Wellness Warrior Myths and Alternative Truths

The series of posts I wrote on Wellness Warriors and the misrepresentations that are made about health and wellness in cancer care are among the most important things on this blog. Participating in a range of forums where cancer treatments are discussed, it continues to amaze me how many people passionately believe unsubstantiated claims about suppressed cures, Big Pharma conspiracies, and government efforts to keep the medical-industrial complex in business. The problems here are rooted in a combination of legitimate fear and a lack of skeptical inquiry.

Too many people succumb to their own confirmation bias before even getting close to exercising basic critical thinking skills. And living in an era of Social Media, where the spread of Fake News is often faster than wildfire, it takes a lot more concerted vetting by readers to separate fact from fiction — an effort that few seem willing to make.

Because these posts were written over an extended period of time, I’m going to link them all here in one convenient place. My hope is that it will make it easier for readers to find them, or link to them all at once if they need to offer a substantial rebuttal to that friend or associate who has slipped down the rabbit hole of misinformation.

The Myth of the Wellness Warrior

This first essay, the briefest of the four, is an introduction into how some people attempt to profit by misrepresenting their own illness or, in some cases, are true believers in fraudulent cures that they promote with a near-religious fervor until coming to a tragic end. The point is to highlight the dangers of following pseudo-science and believing too readily in people promising miracle cures.

Supplements, Denial, and the Birthday Problem

Part two in the series deals largely with identifying logical fallacies in the presentation of alternative medicine, as well as looking critically at some conspiracy theories that have run rampant through “natural health” networks. This is a heavily researched piece with plenty of links to support the information I provide.

The Truth About “The Truth About Cancer”

The third installment came about after a discussion regarding Ty Bollinger’s propaganda videos masquerading as documentaries. I was challenged about my claim that these videos had been largely debunked, and then went back and wrote this essay. It is nearly 12,000 words long, with many links to follow up with, and still only touches on a small fraction of what is wrong with those videos. I consider this one of the most important posts I have written and I wish more people would take the time to read through it. Truth IS meaningful.

Common Sense, Clarity, and Wellness Warrior Lies

Primarily a brief coda to the previous post, this is designed to show how two of the most prominent “Wellness Warriors” out there, Ty Bollinger and Chris Wark, deceive and manipulate their readers for profit using scare tactics and misrepresenting facts. Originally it was going to be a much more scathing profile of Chris Wark, but I decided to table that for a possible future post. Needless to say, I stick to the facts about these individuals and try to keep my personal opinions in check, but there are reasons that dangerous people like them need to be exposed for the frauds they are.

Going forward, I intend to keep most future posts focused on my own story and positive aspects of my experience. But it would be disingenuous to suggest that facts should be ignored or that science does not matter. Thousands of people living with cancer are alive because of the good work that medical professionals do, thanks to the advances made possible by real science. Thousands of people are dead because they ignored their doctors and followed some alternative protocol recommended by hucksters like the ones I wrote about. Fortunately, medical science is advancing at greater rates than ever before, saving more lives every single day. But there will continue to be Wellness Warriors out there who spread their false narratives, rooted deeply in fear, in order to lure the desperate and take their money.

Of course, there are non-medical, integrative approaches to wellness that help many patients — I am not suggesting otherwise. But these work primarily because they are done in conjunction with real medical practices.

If you haven’t already, please read the posts all the way through. Then let me know what you think! I’d love to hear what you think I missed or what I got right, or even where you think I should go with my next post.

 

 

