Television shows highlight modern medical miracles and the ability of doctors to handle massive trauma and horrible disease conditions. Good shows also highlight the emotional pain and suffering of doctors and patients when our medical technology fails to handle a given situation. When I went to veterinary school I was always impressed by the latest amazing surgery or newest drug, but as I approach 30 years of clinical experience, it is not the latest greatest medical advance that holds my interest. It is the miraculous power of biological systems to grow, repair and survive in a cooperative fashion.
This last month a case demonstrated this to me in rather gentle terms. I entered my exam room to find a middle-aged female dog with a large fatty tumor on her right side. The tumor was about four or five inches across and tests at another doctor's office said it was a benign tumor called a lipoma. It had not changed size in several years. These are common in human and veterinary medicine. Lipomas consist of a fatty deposit and usually don't spread but they can grow to large sizes. In some cases they can interfere with muscle or nerve function and present a danger to the patient's ability to move properly. While many of these tumors are removed, it is elective surgery and not all lipomas require surgery.
A small number of these tumors are actually more invasive tumors called liposarcomas and these need early surgery with wide margins. The problem is that if we wait they can invade locally and only a biopsy can accurately diagnose them.
In this dog's case the guardian wanted to remove the mass but could not handle any large veterinary bills. She was a new client and really loved her dog, so we discussed the individual situation we faced in hopes of finding a productive line of action for this patient. Since the mass was pre-existing she could not obtain veterinary insurance to cover the surgery. We reviewed the facts:
Now none of this means that kale is a treatment for lipoma. It would take many years of study and millions of dollars to prove or disprove that and I doubt that many lipomas would vanish from kale, but this case was unique because the tumor was located right on that acupuncture point for the liver and when we addressed the liver the tumor went away. Scientifically we cannot say why that happened but it did and all parties are happier for the outcome.
For me this just means doing what my mother told me:
This particular client remarked that she is now eating more fruits and veggies. Seeing this happen with her dog made her aware of the power of a proper diet and this knowledge lead her to improve not only her dog's health but also the health of herself and her family. And now this story might make others eat better, too.
That is health care reform we all can live with.
Truth is good stuff. Seek it and healing follows. Share it and happiness and health appear. I'd love to hear your stories of improved health from proper eating habits. How did you come to that awareness?
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