy. Half man. Too young to imagine  death. Death cannot take the young. Who needs a test to ward off death when you're only 19 ?

My brother died in 1978. The same malignant tumor he had now grows steady in the brain of one of our good senators, Edward Kennedy. Still no cure, but early intervention, and with some medical advances, the senator has bought a little more time. Unlike my brother in his final months, Kennedy can still walk around and talk, his cognitive abilities and personality still intact. For a little while longer at least.

And the good senator has had a full life. He can say that. My brother can't.

Several years ago I retrieved all my brother's medical records from the family attic. To this day, I have not read them. You see, I don't trust myself to know what I would do if I was to relearn that quack's name. And find out where he lived.

My father also died of another cancer. In '84. I'm the only surviving male member of the family.

My best friend died in '95.

I know the face of the Reaper. I may live another day, or maybe even to 80. I figure I've already got 40 plus years on my dear brother. There are a few things left that I fear on this planet.

The Grim Reaper is not one of them.

You see I too have my own baggage when it comes to doctors and our corrupted American medical system. But as long as we have disease and aging, both doctors and medical "science" will be two necessary evils we'll have to contend with.

And yes there are a few flat-earthers still out there. Religious fanaticism is rampant. (When Robert, my brother, was alive, a preacher told him he had a brain tumor because he was a "sinner". I told my folks never to let him in the house again because either he or myself would've ended up in the hospital. I think the idiot-boy "preacher" got the message 'cause he never showed his face again. I suspect my father helped).

I can assure you there are people here, lots of them, more than you'd want to believe, who would think Copernicus is the name of a hamburger, or a place to live. Oh, where is that ? In China ? Well ? "China" and "Copernicus". Both start with a "C", right ? ...Or is it a "K" ?? Say the word "heliocentric" to these clowns and they think you're talking about a balloon.

One minute on the idiot box here, and you'll see there are plenty of morons who behave as though they are the center of the universe.

We've got elected politician's here, like Senator Sylvia Allen, Arizona (R), who says the "world is 6000 years old" (google her !). And former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin believes humans and dinosaurs co-existed (guess she believes what she sees in the movies !). Elected by whom ? Elected by morons, obviously.

In all fairness, these morons are an embarrassment to many,  perhaps even most Americans. That is the prevailing hope amoung those citizenry with a functional IQ above 90. We'd like to think so, anyway.

These right wing "Republican" fanatical idiots are the direct heirs of Reagan and baby-faced Falwell's "moral Majority", from the 80's.  Unfortunately, they were organized idiots. Or really just a semblance of "organization" who made noice. All of them were morons of mediocrity who made a lot of noise. On radio. On TV. And their cloned constituents voted them into power.

Some say we are now finally getting past it. I'm not sure. There are whole generations of misguided and lied to youth whose knowledge of history extends no further than the brief period within which they were born.

Scary, isn't it ?

We'll have to get past them first.

I doubt that either you or I will be around for the next Era of Enlightenment.

At least, don't hold your breath.


J.B.  7/13/09



Octoman answered...

Well James Yes I have had the benifit of free medical treatment,but  it is no easy ride at 25 years of age  my first wife of 3 months and I were involved in a road accident she had a fractured skull and sadly died .I only had a fractured arm but was devastated,I later developed double vision and speech impedements and difficulty in walking  but it was only psychological ,and I could get free treatment ,psychoanalyst's. Group therapy ect  all free, after 6 years I was cured but I did it without their pills.As usual I thought they were pathetic . I read Carl G Jung's veiws  who explained drugs were just a crutch,and you have work on your mind to effect a cure My mother also had a mental illness after the accident  and spent the rest of her life in mental homes   My father had cancer of the throat and had radiation treatment. He was a big powerful man,but he was soon reduced to a wreck. The worst thing,to him was he lost his sense of taste(He loved his beer). He was given twice the recommended amount of radiation ,he survived the cancer but died from radiation poisoning a very painful death.My treatment for cancer was a botched at 73  I was diagosed as having acute anaemia A biopsy showed I had a cancer in my stomach,which was bleedingThe surgeon soon arranged to remove the cancer .He told me he would use Keyhole surgery to just remove the thumbnail sized cancer I would soon be playing golf again.A week later I was being wheeled into his operating theatre ,a casual remark to a nurse revealed  he intended to remove most of my stomach  with my cancer I asked him "Have lost your keyhole "but he ignored that remark and explain he would staple  my stomach back together, I would not have the small scar he had promised but a  very large one as the nurse had told me .I was soon unplugged  dressed and out of there.I went to see him a week later and he had good news the result of my preoperative scan showed my liver had a lot of growths also both my kidneys had growths they decided my cancer had spread so I was inoperatable Doomed!.Any way after a year and I was still alive they sent me for a PET scan which showed though the stomach cancer was active the other growths were not.Now we can operate,I told the surgeon I had no confidence in him,and went to a different hospital and a different surgeon who was more informative he even showed me my scan,(The other surgeon refused)He told me I may not survive the operation and he was not convinced the liver was clear of cancer and wanted  to do explorative surgery on that  as well (He was an expert on the liver he did liver transplants ).I decided.to refuse his offer .So you see free medication is not  the boon you think it is .I think you get a inferior service when doctors do not  get paid by results So you are 61 years old .I was a fire ball then I am more laid back now.I love the American bible belt,and watched the program were Richard Dawkins visited the creationists.I have read all Richard Dawkins books many times I am re-reading Steve Jones book  IN THE BLOOD,The first chapter God,Genesand Destiny is a brilliant summary of human thinking over the ages,I also read Scientific American magazine every month also brilliant especially the Evolution of Evolution January edition.All on Charles Darwin theories from various points of veiw. 

