Thursday, October 9, 2014

About “The Box”... Is outside the new inside?


Got a wang-dang-doodle wrapped in bog snake hide
This goat head gumbo is keeping me alive
I don't want your pity or your fifty-dollar words
I don't share your need to discuss the absurd
Rub Me Raw
Warren Zevon
I guess we don't need any of our new digital devices to tell us that there are bad people in the world, Right? Just for fun I Googled “bad people” and got 26,600,000 results in 0.31 seconds. Impressive, wouldn't you say?

I guess for my purposes, I'm interested in the bad people sub-category- “Taking advantage of people who have serious illnesses.” No need to use Google this time. I know there are people who prey on the sick: on the young and the old; the poor and the not-so-poor; the hopeless and the hopeful. Without doing even so much as my usual shoddy research, I'm quite sure that the common denominator in all of this would be that the sufferers are all desperate.

I don't think any of us would put these bad people in the dumb category. Au contraire, mon ami. The best of them know exactly when to make that phone call; write that letter; send that email. I'm sure you've experienced it yourself. When you're first ill, you have all sorts of options, most of them readily dispensed by your family doctor, or any of the specialists to whom he may refer you.

But as the illness gets worse, and the number of solutions dwindle, possible cures we considered ridiculous initially, now move over into the “Let's give it a try, what could it hurt, folder.” Take something as innocuous as the hiccups. “Sure, you can try to give me a sudden scare. But, I'll be darned if I'm going to drink my beverage from the opposite side of the glass.” Continue to hiccup, though, and pretty soon the front of your shirt is liable to be soaking wet.

When I was first diagnosed with cancer, I quickly drew the proverbial line in the proverbial sand. I'll do this, but I won't do that. For example, I'll consider alternative medicine solutions, but I won't try, say...voodoo, Because, as I understand it, you now have to bring your own chicken.

Anyway, these low lifes go around bilking people out of their hard-earned savings, while simultaneously giving them hope, the one thing they need so desperately. The fact that the hope is as fraudulent as their so- called solutions, raises category of their crimes from despicable to heinous. The best mentor I've ever had once told me, in answer to a question: “Sure. I believe in God. If I don't, none of this makes any sense.” So, the one thing we can all be sure of is that, if there is a heaven and/or hell, these people will be given trials that make Sisyphus's task of rolling a boulder uphill as ordered, only to have it roll back down... Well, let's just say that before the first day is over, they'll be begging for their own boulder and hill.

One of the bothersome side issues these people and their false treatments, their false hope, bring is that it can make us leery of some possibly beneficial alternative treatments that are considered by some to be a little outside the box.

In my case, I've been looking at non-traditional treatments for this constant stomach pain I have. My oncologists, as well as a variety of specialists, close to numbering double digits, have been unable to come up with a solution. Ironically, they have, if I may call upon the vernacular at this point, creamed my multiple myeloma. My blood work continues to look great, and the myeloma is hiding in my system somewhere, licking its wounds. But this stomach pain... I didn't hesitate to go to an acupuncturist because my wife and a number of friends have benefited from acupuncture. But when she conceded that she wasn't going to be able to help me, and recommended a medical intuitive, it gave me pause.

As a result of these Sisyphus gonna-be's, I needed to really look at that concern over fraud versus the recommendation of a woman who had done her best to help me, and admitted defeat quickly, only so that I could move on to give someone else a chance to help. It should have been a no brainer- someone I trusted versus the scum of the earth, with apologies to the actual scum.

And it ultimately was an easy decision. Sheri and I drove 50 gorgeous New England fall miles to be treated by this woman. The methods she used were certainly out-of-the-box. I won't describe them here because “You really had to be there.” Was it touchy-feely and New Age? You betcha. Was the woman wonderful? Yes. And kind, and caring, and loving. Did it work? Don't know yet.

The whole process gave me another chance to thank God and my friends and family for helping to make me the type of person who would be willing to try something unusual, rather than just sit, wring my hands, and feel sorry for myself. Other options remain, mostly back towards the more conventional side of things. However, there's nothing stopping me from checking out the best place to buy a live chicken, just in case.. you know. It rhymes with who do.

There are a variety of versions of the story that gives this blog its name. The pony is the constant in all of them. A man is on his way to a party when he comes across a young boy shoveling ass over tea kettle at an enormous mountain of manure. The man asks the child if he wouldn't rather go with him to the party than shovel all that poop. The kid says, “No way man. With all that poop... there must be a pony in there somewhere.”