“Having worked as a partner with John for over a decade (via phone from Melbourne) on behalf of my Townsville clients with Parkinson’s Disease… It was wonderful to finally get to shake his hand in person this year and to ask him contribute to my 25 year celebration!”
“Those who say it can’t be done are usually interrupted by others doing it.”
James Arthur Baldwin.
We live in a society where specialisation is the norm rather than “special”. So our health is controlled by “specialists” – general practitioner specialising in (would you believe) general practice, neurologists, urologists, gastroenterologists, and many, many other specialties. We are told that “if symptoms persist, see your doctor”. We are not told, “If you have symptoms, discover the cause and treat that”. We are not told that we are responsible for our health status, and for selecting activities and treatments that will enhance health and/or prevent illness.
So we live in a society where there is more chronic disease than ever, more people are developing cancer than ever before, obesity, heart disease and general ill health are on the rise. One doctor, speaking at a conference three years ago, put it so succinctly when she said “People today are living shorter but dying longer”.
When we are unwell, whether it is a “minor” disorder like a cold or ‘flu, or something scary like Parkinson’s disease or cancer, it is up to us to create a partnership for health.
The first parts of that partnership are with ourselves – our mind, immune system and body must be in partnership to create and maintain good health. Once we are “in sync” with ourselves, we can select practitioners who share our view of recovery. In the case of “specialists”, this may entail some exploration and interviews. Many neurologists and oncologists (and others) feel that they are repositories of all pertinent knowledge, and patients must obey their dictates without question. But there are a growing number of doctors and specialists who understand that we bear primary responsibility for our health and, if we accept that responsibility, we have the right to ask questions, explore options and even (gasp!) disagree with accepted “medical wisdom”.
Western Allopathic Medicine (WAM) brings us many benefits, especially in treatment of trauma and acute disease. But chronic diseases, like Parkinson’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis, and similar disorders, are badly treated by WAM, and we will need to find partners among Complementary/Alternative Medicine (CAM). In each case, we need to, and have the right to ensure that our practitioner accepts our view of health, and our vision of our journey.
In my journey of recovery from Parkinson’s, I found WAM useful for diagnosis and information, but chose to avoid WAM treatment and created partnerships with a Craniosacral Therapist, Neuroendocrinologist, Homeopath and Bowen Therapist. Most importantly, I became my own partner in my healing journey. During my most recent encounter with ill health (bowel cancer), WAM was vital as surgery saved my life and, as I recover, will help me live a normal, energetic life. But I also have partnerships with a Naturopathic Oncologist, an open minded (if conservative) medical Oncologist, and a Bowen Therapist. Critically, in this journey, my wife has been a major partner, sharing my view of healing and wellness, and acting to assist my progress towards this vision.
Our society pours billions of dollars into futile searches for “cures” which do not, and never will exist. We can cure ham, bacon, concrete, glue, plastic and many other substances, but we can’t “cure” people or diseases. We CAN however, become well by recovering our health.
If you are affected by illness, form partnerships with yourself and a team of practitioners who will support your journey to the health status you want. If you are a practitioner, be prepared to discuss a partnership with your patients. Many will not want that, preferring to abdicate their responsibility and seek symptom relief or, even, a “cure”. That is their right. But those patients who want to journey to recovery are a joy to treat.
In health, as in life, partnerships are a vital part of our journey.
John C. Coleman ND | Naturopath, author and international speaker.
Stop Parkin’ and Start Livin’; published by Michelle Anderson (2005).
Shaky Past; published by Return To Stillness (2012).
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