Episode 2: Walt Lewis, MD and David Spero: Aging with Cancer, Diabetes and Other Chronic Diseases

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Modern medicine has performed miracles with acute illness. If you have a heart attack, if you're shot with a bullet or you have pneumonia, you want the best trained western doctor available to treat your condition. But people with chronic conditions have a different experience. They are often treated with powerful but often only mildly effective drugs, frequently with disturbing side effects. Today's show features two men who are doing something that's different, yet tried and true about chronic illness. This show will be good for your health. Walter M. Lewis, M.D was trained as a traditional western medical physician in Internal Medicine. He practiced at the Santa Barbara Medical Clinic, now the Sansum Clinic. When Walt Lewis was diagnosed with terminal cancer, he first tried the accepted, mainstream medical practices for a cure. Unable to reverse his condition that way, he decided to break with his years of medical training and commit himself to a totally naturopathic program. He retired after thirty years of practice, took his wife and daughter and moved to Hawaii, switching gears to heal their bodies, minds and spirits along with his own. He let go of his mental stress and began a specific health diet, regular exercise and prayer. After those five years his "terminal" cancer was in complete remission. Returning to Santa Barbara he had the opportunity to join the Issels Clinic, a naturopathic clinic where he now does healing work mostly with patients who have advanced cancer conditions. David Spero has been a nurse for 32 years and has lived with multiple sclerosis for 25 years. He is author of two books: The Art of Getting Well: Maximizing Health When You Have a Chronic Illness; and Diabetes: Sugar-coated Crisis, which won 2007 Eric Hoffer Award for best small-press book from Writers' Digest. He is working on a third book, tentatively called, Hotter, Safer Sex. He has been co-facilitator of the San Francisco MS self-help group since 2001 and currently works with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement on improving care of people with chronic conditions. Mr. Spero and Dr. Lewis answer these questions about chronic illness: What are the keys to maximizing health when you have a chronic illness? Why don't people take care of themselves, and what gets in the way? What is the most important skill needed to overcome a chronic illness? What is stress? How does stress cause chronic illness? What protects against stress? Why is the support of other patients, families and people in the community crucial to most people's success in managing chronic conditions? Why have medical advances made so little impact on Type 2 diabetes and other chronic conditions? How are chronic conditions diseases of powerlessness, and how can people empower themselves to improve their behavior and health? They explain that Naturopathic Medicine is a partner with your body in building up immunity, and tell of other ways to strengthen yourself. For instance, in the case of cancer, radiation and chemotherapy are major insults to your body. The problem with all this is that medical doctors and naturopaths don't talk to each other. There needs to be an free exchange of information about the patient so that the best of both treatments can be designed. This is an inspiring show with two men, one who overcame terminal cancer and one who has lived a normal life with MS, telling the world how they managed to beat the odds on chronic illness.

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