For over 25 years, there has been a competition between traditional and nontraditional medicine -- which one is better, which was safer and which one is healthier.
From my perspective I don't really see a competition between traditional and nontraditional medicine. We should use both as if they were one.
Several weeks ago I had the opportunity to not only talk the talk but walk the walk. I had to have surgery.
Although I have never had any problems with my digestive system, about a month ago I had a severe gallbladder attack. A gallstone was blocking my common bile duct and the pain was quite intense. In addition, I had all the symptoms of a blocked common bile duct including profound loss of appetite, clay-colored stools, tea-colored urine and profound fatigue.
I realized that I probably needed to have surgery. I contacted two people who I have known and trusted for almost two decades, Marge Galloway NP and Philip Cacioppo M.D. After a little medical history, a physical examination and a CT scan, I was told that I really need to have my gallbladder taken out -- soon. About two weeks later I had the surgery.
When I was in medical school, gallbladder surgery was a major operation. The right abdominal area was cut open, gallbladder was removed and recovery time was measured in weeks.
Two weeks ago, I had my gallbladder taken out laparoscopically, and it only took four small holes in my abdomen. Phil Cacioppo told me that it would probably be a short operation and that I would be home in time for lunch. He was right.
The surgery began at 7:30 and by 12:30 I was transported to my car. At 1:30, I had lunch (clear broth).
Even though I have been a physician for decades, I am constantly amazed by the medical technology we have available to us. To be able to do a complex surgery using fiber optics and "remote" controlled surgical instruments, I find absolutely amazing. With these great advances in traditional medicine, I was back at work in four days.
I also believe that preparation and recovery from surgery was greatly aided by nontraditional medicine. Several days before the surgery I had intravenous vitamin C to accelerate the healing process. I also did meditation and visualization to create the "energetic" environment for a good outcome.
After the surgery, I also employed meditation and visualization as well as chanting specific sounds and tones to accelerate the healing process and repair any damage to the physical and "energetic body." I believe it worked. I only needed three pain pills after the surgery and, four days later, I easily put in a full day's work at the office.
There are weaknesses in traditional medicine that nontraditional medicine can fortify and there are shortfalls in traditional medicine that nontraditional medicine easily corrects.
I believe that the best approach to illness and disease is the combination of traditional and nontraditional medicine. I needed both.
• Patrick Massey MD, Ph.D. Medical Director - Complementary and Alternative Medicine Alexian Brothers Hospital Network President - ALT-MED Medical and Physical Therapy 1544 Nerge Rd. Elk Grove Village IL 60007.