The Tragedy of Irreversibility


   Chronic sufferers are frequently told that their disease is incurable. For those of us who do not believe that any so-called disease is curable or that there is any such thing as a cure, the whole concept of curability and incurability is wrong. Past experiences have shown that the so-called incurable frequently recover health when they abandon drug treatment and resort to other forms of care. To be assured by one or more scientific physicians that one is hopelessly incurable, to go through a medical clinic and to be informed that there is no cure for your disease, to have the verdict of a consultation of physicians handed to you in a word--incurable, to be treated for years with drugs and surgery and grow progressively worse and then to turn to some form of "quackery" and recover health is to upset one's faith in science.

   Medical men, in pronouncing a condition incurable, have only their own experiences in mind. Neither the people nor the physicians have any sort of conception of the health-destroying effects of drugs. Every dose of every drug administered to a patient is not only disease producing in its own right, but it depresses the healing operations that are always going on in the sick organism. When the drugging is discontinued, when the body is relieved of this intolerable burden, it can do for itself much that it fails to do while being poisoned.

   The strength of the body's self-healing efforts is graphically illustrated in those many instances in which they succeed in restoring health in spite of the use of drugs. Should we then be surprised that they are frequently successful in more advanced cases, when drugs are abandoned? Incurability is often nothing more than drug poisoning.

   All diseases are the results of causes and when these causes persist, the disease persists. When the causes of disease have persisted for a sufficient length of time, the cells and tissues bearing the brunt of the toxic load, being in a state of chronic irritation, give down and degenerate, with the result that organic disease evolves. The line of demarcation between functional and organic disease is not well defined as the first fades insensibly into the other. Functional disease is of a remedial character; organic disease is of a destructive nature.

   In chronic disease the first stage is purely functional, entailing only a modification (of a remedial nature) of the work ordinarily done by the part and in no way involving any loss of integrity of the affected tissues; the second stage of chronic disease is one in which the cells composing the affected organs are in a state of degeneration. The practical importance of this differentiation of the two stages resides in the fact that the first stage is remediable if cause is removed; the second stage is often not completely remediable because of irreversible changes in the cells involved. The tragedy of irreversibility lies in the fact that all irreversible pathologies are the culmination of a pathological process that went through a long period of remediability before reaching the irreversible stage. Failure to remove cause during this time permits the evolution of irreversibility.

   Fortunately, in the great percentage of cases of chronic disease, no irreversible changes have taken place in the tissues. This means that nearly all chronic diseases may be fully recovered from. There is but one reason why chronic disease is not remedied in every recoverable case: namely, because the cause of the disease is not removed. It does not matter what is done in the way of treatment; recovery cannot occur until cause is removed. When cause is removed, no treatments are needed. Recovery is a spontaneous process.

   The pessimism of the medical profession in regard to the so-called incurable diseases lies not only in the fact that they begin their treatment in a stage that is past redemption and ignore the insipient stages, but at the same time they ignore the real causes of the organic decay. The fatal ending of advanced pathology should not be regarded as presaging the victory of pathology over life--of evil over good--when causes are removed at a much earlier stage of the process. The time to remedy so-called incurable diseases is before they have reached the incurable stage. We are daily implored to cure some advanced and hopeless condition, such as cancer, apoplexy, advanced tuberculosis, etc. But nature's laws are inexorable and unalterable and only ignoramuses and imposters pretend to effect restoration to health in spite of these laws. There is a point of no return, a point of irreversibility after which, no matter how ideal the condition supplied for recovery, the movement toward health is feeble and ineffective.

   Fortunately, the point of irreversibility is commonly much beyond the point to which medical men apply the label "terminal case." Their classifications are based on the failure of their drugs and have no validity under other and.more rational plans of care. When irremediable structural changes have taken place, function can be restored only to the extent of the limits imposed by the structural damage. The individual so structurally impaired may be properly designated a "physiological cripple" and must be taught to live within his limitations, else will he bring greater trouble upon himself.

   Practically every organ in the body is larger and possessed of greater functional capacity than the ordinary activities of life require. This makes it possible for an organ that has undergone irreversible changes, provided only that this has not occurred in too much of the organ to permit of efficient function, to meet the regular needs of the body, provided that the causes of its impairment are removed and its remaining functioning tissue is restored to health. It is due to this reserve power possessed by each organ of the body that the organism is capable of compensating considerable pathology, if impairing influences are removed. In case of injury, if not too much of the organ is destroyed, it will be able to meet the demands of life. An excellent example of this compensating power is the ability of one kidney to do the work of two kidneys if one is destroyed or removed.

   In many cases the damage is great enough that the individual is forced to function on a lower physiological level. As a physiological cripple, he gets along well so long as he lives within his much lowered limitations. He is no longer able to behave as a whole man with full functioning capacity. In such cases, as Graham so graphically pictured, the weaker organ must form the standard by which activities are to be gauged, just as the weakest and not the strongest part of a bridge must be employed in determining the load it will sustain.

