My mother was diagnosed with emphysema and COPD at the beginning of 2003. Although signs of the disease were not yet visible I knew what was coming. I had worked in a hospital admitting department before and during college and remembered admitting the patients diagnosed with emphysema. With each admission they appeared a bit more disheveled, exhausted and emaciated until I eventually no longer saw them. I knew they had succumbed to the disease. I remembered how sad it was seeing them deteriorate eventually ending up in a wheel chair on supplemental oxygen with the "skin and bones" appearance.
I hoped maybe in the twenty plus years since I had worked in that hospital admitting department, medical science had developed medications or emphysema treatments that would stop the disease in its tracks. I began researching every night after work and checking on my mother every day or two looking for signs and symptoms of the disease. After 10 months of praying and researching I had uncovered a lot of bad news about the terminal nature of the disease. I soon realized all the common key words I was searching were dominated by the pharmaceutical industry and I had located most, if not all of their sites.
This is the Best Medical Science Has to Offer?
They told of slowing the disease progression using medications and emphysema treatments they had developed. One red flag for me was the fact that they performed their own clinical trials proving the effectiveness of each medication and emphysema treatment. Based on these clinical trials, our beloved FDA approved them for use.
It was shocking to me that in the twenty plus years since I had worked in that hospital admitting department, they had not come up with a cure for this disease or even a way of stopping its progression. As you probably know, there is simply no money in curing disease!
I noticed after more than two and a half years my mother had taken all of her prescribed medications and performed all of her emphysema treatments on time every day, had not smoked at all and had still gotten noticeably worse. I wondered what could possibly cause the progression of emphysema in the absence of smoking.
A Logical Approach
My degree is in engineering and in engineering when something is removed from the equation, it is no longer a factor in the outcome. I realized smoking had been removed from the equation and could not be a factor in the disease progression. Could some residual left over from smoking cause this progression of emphysema?
When I asked one of my mother's doctors why her emphysema was getting worse so long after she quit smoking he told me they didn't know; it was a mystery. That sounded more like Harry Potter than medical science.
It seemed like some unknown pathogen was proliferating in my mother's lungs. The lungs distended as an adaptation creating additional surface area for gas exchange namely, breathing. As the lungs distended further and further, they crowded the stomach making normal-sized meals impossible. As the proliferation continued and the meals got smaller and smaller the supplemental oxygen requirement increased and the patient took on the emaciated, "skin and bones" appearance. This started making sense all of a sudden. At least it made a lot more sense than what the doctors were telling us.
All I needed was a way of killing this unknown pathogen.
Please return tomorrow for Part 2.