James ballard answered...

8:00 PM CST

...Sorry to hear about your first wife. When tragedy hits you that early, it's tough for anybody to get through it. And with a good shrink (esp. a "psychoanalyst"; European trained, I presume), you don't "need pills". If my math is right, that happened to you in the 50's, and I'm damn glad you weren't over here then. They probably would've zapped you with electrodes, considering the depths of your psychic pain. [When I was a Lic. Psychiatric Technician in California, I actually worked with a tech. who knew the real "Nurse Ratched". He told me Ken Kesey ("One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest") had her down to the crossed "T" s ! ]. It's not something I could back up; but whether the story's true or not , you can believe I knew MANY "Nurse Ratcheds" when I was a Psych. Tech.

There are many sick cretins "working" in psych.; an irony I was never able to reconcile, or willing to reconcile, much to the chagrin of a handful of private hospital owners and "working" incompetent "professionals" I blew the whistle on, back in the 80s.

Wherever you find the vulnerable, you can bet on finding insecure power hungry "Nurse Ratcheds" abusing them.

I need to stop second guessing your situation from afar; sounds like you may have also had your share of medical incompetence. But you have to be careful.

One nail bends, you don't throw the whole bag away. If Confucius didn't say that, I did. Now who's more important??!!

I would say next time you consult with any Doc, have a friend or relative who's not emotionally involved in the same room with you; that way you'll not only have a witness, you can share notes and confirm that you're not just hearing what you want to hear...or don't want to hear.

And line yourself up with some good PAIN MANAGEMENT professionals; senseless to spend your Winter years in pain. You've had enough of that.

 I love Dawkins too. Brilliant. I recorded his lecture(s) & debates off C-Span II "Book Tv". He was on Bill Maher once and he and Maher swapping barbs at the "religious" right morons was really funny.

You know I was thinking it's a wonder they haven't kicked us off this blog since we ain't always yapp'in medical.

Looks like they allow us to link; why don't we just e-mail. As brilliant as I am, I have no doubt I could learn a thing or two from an old English sage like you. If the link doesn't work, I own the Art Link To The World domain; you'll find my e-mail there. Just don't get bored reading my "Purpose/Philosophy" page !!


J.B. 7/13/09


Octoman answered...

Hello again James,so you have psychiatric experience and are aware of the minds control over the body. I was completly taken by  suprise when first experienced it .I used to punched my legs to try force them to work I thought there is  nothing wrong with them,But I found out through Carl Jung that my mind and attitude was the cause of my disabllities,This was never considered  by my shrink and his drug culture,I believe I also believe I caused my cancer .I had a very stressful job well I made it so. I believe if your mind can cause  your illness it can also cure it via the imune system,we really give the imune system a bad time the food we eat our stressful lifestlyles, stress is the cause of most illnesses, Oh if we get kicked off this section we can always move to the insanity section.also I found ways of controlling my pain no drugs,Just mind control and common sense.It is all in the mind so they say.    

James ballard answered...

3:30 AM CST

...Uh...well...in most psych. circles I hung around, the operative model for "psychiatric experience" did not include esoteric concepts like "awareness of the mind's control over the body"...


Jungian therapy, for example, and as you already know, focuses chiefly on interpretation of our individual collective unconscious and how archetypical symbols of dreams may...that's a maybe... have some interpretative correlation to our behavior.


