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Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Jumping off the quack train

The Bargain Queen wrote about the alternative healthcare options she's tried and wanted to share some new information. This is probably most relevant to people with chronic, incurable health issues, although everyone uses healthcare services some of the time.

A couple of months ago, The Bargain Queen stopped using all the alternative therapies she was taking. This wasn't by design; it was simply the result of moving house, being disorganised and having too many other things to deal with. The result? She feels better than she has for months. While her pain levels are the same and her skin has lost that hyper-nourished glow, she also has an enormous amount more energy. She's gone from resting for 18 hours a day, to a manageable 10 to 12 hours.

Now all of this could be coincidence, or it could be due to the peaceful environment in her new house. But she's also very aware that whatever benefits all those herbs and supplements were giving, she's not missing them now they're gone - which makes her wonder a little about what she was paying for.

With each new 'miracle' treatment she's told about, The Bargain Queen gets a clearer sense that what they actually offer is hope. It would be wonderful if there was a cure for her illness. She'd love to be pain free, full of energy and able to go back to work. Every time someone says they can make that possible, she wants to believe them because she'd desperately like it to be true.

But there are two downsides to trying these purported miracle cures:
  1. The inevitable disappointment when yet another 'cure' doesn't work is psychologically harder than accepting the illness and making the most of the good things that are left.

  2. When you pay hundreds of dollars for a 'cure' and you end up feeling worse, it's easy to feel like an idiot afterwards.

    (Although compared to The Bargain Queen's last operation, which cost thousands, was terrifying, life threatening, very painful, took a long time to recover from and only gave a few months' good health, maybe it's not so stupid! ;)
This has made The Bargain Queen think very carefully about using any further alternative therapies. Her condition won't kill her, so her options are a lot broader than 'fight or die'. She's still happy in spite of the illness, because while the it's taken a lot (job, social life, super-athletic body) she's still got a wonderful husband, great friends and enjoyable hobbies. She's also fortunate enough that she and Mr Bargain Queen can survive financially, albeit on a tight budget, when she's not working - which makes her a lot better off than most people.

So for now, The Bargain Queen's giving up on herbs and supplements. That's not to say they're useless; maybe they do work for other people. But considering the improvement in her condition when she stopped taking them, The Bargain Queen's unconvinced that they were giving her value.

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