Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Last Lecture: Was There Anything Else He Could Have Done?

Professor Pausch gives a very inspiring lecture, both in book form and on youtube.  In his lecture he breaks boundary after boundary, achieving the impossible.  Yet when he discusses his illness, he tells people he's had the best expert advice and not to bother him with anything like that.  No offense, but if he'd listened to the best expert advice in almost any area of his life, he wouldn't have done the things he was able to do.

The assumption that because they are experts they've explored every possibility is a myth.  We don't treat pancreatic cancer well in the west.  It's a fact.  Which means that every other possibility has as good or better outcomes.  I'm not saying that Professor Pausch could have been cured (that would take a miracle like the ones documented by the Institute of Noetic Sciences about pancreatic cancer).  But in my brief discussions with pancreatic cancer patients (all of whom still decide to go the conventional, hopeless route) very few are following basic commonsense things like taking huge doses of pancreatic enzymes.  The idea is that a cancerous pancreas needs all the help it can get and that the enzymes both take the load off the pancreas and decrease the speed of cancerous growth.  I got the idea from that bastion of alternative medicine, the Merck Manual.  But although enzyme therapy is recommended by the experts of the experts, it is rarely practiced.

I recognize that this could be taken as a criticism of an amazing man, but it is much more a regret that he is gone. 

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