( Originally Published 1954 )
Several months ago I received a communication from a young woman in Wisconsin, inquiring about non-surgical treatment for a "growth of the womb." The patient gave her age as 36; she was single; her complaint was of a tumor which had been growing during the past three years. The young woman, Miss H., had consulted local doctors who had recommended surgery for the removal of the uterus.
It has been my experience, as it has been the experience of other pioneers who apply natural methods of therapy, that as a first effort uterine growths can be combated successfully by systematically man-aged fasting, rest in bed, and passive exercises that are designed to drain the pelvic structures of congested debris. I therefore advised Miss H. to come to me for treatment.
It is my earnest belief that every sick person is entitled to natural rest cure, even if surgery is imperative. This method of treatment is good preoperative care for the patientl Anyone who is suffering from an enlarged mass in connection with the genital structures is entitled to an initial rest cure.
The rest cure consists of lying in bed to give the body every chance to relax. Daily osteopathic treatments are administered. They are effective in making the patient fee. energetic and relaxed. While resting in bed the patient is instructed to stretch the muscles, to bend or flex the arms, the legs, the neck, the spine. All this is done with the objective of improving the body structurally and functionally.
The food intake during such rest-cure periods consists of freshly made raw vegetable juices and fruit juices. The patient is fed about three to four times per day, to the extent that he can take the food with enjoyment.; he is not encouraged to take it without any appetite or relish. Even in the case of a healthy or nearly healthy person, going to bed with the objective of achieving a regenerative condition of the body will inevitably reduce the appetite considerably. This is nature's way of making the individual body economy consume its own sub-stance, thereby using up catabolic retained wastes and other body surplus that might, if uneliminated, play a vital role in causing disease.
My patient, Miss J- H., arrived for treatment with the impression that she had a tumorous uterus. As soon as I examined Miss J. H., I found it necessary to disagree with previous diagnoses. My finding was that of a large ovarian mass that involved the right ovary. The examination was done by bimanual palpation, in the rectum and on the surface of the abdomen.
The patient was a tall slim person wearing maternity clothes. Her abdomen looked as if she was five or six months pregnant. An inquiry into her case history revealed the following interesting facts. Until about three years prior to this she had been perfectly normal, her monthly periods regular and painless. At that time she had a case of "mumps." It is a well-known fact, in clinical medicine, that in a case of the mumps the gonads, or sex glands, are sometimes also involved by the disease process of inflammation.
I informed my patient that my diagnosis was not a tumorous uterus but an ovarian cyst; and this condition could not be treated by fasting and diet as the sole therapy. It required surgery- Because I was anxious to send Miss H. back home in good health, and also because I knew that my local friend, Dr. Alexander Selman, is an excellent and ethical surgeon, I suggested that Dr. Selman be called for consultation. Miss H. agreed, and Dr. Selman was glad to see the patient.
After examining Miss H., he expressed doubts about my diagnosis, suggesting that it appeared to be a peritoneal condition due to liver involvement, perhaps by malignancy. For the latter condition, surgery is futile and helpless. I was anxious to help my patient to solve her problem and suggested to Dr. Selman that he perform an exploratory laparotomy.
Dr. Selman is a good surgeon and a gentleman as well. He enjoys the highest standing in his specialty. He is also very generous in his attitude to physicians of a minority school. At least I found this fine M.D. to be very generous in his attitude to me, as an osteopathic physician- He extended me the courtesy of permitting me to be present at Miss H.'s operation.
It was a dramatic moment when the good surgeon made a three-or four-inch incision and at once found that the growth was an ovarian cyst. About fifteen pounds of dark reddish chocolaty fluid was aspirated into two large bottles. A solid mass of over two pounds was dexterously removed. The uterus was found to be perfectly normal in size and appearance. No peritoneal or liver pathology were found. The operation took fifty-five minutes.
Dr. Selman gave me credit for making the correct diagnosis.
My patient remained at the Nyack Hospital for five days and returned to the Health Rest for four weeks of post-operative convalescence. A few thoughts must be expressed here regarding ordinary hospital feeding of the sick, pre- and post-operatively.
The patient, Miss J. H., was health-minded. She knew the difference between wholesome and insipid food mixtures. The night before her surgical operation, her supper at the hospital consisted of potato salad, chicken and rice soup, Jello and tea with crackers. I would feed pre-operative patients a glass or two of raw vegetable juice and some freshly made orange juice, with a couple of teaspoonfuls of honey for extra energy to stand the operation well. Some surgeons prescribe some chocolate candy for energy, for the meal before surgery. A freshly made lemonade, sweetened with honey, is a better energizing meal preparatory to surgery.
Patients often develop stomach distress after operative procedure. They belch, throw up, or are distressed all over because the stomach and intestines are clogged with wastes that could well be washed out before the operation. The surgeon scrubs up properly, cleans his hands asceptically; the clothing he wears, the cap, the mask, everything, is sterile- His assistants and his instruments are all scientifically asceptically cleansed. The patient is externally prepared for the operation by proper cleansing, bathing, etc. But as a rule the colon is neglected or ignored. Even if an enema is given the night before surgery, the colon remains a sewer full of wastes.
Preparatory to surgery, the food intake for two or three days should consist of freshly made raw fruit juices and raw fresh vegetable juice and no other foods. The patient would then have a much more comfortable convalescence from the surgical ordeal than is usually the case.
Miss J. H. was quite comfortable after her operation, simply because she knew better than to eat the supper that was served on her hospital tray. She had taken along some raw fresh fruit which she ate for her supper.
A day after her operation Miss H. was instructed to walk to the bathroom and given a tub bath. I consider this extremely drastic procedure. While under the anesthetic the patient looked quite weak; she had to be given oxygen. She was given a blood transfusion right after the operation. Losing the eighteen pounds of weight of her cyst, all of a sudden, was apparently a shocking experience. When the body gets accustomed to a disease syndrome, it must be treated wisely to avoid extreme or shocking sudden changes. For this reason Dr. Selman recommended blood transfusion right after surgery was completed.
The hospital food after surgery was just as bad as the supper before the operation. Farina, white bread and milk for breakfast, meat and canned vegetables for lunch . .. similar poor mixtures for hot summer feeding for the evening meals. When Miss H. returned to the Health Rest for convalescence, she welcomed a trayful of delicious food and drink.
Raw salad with cottage cheese, a glass of freshly made fruit juice, a dish of fresh green vegetables, slightly steamed, comprised her first luncheon. Miss H- built up her strength and gained about twelve pounds of good weight during her four-week period of convalescence. Today she is one of my good friends because I did my best to give her the kind of service she needed and expected.
The brief report on this case is presented here because it proves that the physician must be alert in evaluating the individual patient's problem, carefully and without mistake. This was the one case in a hundred when the physician who believes in knifeless surgery as being possible for the majority must know exactly when surgery is imperative. In this one case in a hundred, or even one in five hundred, the scientific skill of the modern surgeon must be resorted to in order to alleviate suffering and save life.