Um. Well. Uh. This is gonna be hard. I so hate being wrong. But sometimes you just have to eat some crow.
First, the back story. As you may know, there is a bit of a war going on between western and eastern medicine these days. Both have their strengths and many are working hard for some sort of complementary merger between the two (seems wise to me). I have always been a western medicine guy myself, though. Given the choice between acupuncture needles and a stethoscope, well, “mama didn’t raise no fool.”
In our home, my wife is very much a proponent of holistic eastern medicine. After one of our daughters contracted a severe case of mono and found no relief via traditional medicine, she went outside of my comfort zone and found help for our daughter by changing her diet under the advice of a western-trained Chinese physician (Dr. Min Tian of Tallahassee). I was impressed, but continued to eat as God intended me to.
Betsy, on the other hand, began to pursue nutritional healing and holistic medicine with vigor. If you come to our home, our pantry is always full – primarily of things I deem inedible and unfit for human consumption. Food wars have raged. I have wanted her to return to the sane days when we didn’t eat things we couldn’t pronounce.
I went on hunger strikes to no avail. Strange smells have continued to emanate from our kitchen and Chinese herbs and teas hang from our shelves like so many tentacles blocking my way to the Jif Peanut Butter jar. By the way, my children claim to have conducted an “experiment” where they put the Jif label on a more “healthy” peanut butter without me noticing a thing. This is a lie. From Satan.
So here we are with me unable to get into the Xofigo extended use trial because of a low platelet count. I need 22,000 additional platelets. Going back and checking, I haven’t had that many platelets in me (150,000) in almost a year. While some of you have graciously offered me use of yours (will your kindness never cease?), apparently, I have to make my own. No loaning allowed. I read up on it a little and the only thing I could do to increase my count was to abstain from all alcoholic beverages. Sigh.
But Betsy, dear Betsy. What does she do? She surreptitiously goes to see her acupuncturist friend, Dr. Min, asking if there is anything that can be done for me and my pathetic lack of platelets. Returning to the house with things labeled, “T41,” “Terrainezyme,” and “six flavored tea pills,” I am alarmed, asking how much she spent. She replied, “You mean to save your life?” Sigh, again.
The next thing I know there is a cauldron set up in the kitchen and “tea” is being prepared for me. Tea, as I told you earlier, that tastes like dirty sludge with bugs still living in it and hatching their young. Horrible stuff, along with nasty, round, slippery pills that shoot out of my finger’s grasp and put me on the floor searching for them.
Three weeks I have endured this. I chase the “tea” with Gatorade and chase the pills because I drop them. I secretly take comfort in the fact that my next blood test will prove beyond any doubt that as well intentioned as my wife is, this sort of “tea” is no medicine at all, and frankly it isn’t even tea. Goat’s tails and exotic fungi do not a platelet make. I will win this war once and for all.
Friday was a typical day as I gave myself to medical science, having infusions, injections, labs and a meeting with my oncologist. He has been fighting hard to get me into the trial even with my platelets low, because he has a kind and fierce heart. Our visit seemed rushed, though, and I thought it odd. Normally we chat and take our time. After poking and prodding me quickly, he smiled broadly and said, “Well, don’t you need to be on your way?” Puzzled, I replied, “To where?”
“New Orleans,” was his response. Then he showed me this:
Glory be to God! 150,000 platelets is the cut off point for the trial. My last lab had me at 128,000. Friday, may God be praised, I walked in, looked the medical assistant in the eye, and proceeded to give her 162,000 of the little guys. I’ll be darned. I just walked around the office for the next 10 minutes crying and hugging people.
Just when I get set in my ways, I discover I can be wrong, very wrong. And snarky about it, too. Don’t misunderstand. The tea still tastes like crap, but boy can it make platelets! To God be the glory! So a hearty mea culpa to my wife, her sister, Dr. Snapp, and my wife’s physician, Dr. Min. Oh, and Dr. Debusk, also. I was wrong and I repent. Forgive me.
But could you please, please make your tea taste better?
P.S. Anyone want to go to the Big Easy with me? Seriously, I am looking for roadies. I am lots of fun when I’m not asleep!