One Father's Extraordinary Journal of Living Longer with ALS
A Tubing I Will Go!

In my last post, I described some of my reservations about getting a feeding tube. A few readers responded with helpful information, and I am grateful for their input. Since that post, however, I discovered an even greater concern in consultation with a doctor who was prepared to perform the procedure on me. The new concern was the possibility that, because of my limited breathing capacity, I might wind up with a tracheotomy, a situation that I had once feared more than death. Now, faced with the more imminent possibility of death, and not ready to go, I was stealing myself to the possibility, and hoping for the best.

Then, last week I spoke with a surgeon who has been successful at performing this operation on ALS patients for 10 years with a procedure that he designed. It is less invasive than what others are doing (nothing down the throat), and he has never had to trache a patient. We are planning to have the procedure done on January 19. It’s a tough call to give up tasting, chewing and swallowing food, but I won’t miss the hours of coughing and gagging over my meals, and trying to pull food particles out of my trachea and bronchial tubes with a cough assist machine.

There is a glitch, however, and it’s a big one. Once I have this procedure, insurance will no longer cover hospice. This is a good news/bad news scenario. While I would just as soon be out of hospice after 5-1/2 years, it means the loss of a lot of resources. There is equipment like my hospital bed and breathing equipment that insurance will still cover, but not at 100%. There is support staff like my social worker, Liz Cohen, who has been very helpful over the years. Most importantly, I will lose 20 hours a week of assistance from my friend and aide Lloyd Smith, who has been a loyal and caring companion for 5 years. His loss is both an emotional one and a potential financial puzzle, because we can’t afford to replace him, and that will put an additional burden on my live-in aide, Jimmy. So in addition to the emotional and psychological challenge of learning to live with a tube hanging out of my stomach, we also have some financial issues to grapple with. Another adventure begins in my continuing saga of living with ALS!

Each time this disease presents me with a new challenge it tests my resolve to stay focused on my advances vs. my setbacks, and the achievement of an ALS recovery. Every once in a while the challenge is so significant that I have to work extra hard at staying in the moment, and remembering all that I have to be grateful for. This is one of those times. One of the things for which I am deeply grateful is that my readership continually reinforces the notion that somehow the sharing of my nightmares and how I handle them helps them with their own. Please keep the comments coming to let me know whether this blog is continuing to fulfill its purpose, and thanks for reading.

Comments (4)

In the past 7 years, I have done a great deal of detoxifying to rid my body of all kinds of pathogens. Using chelation, the lemonade cleanse, sound therapy, dietary changes, a product known as MMS (Miracle Mineral Supplement), and a variety of other products and techniques, I have eliminated heavy metals, parasites, viruses, bacteria, pesticides, and other pathogens from my body. Traditional medical practitioners will often dismiss these invaders of the body as irrelevant. Doctors will tell you that it is normal to have a variety of these pathogens in your system. They will say that in the absence of any symptoms of illness there is nothing to worry about. It amazes me that in a country with one of, if not the highest incidence of chronic and terminal illnesses in the world, there are still so many doctors who refuse to look beyond their own medical paradigms for solutions to their patients’ maladies where their traditional practices fail.

I am currently searching for a way to eliminate a moderate candida condition (a fungal infection) in my gastrointestinal tract. Alternative treatments I have tried have not been successful. The pharmaceutical products that I have explored pose too much of a threat to my kidneys and liver. Three doctors have told me that the candida is probably not worth worrying about. The effects of candida, however, may include mental impairment, headaches, fatigue, and digestive difficulties. In patients with compromised immune systems it can even be fatal. See The Effects of Candida.

In the case of ALS, there is little conclusive knowledge about the cause of the disease, let alone the treatment. So, on what basis can a doctor legitimately claim that eliminating a candida infection will be of no benefit to someone living with ALS? From a holistic perspective, it makes sense to eliminate any pathogens that may be compromising the body’s ability to function at full strength. Consequently, I will continue to search for a solution until I find something that works.

A man named Eric Edney is one of the most successful people that I have encountered in recovering from ALS. Eric has been living with ALS for twenty years, and has managed to reverse many of his symptoms. In the “Regimen Outline” on his website, he mentions fungi (of which candida is an example) as one of the pathogens that he believes should be eliminated from the colon. See Eric is Winning. Eric is fortunate enough to have found an open-minded doctor to support his efforts to heal from his “terminal” illness.

Too many doctors, unfortunately, are still unwilling to engage in potential solutions beyond their formal training. This medical myopia is certainly not serving people with ALS and other serious medical conditions very well. With the growth of interest in alternative practice and the high rates of chronic and “terminal” illness in this country, it seems to me that it is in the best interest of the traditional medical community and their patients for them to rethink their practices. Your thoughts?

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