   The great reason why so many die prematurely, even after they adopt, more or less, the Hygienic way of life, is that they are altogether too prodigal of their resources. They are likely to think that because they "live Hygienically," there is no limit to their energies--they can walk unheard of distances, work long hours, do more work than anyone else, get along on insufficient sleep, and not suffer. Some of them work so hard at getting well that they keep themselves enervated.

   Irreversibility is often due entirely to the fact that the original and sustaining causes of disease (to which drug poisoning is merely an addition) are not corrected or removed. No case of sickness should be classed as irreversible until after the full correction of all causes, it fails of recovery.

   Another reason for failure of recovery is the failure to provide the sick organism with adequacies of the primordial requisites of organic existence. If drugging is discontinued and the physiological needs of life are neglected, many will fail of recovery who might speedily recover were these Hygienic requirements fully and adequately met. As the practitioners of the various schools of so-called healing both ignore causes and provide only inadequately and haphazardly for the physiological wants of the sick organism, while throwing monkey wrenches into the vital machinery, they can have no adequate conception of the marvelous efficiency of the body's self-healing abilities when operating under favorable or healthful conditions.

   In the final analysis, then, it seems correct to say that irreversibility, which exists far less often than is popularly and professionally thought to be the case, is almost always due to maltreatment, ignorance and simple neglect of the most elemental needs of life. None of the schools of so-called healing can be exempt from the charge of contributing to the production of irreversibility, but it must be recognized that what Graham appropriately termed the "mere drugging cult" is by far the worst offender in this respect. Perhaps if correct care is inaugurated in the initial stages of disease, no such thing as irreversibility would evolve.

   This brings us to a brief consideration of the question: what and when are the initial stages of disease? The Hygienist regards the first cold or diarrhea or skin eruption of infancy as representing an already established toxemia. This is the initial stage of pathological evolution that will culminate years later in apoplexy, arteriosclerosis, heart disease, Bright's disease, or cancer, etc. The time to begin to head off the evolution of advanced and irreversible pathologies is in infancy or even before birth. There is no time of life when it is safe to neglect the genuine needs of the body or to subject it to abuses.

   There can be no doubt that there are irreversible pathologies--there are patients who are so badly impaired that they are past vital redemption. But there was a long stage in the life of these sick individuals before the irreversibility was reached, when they could have recovered health. We can say of these that failure to remove causes, failure to provide primordial requisites and the evils of drugging and enervating palliatives, have persisted so long that an irreversible stage has been reached. Correct means of care, even if now employed, come too late. Palliation of discomforts permits the evolution of irreversibility without the patient or his adviser realizing that it is developing.

   There is no such thing as an insidious disease. All pathological evolution is accompanied by frequent warnings that all is not right within the body. Irreversibility does not slip upon us unawares. It evolves without our recognition only because of our ignorance or perversity. Either we do not understand the warnings or else we ignore them. Two questions must be answered concerning any alleged solution of the suffering of the sick. First, does it really remedy the state that is back of the distressing symptoms? Second, is the remedial work only temporary or is it permanent? The correct answer to these questions will determine the real, as opposed to the illusory value of the alleged remedial measure. If the apparent benefit is only superficial and temporary, the measure can provide no genuine benefit. In view of mankind's long experience with measures of this type and their invariably harmful effects, we may properly consider such measures as evils.

   It is precisely here that there exists the most marked difference between the traditional drug systems and their imitators on the one hand, and Hygienic means on the other. Before we can consider the permanency of results flowing from these various measures, it becomes essential that we draw a sharp line of demarkation between those means provided by nature for the care of the body and the means that are in vogue for the cure of disease.

   Many things are proclaimed as natural that have no normal relation to the living organism and serve none of its genuine needs. Many of these are effective as palliatives. But if such a system of cure is to be accepted as a natural system, it must be admitted that natural cures are not permanent; for it is assuredly true that the same individuals frequent these cures year after year, whereas, if the basic causes of their diseases were removed, this would not be found necessary. It should not be necessary to stress the fact that cures that have to be repeated over and over again are not satisfactory from the patient's standpoint. Cures that require that the patient spend the remainder of his life in the hospital or sanitarium are equally unsatisfactory. A cure that one has to carry around in his pocket and take at regular intervals cannot be accepted as real. If a man must nurse and indulge himself and abstain from the world's work, he cannot feel that he has been restored to health.

   It is important for us to understand that removing causes does not heal the patient. It only ends the production of effects. It enables the body to restore soundness of structure and efficiency of function by its own intrinsic powers and processes. This is healing, not curing. This is natural healing; it is a biological process. It is not accomplished by the application of cures, but by processes of life. Another and common reason for failure of recovery is the inability or unwillingness of the patient to carry out instructions long enough and faithfully enough to effect recovery. "Just this one cup of tea! Just one last cigarette! Just this one more hot dog and tomorrow I will begin to live Hygienically. Today let me enjoy one last non-Hygienic fling." Words like these or actions such as these words describe are all too common and represent a common cause of failure. It is unfortunate that so many sufferers fail to recognize the harmfulness of their habits of life and are unwilling to radically and permanently correct these. Yet it is absolutely true that unless all enervating causes are corrected, full recovery is not possible.