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Integrative medicine: when two medical worlds collide

It is a normal Monday morning as I walk into my office and prepare for my day of patients, with the exception that I have a resident spending the week with me.

It is not uncommon to have a resident or student preceptor through my clinic, as this is a regular requirement of medical programs. I always look forward to the experience because student and resident shadowing always leads to great discussions and learning experiences for both the doctor and student.

With a keen resident by my side, we start our Monday off taking clinical histories of patients, performing physical exams and talking about the possible diagnoses that the patient may have, as well as the proper labs required to get the answers we need.

The only thing different about today is that the naturopathic medical treatments I am offering to the patients are very atypical for this resident; as most of them she has never even heard of prior to today.

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When audits work like a weapon, they’re a weapon

I’ve been active in various charities for a lot of years, in a variety of capacities from street-level volunteer to board president. Some of those charities do what some people would call “political activity.”

If you advocate for the poor and disabled, or seek changes to government policy, that’s “political activity.” The base level of democracy is to raise issues and present a case on questions upon which you and I vote. Who better to present a case, than the non-profits who work in the areas concerned?

We happen to live in an era when governments don’t like that. An effective way to get the advocacy arm of a charity to “shut the hell up” is to starve them of resources.

If you’re the federal government, you do that by tasking an arms-length agency, like the Canada Revenue Agency, to find a way to have your federal charitable licence number revoked. No licence number, no ability to issue tax-deductible charitable receipts to donors, no fundraising — no advocacy.

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Even small changes welcome

“Chris, you’ve really got to help the piano man, he fell off the wagon real bad this time; he’s going to lose his place so I called Detox for him,” the Piano Man’s friend was almost pleading with me.

“I went to the doctor to get my results, and the spot on my lung has grown two millimetres in one week; they had a cancellation so I go into hospital next week for a biopsy.” She’s scared, but is confident in the fact that she has a support community she can rely on.

“I’m ok I guess,” she speaks in a jittery style so common to long time crackers, (even though she no longer uses it) “I’m living with a sugar daddy; the jerk wants sex every five minutes but at least I have a roof over my head and I eat well. Nobody will rent to me so this is what I have to do.”

All three of these people have made a major impact on my life, and with these three comments that I heard this week alone; it made me stop and reflect on what has transpired in the last four years.

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Shedding light on sun, skin safety

The Canadian Cancer Society estimates that in 2014, 6,500 Canadians will be diagnosed with melanoma and 1,050 of them will die from it.

With the rates of melanoma rising, millions of people rely on sunscreens this time of year, but is that enough? Are they really our best form of protection from skin cancer? Some evidence may suggest otherwise.

Keep in mind that the best way to decrease your skin cancer risk is to: wear protective clothing; Not get burned; find shade and go in the sun when UV rays are lower such as early morning or later afternoon.

Even though sunscreen can help prevent sunburns, which is a major risk factor for melanoma, sunscreens alone cannot act as stand-alone protection. Furthermore, there are also some major misconceptions about sunscreen that need to be considered as well as potentially harmful ingredients that may be doing your body more damage than good.

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The story behind a 1965 survivor

Last year we spotted an original 1965 Mercury Montclair four sedan at a show.

The Merc was a true survivor car and had survived the last 49 years very well, so we knew there was a story.

We kept an eye on the car and circled back to it in an effort to track down its owner.

The car had spent its entire life in the local community and we wanted to know how it managed to keep its good looks after all those decades.

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