Family vs. Chemo

I don’t know if you’ve heard about it or not, but a Minnesota family has been taken to court over their son’s treatment for Hodgkins lymphoma. The treating physician recommends chemotherapy, but the 13 year old in question, and his parents, prefer to continue with alternative methods. This has been full of controversy, because it involves religious freedom and modern medicine. The group they belong to  is called the Nemenah Band, and here’s an excerpt of an article that takes a closer look at the situation:

A boy’s life hangs in the balance in New Ulm, Minn., this week as a court decides if he should abide by the advice of prominent doctors or that of a group claiming to be American Indian healers whose website the boy’s mother says she ‘found on the Internet.’

The Internet is a funny thing. Perhaps Colleen Hauser, the mother of 13-year-old Danny, who has Hodgkin’s lymphoma, also looked a little deeper on the Web and discarded critical opinions about the group, the Nemenhah Band…many, including Native Americans, take issue with a family that chooses the claims of Landis, who has been convicted of fraud for misleading investors in an alternative-health mushroom-growing business, instead of Mayo Clinic doctors.

One is Al Carroll, a Mescalero Apache, Ph.D.-holding author and Fulbright scholar who moderates a website ( dedicated to exposing people who exploit American Indian traditions for profit.”

I really understand both the family and the Dr’s point of view. As a Reiki practitioner, I always tell my clients that Reiki is complimentary to traditional medical care, not an alternative or replacement. When the car breaks down you have to take it the mechanic. When you take care of the car better, with oil changes and regular maintenance, you’ll be less likely to need the mechanic as often. Traditional medicine is like the mechanics, it can help fix things that go wrong. Reiki is just some good self care, like using the right kind of gas and oil in your car, and getting a tune up every year.

My hope is that this boy will get all the medical care he needs to survive this difficult disease, and I’ll be keeping him in my prayers as well. The New Age movement has been a funny thing, some really wonderful things have been brought to light from the gathering together of inquisitive souls. One of those things is Reiki, which came from Japan and was in the U.S. from the 1940’s, long before the big New Age Boom of the 1980’s.

It was also the first time many people had been exposed to Native American beliefs and practices, which was wonderful to see a different way to look at life and spirit. It does make me wonder, though, how many people died as a result of following the advice of a Christian “faith” healer. Con artists can call themselves anything to try and weasel and trick people out of their money. Too bad they don’t always stop there.

Wishing you all health and wisdom in all you do…Namaste.

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