Health E-Insights: What brought you to write Honest Medicine?
Ms. Schopick: I wrote Honest Medicine as a result of my experience taking care of (and advocating for) my husband Tim Fisher after he was diagnosed in 1990 at age 40 with a very serious cancerous brain tumor. I found that the doctors were able to treat him with the standard treatments they knew—surgery, chemo, radiation and pharmaceuticals. But they were not knowledgeable about other treatments—especially diet and nutritional supplements, which I found so helpful for Tim. In fact, both Tim and I fervently believed that these dietary treatments helped him to live 12 years beyond his doctors’ prognoses. To my surprise, I discovered that Tim’s doctors were not at all interested in the low-cost, effective treatments that I found for him—even though it was obvious to us that those treatments were working. Then, something happened that made me become determined to spread the word about non-toxic, inexpensive treatments that doctors don’t know about. In 2002, Tim had a recurrence of his brain tumor; after this surgery, his suture line wouldn’t heal. The doctors performed eight additional surgeries in eight months, trying to make the skin on his head heal. But they didn’t work. In fact, the repeated surgeries just made him worse, until finally he was brain injured, paralyzed and bed-bound from the surgical assaults on his body. So I set out to find other treatments to write about that were also inexpensive, life-saving and had stood the test of time—other treatments that doctors weren’t interested in learning about. I wrote Honest Medicine so that others wouldn’t have to go through the struggles I went through to find treatments that are low-cost, effective and time-tested for their friends and loved ones.
Health E-Insights: What has been the response to the book?
Ms. Schopick: The response to Honest Medicine has been absolutely wonderful. I seem to have struck a deep chord with it. Honest Medicine has received many excellent reviews in publications such as Life Extension Magazine, the ACAM newsletter and the Townsend Letter. In addition, I have been a guest on many radio shows. And I’ve been interviewed for some pretty important publications, such as Atlantic.com, The Atlantic’s website. When they read my book, they learn about the treatments I write about—inexpensive treatments that their doctors may not tell them about for such difficult conditions as autoimmune diseases (MS, lupus, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue disease, rheumatoid arthritis, etc.), childhood epilepsy, non-healing wounds and terminal liver disease. The fact that their doctors don’t know about these treatments is very sad. But the fact that I can help patients to obtain them is extremely rewarding and uplifting for me.
Health E-Insights: What role do you think the future of dietary supplements plays in our health regimens?
Ms. Schopick: A huge role. When my husband Tim was sick with a brain tumor, the doctors were able to excise the tumor; they were able to radiate whatever remained of the tumor, and—for good measure—they gave him chemotherapy. While those treatments were probably necessary (his tumor was the size of an orange), they caused many, many horrific side effects over the next several years. One “side effect” was a radiation-caused stroke; others were hydrocephalus (water on the brain) and intermittent seizures. There were many hospitalizations and some additional surgeries to deal with these complications. I decided that, if I was to have Tim around for many more years—and in relatively good shape—I’d better start looking for therapies and treatments that might increase his survival and his quality of life. I found a wonderful nutritionist who changed his diet and recommended numerous high-quality nutritional supplements. These natural treatments turned Tim’s life around.
Health E-Insights: Who has had the biggest health influence on your life?
Ms. Schopick: Two people: my now-96-year-old mom, Sonya Schopick, and my late dad, Dr. Louis Schopick. My dad was a general practitioner in Bridgeport, CT, in the so-called good old days of medicine. He told me early on that doctors didn’t know all the answers. In fact, he put it more strongly when he told me, “If a doctor tells you he knows all the answers, run like hell.” My mom influenced me, as well. When she was 11-years-old, in 1928, her mother was diagnosed with colon cancer and Dr. Charles Mayo told her she had six months to live. My grandfather simply wouldn’t accept such dire news. He and other Jewish immigrants were devotees of the Jewish Daily Forward. A columnist, Dr. Chleminitsky, wrote about innovative, cutting edge treatments in other parts of the world. My grandfather contacted Dr. Chleminitsky and was told about a treatment that was being used in Germany. My grandmother went to Germany for this cutting edge treatment—a combination of radiation, oxygen and carbon dioxide—and lived for another 11 years, outliving Dr. Charles Mayo himself.
Health E-Insights: Where, to whom, or to what do you turn to in dark times?
Ms. Schopick: In dark times, I try to find the wisest friend I can find to talk with to help me sort out my problems. I wish I could say that I always find the answers to my dark times on my own, but I don’t. I find it very helpful to turn to friends. If friends can’t help me, I turn to experts I learn about through friends, or by researching online.
Health E-Insights: Do you consider yourself a fearless person?
Ms. Schopick: No. When my husband was diagnosed with his cancer, I found that I became as terrified as someone much less educated than I was about the vagaries and dangers of the medical system. Another reason I wrote my book is to let readers know that, even if you are scared, you can find answers to the most difficult questions. It’s almost like the song from The King and I, “I Whistle A Happy Tune.” In other words, pretend you’re not scared, act as though you’re not scared, and you’ll be able to accomplish miracles. And perhaps most important: trust your gut.
Sheldon Baker is well known for creating nutraceutical brand marketing and public relations campaigns. For Health E-Insights interview consideration, contact him at Sheldon@NutraInk.com. And follow him on Twitter @NutraInk.