Wednesday, May 20, 2009

How many apples would this take?

I have an interesting background. My parents raised me with every sort of alternative medicine you could ever imagine. Things I would have never guessed were real were deemed “medicine” and claimed to heal the most mild to the most severe of all disorders. We ate healthy. We didn’t get vaccines. We didn’t see any doctors that actually had medical licenses. Everything was done naturally.

My junior year in high school, I got sick. Really sick. I had tonsillitis or something to that effect and was lucky if I could down water or jello (made from scratch, minus the sugar of course). I couldn’t talk. I couldn’t swallow. I lay in bed with little life and lost 20 lbs over the course of three weeks (making me a whopping 85 lbs). But, the only “doctors” we saw were one that were hiding from the police (really, not kidding). I finally got better but it took months to regain my strength. I am convinced that it was 110% the hand of God. Nothing else could have made me well.

In fact, once I was on the mend, my mother admitted to me that she didn’t know if I would make it. She actually thought I was going to die. It is something I have always wondered about, but try not to dwell on. I could live a lifetime of blaming if I chose to, and I don’t want that. I know my parents were doing their best to do what they felt was best. I know they loved me. And while I completely disagree on medical issues, I respect their desire to do what they felt was right.

So I usually don’t mentally approach the subject.

Until recently.

There is a young man in Minnesota who has cancer – not tonsillitis – who needs treatment. He is 13 and his tumor is growing. After one treatment of Chemo, his parents opted to go a natural route of treatment. They have similar opinions to those my parents had. They want to treat this cancer (which has a high survival rate when treated by chemo) with other methods. Since the tumor is growing, a judge ordered this child to have chemo against his will, saying the parents were medically neglecting him. The child says he will physically fight off anyone who tries to force chemo on him. There was even speculation that the child would be taken into temporary custody in order to obtain treatment.

Consequently, Mom and child ran. Maybe to Mexico, who knows?

My sense of right and wrong is torn at the very core with this one…

On one hand, you have a mom, not unlike my own, who loves her child and is doing what she feels is best. The child says he doesn’t want the treatment. And while I don’t agree with this decision, it is her child and their choice. Who do we think we are to step in and take over?

On the other hand, this child, not unlike myself, could be following his parents blindly because of his love towards them. He may be echoing his parents feelings and may not realize the magnitude of what CANCER is. He may be grateful in the years to come if someone steps in and helps him.

And yet… at what point do we justify removing a child from his home? Because we disagree with their views? In my limited experience I have found that most of the “natural” stuff just doesn’t work. But – some of it does. And what if, what this family chooses to do, it does work?

In trying to force their opinions (supported by fact or not) on this family, the "powers that be" have actually made them fugitives.

What is right?


SO said...

This really is a dilemma. One that I think you have a better grasp on than most people. I see this and think of the case here in Utah where the parents didn't treat their son and everything turned out okay. And yet you just never know. If is tumor is growing... Rough, rough situation. My heart breaks for the mom and for the child.

Emmy said...

That truly is a tough one. I actually worked for DCFS as a foster care worker in the State of Utah. So I saw the sides of things that most people don't see. There were horrible things that happened to kids and the question wasn't even a question; but there were other times were the community would be screaming for us to remove the kid when the situation, comparatively, really wasn't that bad and didn't justify it.
There would always be someone who wasn't happy. His parents mean well and love him I am sure but I also believe that most of the wisdom for the advances in medical technology were gifts and inspiration from Heavenly Father and they are to be used to benefit man.
I guess it is hard to make a decision and judgment without knowing if there is more going on in this family. Is it truly just this issue or is there more, which more often than not is the case when the state is involved.
So yeah that is a really hard one and I am glad I am retired :)

Erin said...

I don't even know what to say other than I agree with Shanna and Emmy. Such a difficult situation.

Salsa Mama said...

Oh, boy. My hubby would have a lot to say about this one. My opinion is that the government should take a step back out of our lives while I may not agree with the decisions of this family, it's their right to live their lives how the want to in this "free" country. Ha! Not our almighty government. They can't keep out and let us live how we think we should. Sorry! I'd better stop now before I get too heated and start talking about how our country is on it's way to becoming socialist and just say, I don't think it's right.

Diane said...

This is a rough one, especially for me since I don't have children. However, I did lose 3. Had I been blessed by the Lord to raise those children, I would see their well-being as my responsiblity. They are a gift from God to their parents, not their government.

Is this any different than allowing someone to choose to refuse further medical treatment when they are tired of fighting their disease? My husband died of liver failure. He was offered the opportunity for a liver transplant, but refused it because he believed that, when the Lord was ready for you, it was your time and you should go.

He believed that,if the Lord wasn't ready for you, you would not go, but your life would be lengthened. He chose to die at home with me, not in a hopsital with tubes hooked up to him. I was the one who stood beside him and met his needs as his body functions ended.

Had he been my child, should I have been denied that same opportunity simply because he was my child and not my husband? I don't know. My heart says no, but hearts can sometimes lead you astray.

I do think our government is much too involved in our lives and they should step back and let us live our lives and die the way we feel the most comfortable with.

I am thankful I will never have to make this decision, but my heart goes out to those who do and I would never judge them unless someone could prove beyond doubt to me that they were bad parents BEFORE the time came to make this decision.

I just pray the Lord will hold this dear child and his parents close to Himself and have His will in th eir lives.

Many hugs..........


Beth said...

I too have mixed feelings. In my heart I don't understand why you wouldn't seek treatment??? But I also understand the right to choose?? But then what about the other rights that conservative people say that we don't have? I also know that this boy did act interested in learning about his cancer... I know that academically he is very low...I think he is being persuaded heavily by his mother..not so much his father!

So what is right? I don't know..but I would be very sad to lose my child because I didn't seek a cure...yes this cancer is cureable!

Fiauna said...

Tough situation. Glad it's not my call. But I don't think they should remove the child from his home. Especially since the child is 13 and agrees with his parents. Just my opinion.

pan x 8 said...

That is so tough one. I feel that if the child at 13 has been explained all the options and that is what he is choosing.. but then on the otherhand, I feel that the Mom should say - "let's try it first and then decide."

This life is so short and my answer always lies in what is Heavenly Father's plan for this little person. That's where it should be focused, but for those who unfortunately do not have this relationship with our Heavenly Father.. it makes life pretty hard. It's already hard when it's strong anyway.

I'm not sure if my feelings were shared clearly. They are in my prayers!

Teanne said...

I think everyone here is one the same page (haha- no pun intended) I agree though. They should have a right to choose treatment or not. But what Mother in their right mind wouldn't fight with every fiber of their being to keep their child alive?

heather said...

Tough situation, for sure.

I do know people though -people I've met face to face- who have cured their cancer following a natural healing route. said...

Oh when I heard about this story I immediately thought of mom and I felt torn too.
Mom truly truly thought she was doing what was best.
As far as the government is concerned. I really think thatthey are too much in our lives. But then there are situations of child abuse that I am glad that they intercede.
But I don't feel like they should interfere with things like medical treatment. Oh Idon't know cuz even as I say that I feel completely torn.
Mom would have done the same thing as this mom I'm pretty sure.