This may be all fine for treatment targeted for the "sub-acute"; patients who are oriented in time and space, have no particular set of delusions and are more or less "functional"; but any form of "psychotherapy" is simply too arcane and impractical for the acutely psychotic. Treatment for "psychosomatic" reactions similar to what you once experienced, various phobias and neurosis, chemical dependencies, eating disorders or some "personality disorder" types can be addressed through "psychoanalysis" on a limited scale, but none of these areas are fully satisfied by either "psychoanalysis" or quasi-philosophical models, both of which are inherently corrupted and short on circumspection by an apparent lack of causal foundation and in most cases, reflect a rudimentary neglect of many other factors recognized by today's standards.


Kenneth, cancer is not psychosomatic. Jung never said that, and even if he had, you can't take a century old primitive "medical" model and apply it to yourself today. Besides, Jung did not agree with "causality", so you can't apply your condition by his standards. They hadn't even identified the cancer variants in Jung's time.


It's pretty well broadly accepted by LEGITIMATE researchers that cell mutation has either a genetic template or brought on by chemical introduction into the body, or radiation. And of course this includes your individual genetic pre-disposition and the strength of your individual immune system.

These are physical templates, not "mental" or "mind over body".


Nobody, repeat, nobody has agreed to or knows what the "mind" is anyway; you can't base "cures" on what is unknown.


And although stress can clearly be a contributor to some illnesses, like heart disease, stress has never proven to be directly correlated to specific pathogens.


The mechanics of cell division is not based on the amount of insults James Ballard has hurled at you...


My adolescent brother took very good care of himself, had many friends, male and female, ate right and had a very positive, enthusiastic (albeit naive, of course, like anyone his age) attitude towards life.


None of this impressed ole Jolly Grim Reaper, who brought cancer into his life and killed him. Age 20. Not exactly enough time, would you say, to introduce himself to amorphous "mind over body" excercises ?


All the dusty books and yap yap speculations you hear on the media or in flakey fringe fakery groups does not translate to a factual foundation of you illnesses.


Everybody wants to put their two bits in and have their day in the sun.


I don't begrudge them that.


But their "contribution" doesn't mean they're right. It doesn't mean they've made a point. It just means they're "out there". It's up to you to do the critical thinking.


As far as "mental illness", or "emotional instability"...well...we...they I mean...not really me...you know...those people...out there...can you not hear the voices...??!! ...are just beginning to really comprehend both the genetic and brain chemistry template of all psych. disorders. And this understanding I'm afraid will ultimately place both Freud and Jung in the dust bin of voodoo speculation. All the "social stressors" that used to be regarded in "causation" models turn out to be secondary reinforcement models impacting an already compromised genetic based immune system.


In other words, the social stigma, as one example, of "mental illness" only exacerbated, not "caused", a disorder already presenting; doctors are not seeking "oral tradition tales" when they inquire about family history, they're looking for clear patterns in both the family genome and recorded diseases.


I worked virtually in all levels of clinical psych., but my forte was acute psych. : a concerted team effort to "stabilize" and maintain a patient to a point where he can tie his shoe without thinking demons are directing him to do so.


You know, it's all fine and good to sit in the comfort of a warm, aristocratic Belle Epoch Swiss parlour room, with beautiful 19th century academic paintings on the walls, and wax intellectual in a 12 hour marathon of speculations about dream symbols and their possible "synchronistic" link to human behavior, publish papers about your parlour room yap-yaps and give dazzling lecture tours around the world; but if you've ever had to confront full blown psychotic breaks on a day to day basis, albeit functional psychosis or an exogenous, drug induced psychosis, with limiting staff (limited by both numbers and competence); then yes...you, my friend, would run for the nearest "chemical needle straightjacket", seclusion room, or five point restraints, or all three of the above, quicker than you could say Sigmund/Jung/Howdy Doody/Kukla, Fran-and-Clarabelle-and-don't-forget-Ollie-and-Superman, who are having a secret affair...


There is no yap-yap cure for the spinning wheel, especially one without an axis. An out of control gyro will not get you to the moon, etcetera, etcetera.


I like the works of Joseph Campbell, who borrowed and modified from many cultures and schools of thought and resisted many student entreaties who wanted him to advise or "cure" them.


Don't see why we couldn't escape to the "insanity" page if it becomes necessary, but only on the condition that you agree to be the crazy model Archetype and I the Enlightened Radiant One; and that you will follow my instructions whenever I see you teetering on the abyss...


