My health journey
A Mix of Medicine and Alternative
As a kid growing up in a small town in the 1950’s and 1960’s, illness meant a visit to the local GP - there were no other alternatives. When my two sons aged 20 and 18 got ill whilst growing up in Johannesburg in the 1990’s and 2000’s, my wife, Bev, used homeopathic remedies.
Different eras; we now have more choices, more knowledge, and more awareness of healthy living.
In 1972, in my early twenties, I developed pain in my left shoulder which got worse and worse. One doctor, in desperation said it was the way I held my guitar! In early 1973, I went for a year’s overseas trip with my backpack and guitar. The pain disappeared. Within a few months of my return the pain came back with a vengeance. I heard of a specialist physician who had recently opened up practice. He told me that I either had VD or gout! I was confident it was not the former so I started taking minuric, which lowers the uric acid in your body. Within a few weeks the pain disappeared.
It was a number of years later that I realised that the reason why I had no pain whilst overseas was……diet. My budget was less than $1 per day, so meat and chicken became a luxury. In fact I was in England for four months and on one occasion I had lamb chops. In Israel I had salads, eggs, fish. In Istanbul I had their thick soup in the morning (and their coffee where the spoon stood straight up!) which lasted me till evening. My physician agreed that I could control my uric acid without medication so I stopped taking Minuric.
Fast forward a couple of decades to 1996 when I developed a skin disorder that was initially misdiagnosed. It was so bad that I had to sleep in the spare bedroom as my sheets had to be changed every day. Just the gentle lapping of the bath water against my skin would be painfully itchy. I got numula excema (second diagnosis) from extreme stress; I was fortunate that my body did not say to me “heart attack or stroke”. The dermatologist told me that there was no medical cure; all that I could use was a corto-steroid ointment which was impractical as my excema covered most of my body. And the ointment thins the skin over time. My skin journey lasted about ten years including an extreme gluten free diet for a year (which I still moderately maintain to this day, with exceptions like having kitke bread on a Friday night!). My excema has been mild for the past few years.
I arrived back from one of many trips to Nigeria on Wednesday, 22nd December 1999 with a raging fever. The plan was that I was going to drive to Cape Town on the Saturday, with my family flying in on the Sunday. We had rented a house in Bakoven. Safe to say I was not allowed to drive – I had a major viral infection that stayed with me for four months. I went to a pharmacy in Camps Bay where a young teller overheard my conversation with the pharmacist (who suggested Corenza C!) and told me about Moducare. It did help me cope a bit better. I took it for a long while.
About a year or so later, I found that I could not concentrate, I was short tempered, aggressive – in general not a nice person. One day I found myself almost curled up in my office chair staring at the computer screen. I realized something was seriously wrong and went to see my doctor/homeopath, (the late) Dr Unterslak. My blood tests showed that my thyroid was dead, obviously a result of the viral infection. I started taking Eltroxin (now Euthyrox) which replaces the hormones that the thyroid produces. I still take it.
In 2009 I went for my annual check-up with my physician. He called me the next day to say I had an elevated PSA (PSA is a blood test to check activity in your prostate) and that I should see my urologist. I said “Larry, I don’t have a urologist”. He said “you better find one”. So after some research I went to Dr Lance Coetzee at the Pretoria Urological Hospital. A biopsy six months later showed that I had early stages of cancer of the prostate. I knew that laparoscopic surgery was a couple of years away from arriving in South Africa and that clinical trials were going to start for a vaccination. So I chose “watchful waiting” where I had a PSA test every month. As part of this regimen, I did extreme diet, homeopathy, Vitamin C and Chelation drips. I chose not to have brachy therapy (irradiated pellets into your prostate)
In 2010 my PSA went down every month. In 2011 it went up and peaked in August. An MRI showed that the cancer had not moved. I stopped my monthly PSA tests and in February 2012 I felt that I could not wait any longer and had a radical perineal prostatectomy. Before the surgery I had a PSA test (my first in six months; the reading was the same as the previous August). A few days later Lance told me that, even though my PSA had not changed, the cancer had turned aggressive, had spread throughout the prostate and in two areas was within 1 mm of the lining of the prostate! If I had delayed much longer, the cancer would have metastasized! My surgery was successful and even though my post op recovery took longer than anticipated, I had a complete recovery.
In 2010, my wife heard of LifeMel, a product from the beehive that helps deal with the side effects of chemo and radiotherapy. A colleague of mine’s wife was suffering terribly from the side effects of chemo and he took a jar. Twelve days later he came back for another one – he said it had helped his wife tremendously. My wife had arranged a meeting with the LifeMel distributor; he was not very forthcoming about his marketing and distribution plans so we gave up on it.
In 2016 a friend of my family was diagnosed with Non Hodgkins cancer. He started chemotherapy. After some searching I found the new LifeMel distributor who, after selling his remaining stock said he was no longer the distributor.
I contacted the company who makes LifeMel (and other products from the beehive), signed an exclusive distribution agreement and in January 2017 began the process of complying with the Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries requirements.
My personal health journey has been a mix of both medicine and alternative medicine; the stresses of life today are different to yesteryear and require a more holistic approach to health care. The LifeMel range of beehive products can make a difference for those with ill-health.