3 thoughts on “Wellness Warrior Myths and Alternative Truths

  1. I first came across your blog in 2015 when my breast cancer had metastasized to my lungs and brain and was given only 6 months to live by my doctor. I was researching natural cures after chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery had failed me but then your blog convinced me that those cures are not real and that I shouldn’t waste my time/money and get my hopes up for nothing. I stopped researching natural cures and came to terms with my diagnosis and was preparing myself to die within a few months. As the months went by, the cancer had also spread to my back, and I was no longer able to walk. I had surpassed my prognosis of 6 months (I was 8 months in), but my health was rapidly declining and I was quickly approaching death. I accepted my diagnosis months prior and made peace with the fact that I was going to die, but then one day I got sick. It started off as a simple cold, but because I had cancer in my lungs and my immunity was so low, this common cold quickly got out of hand and turned into a bad lung infection. I had to be rushed to the hospital and intubated. While I was in the ICU in and out of consciousness, my oncologist came to see me, and I heard him talking to my parents outside of my room. He told them “I’m sorry but there is nothing more that can be done for your daughter. You need to get ready and make the necessary arrangements for her passing.” Despite being intubated, on my deathbed, and barely conscious, I was prepared to fight. I put my mind to it. I was NOT ready to die then and there. After two weeks in the hospital, I recovered and was able to go home. My cancer was still rapidly progressing though. I couldn’t walk, I needed oxygen supplementation through a cannula, my whole body was extremely weak, I could barely eat. My doctors all recommended I go on hospice. But almost facing death made me realize that I was NOT ready to die yet and was not willing to go down without exhausting all my options first. This meant that I had to try natural/holistic alternatives. I did some research and decided I wanted to try DMSO and Sodium Bicarbonate intravenously. I found a naturopath who was willing to do it. I was going to him 5 days a week to have it done for one month. I had made huge improvements (I was able to walk again!), but my family couldn’t afford the treatments anymore, so I decided to take matters into my own hands. I decided to take the DMSO and Sodium Bicarbonate orally instead while going on a green juice fast. I was juicing several pounds of organic greens and vegetables per day. I was also taking CBD oil (up to 100 drops per day). I continued this for three months. I went to my oncologist and he was SHOCKED. My cancer in my back no longer showed up on the scan, the cancer in my lungs had shrunken by 60%, the cancer in my breasts had shrunken by 50% and the tumor on my left breast that was previously sticking out of my skin and ate away my nipple/areola had completely retracted and new skin had grown in it’s place, and the cancer in my brain decreased by 20%. My oncologist knew that I was doing holistic treatments, but he refused to believe that they were responsible for my improvements. He said it was just a coincidence. However, he told me “keep doing what you’re doing”, which tells me that deep down he DID believe in what I was doing, he just didn’t want to admit it since it goes against his medical teachings. I don’t blame him though. He probably doesn’t want to be held legally accountable in case things went wrong. Anyway, sure enough, I continued doing what I was doing, and by the time I reach the one year mark of my alternative treatments, my cancer was completely GONE. My doctors were shocked and impressed that I had gone into “remission” but refused to acknowledge that my natural treatments had anything to do with it. They said that sometimes people just go into remission for no reason and that I am “incredibly lucky” because this happens to very few people. I REFUSE to believe that this was a miracle and that I was just “incredibly lucky”. Alternative treatments can and do work!! I have been cancer free since 2013!! I now eat an organic, plant based diet, and I still take CBD oil (but a lower dose) therapeutically. I also do a 21 day water fast at least once a year. I also don’t drink, don’t smoke, and I make sure to exercise, meditate, and get enough sleep. It’s NOT just a coincidence. I was on death’s doorstep and holistic treatment protocols SAVED MY LIFE! I fully believe that if I listened to your blog in 2015 and didn’t seek out alternative therapies, I’d be long dead by now. And no, I am not making any money by leaving this comment. I have absolutely nothing to gain. I’ve never made any money telling my cancer story. I haven’t written a book. I haven’t given any paid interviews. I’m just an average Jane who survived cancer and is passionate to tell my story to anyone who will listen. And no, i’m not starved for attention, because I am anonymous. No one knows who I am and I don’t desire fame. I just desire to get the information out there that natural treatments DO work!

    1. Elena,

      Your story does sound remarkable. And I am very happy for you if you have been cancer-free since 2016. That is fabulous!

      The fact that you are making the extraordinary claim of having essentially cured yourself via these various “natural” methods, however, does defy logic. While there is a lot of research going on in regard to CBD and THC, there is no evidence that the amount you have taken would be able to have any measurable effect on a metastatic cancer like you describe. And taking DMSO and sodium bicarbonate intravenously could be potentially toxic, with no mechanism by which either would kill cancer cells.

      While your story certainly has an emotional punch, the facts of it are confusing. I would love to hear more if you could provide some medical records for context. It would be great, for instance, to see the actual diagnosis and reference scans that show the progress of the cancer and, ultimately, the scans showing that your body is clear of cancer.

      Since I have known people to die when attempting treatments like you describe, and I have not seen a single legitimate and verifiable success story, I am quite wary of just accepting anecdotes at face value. While certainly a small percentage of patients go into spontaneous remission (and it happens just as frequently to people on standard medical care as it does with those who are not, which is to say extremely rarely), it is important to understand that this is probably an immune response and not actually related to any treatment protocol.

      Looking forward to hearing more from you — and thank you for sharing.

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