...by the way, where are my pills you said you were going to send me...


J.B. 7/15/09

Octoman answered...

Bonnie I never commented on  how wonderfully caring your article is,No dogma  ,just helpful understanding  and good advise.Last night I listened to a BBC radio 4 programme on hospital phobia .About  a man who had a kidney cancer who agreed to surgery but did not turn up for the treatment,30 times,and what to do about him,(Free treatment can be obused .)They should have did what was done to me.told him a fairy story.Yes they told me,I would have Keyhole surgery,a tiny incision,and you will be back playing golf in 5 weeks, and no after effects .Soon.I was in the operating theatre and just about be put under the anaesthetic,and with one casual inquiry ,and I found out  I was to have no keyhole surgery,no tiny incision,but a huge double crossed (How appropriate) scar and no stomach I had previously had a tumour removed ,a  none cancerous,one and no problems .Why  the fairy story?Well they first diagnosed my symtoms as caused by  angina,but found no heart problems so it meant to them I had acute anxiety.Wrong it was acute anemia,another causual remark  to my doctor about a very sore tongue ,classic symptom for anemia, later a biopsy found a bleeding cancer in my stomach but I still had acute anxiety according to their records,hence the deception. Anecdotal rationalizing or life changing experiences,Your choice.

James ballard answered...

(Friday, July 17, 2009 6:22 AM CST...)

...Ken, may want to check all your e-mail boxes.

I got your e-mail yesterday through my "junk mail" file and I think it had your address transcribed wrong (by the Internet Postmaster)...I sent you a reply on the same original message you sent me, but I don't think you got the reply (?? )


Octoman answered...

Well I noticed no one ever commented on my  and James's  Discussion 

 So we both wasted our time.no one on the site care about the rights or wrongs of treating or not treating cancer.


One thought.

I may be a unique person,who can face cancer alone.ignoring medical advise and going my own way.what an Ego I must have.

Best wishes to all our non- replier's .

Jacline answered...

my husband of 20 years was diagnosed with Bellini duct renal carcinoma , a rare form of cancer and after 3 cycles of chemo he was so much in a bad shape they had to stop, it was too toxic for him....they tried Sutent on different dosage, still his life was 90% in bed, so they stopeed again, he is waiting for a PET scan on jan20th. As for last november, the cancer was still stage 3, a 3cm tumor in the left kidney and some lymphnodes that were swollen. I leave up to him the choice to continue treatments, but we started to put his things in order, as july 6th 2010 he was told he had about 18 months to live so dear Anonymous, take courage and try the serenity prayer, the choice remains your husband's, he is the one who will be in pain and probably drag himself for month for what? if treatments don't work.... oh! and by the way, these treatment are awfully expensive! I pray you have courage to accept his decision

Ryeman answered...

Whatever direction a person decides to take with regarding treatment is up to them because it is their peace of mind that is affected. My wife was diagnosed with Acute Leukemia (ALL) in February 2012 and is having chemotherapy. It is very hard for me to watch what is happening to her now. I have never told her (nor would I) that she should not do chemo. I doubt that diet & exercise would cure acute leukemia because blood diseases of this kind are a product of a bad chromosome that produces white blood cells that never mature. Eventually, you would succumb to an infection. It sounds cavalier to refuse treatment but honestly, I am 57 and have had a great life but wouldn't care to "extend" it with chemo.

Trakis answered...

I can totally understand your frustration and fear that your husband is denying treatment. I was in your position too about 3 years ago. My husband was suddenly diagnosed with AML and actually immediately sent to the hospital 4 hours away to start treatment that night. He was terrified and so was I. He had seen other family members go through horrible chemotherapy treatments and pass away. My husband was sent to the hospital first and then I arrived later that night. By the time I had arrived, he had pretty much decided that he would just rather die. I told him he was worth fighting for and I loved him more that he knew. I told him in a very loving way that even if he wasn't going to fight, I would never give up on him. I also told him that he could be part of the 25% that survive (somebody has to be). He reluctantly gave in and decided to go forward with treatment. I am not going to lie, treatments and eventually a stem cell transplant were pretty bad. The side effects and the "close calls" to death were the worst things ever, but I can now say that he is 2 1/2 years cancer free. He said that he is glad he went through with the treatments and that I never gave up on him when he no longer wanted to fight. Sometimes, when a person is in a crisis, you have to become their "coach". You have to encourage them and pick them up all along the way. Good luck to you and your husband.