TheWellnessWarriorAustralia1

Not being Australian and, for some reason, never having encountered her promotion of “natural health” online before, I first encountered Jessica Ainscough, also known as “The Wellness Warrior” over a year ago when I learned that her mother Sharyn Ainscough had died of breast cancer. Her mother, it turns out, had rejected conventional treatment for her breast cancer and chosen instead the quackery known as Gerson therapy. It’s a treatment regimen based on long-discredited view of how cancer forms and that requires the consumption of boatloads of supplements and the administration multiple times a day of coffee enemas. Unfortunately, for a long time Jess herself has been on the same path, apparently inspired by her mother’s tendency for woo, a tendency that ultimately led to her death.

Jess, you see, has a rare cancer known as epithelioid sarcoma. To recap, in 2008, lumps started popping up on her left arm and hand, and she had them biopsied. Make no mistake, this is a rare cancer; recent figures for incidence are on the order of 0.1 to 0.4 per million. It’s a tumor of young adults, which fits with Ainscough’s presentation, and it nearly always appears on the upper extremities. Wide excision is the only effective treatment. Unfortunately, given the extent and location of Ainscough’s lesions, the only potentially curative therapy at the time would have been to have her arm amputated at the shoulder, a procedure that sounded to me like a forequarter amputation. It’s a horrible operation, one that’s seldom done any more (thankfully). In fact, I’ve never done one or even seen one done, and I’m glad about that.

So, when Ainscough was diagnosed with epithelioid sarcoma of her arm, it’s not surprising that she balked at such a disfiguring operation to cure it. Indeed, reading her story, I felt a lot of sympathy for her. She was only 22, with her whole life ahead of her to look forward to. So she tried alternatives that were part of science-based medicine, such as isolated limb perfusion, a technique in which the limb is temporarily isolated from the rest of the circulation and perfusing it with chemotherapy solution. It’s a technique that is sometimes used to treat melanomas of limbs or, of course, other sarcomas. It worked, but only temporarily. Her tumors recurred about a year later. So doctors recommended amputation again, and it was at this point that Ainscough rejected conventional medicine in favor of the Gerson protocol and The Wellness Warrior was born.

As is so often the case when a person chooses quackery instead of effective medicine and does well, at least initially, Ainscough attributed her good fortune to all the “natural” treatments and dietary modifications that she adopted. Indeed, she went further. She made a whole career out of it as The Wellness Warrior, aided and abetted by credulous reporting. Meanwhile, she’s done pretty well, but that’s not particularly surprising. Epithelioid sarcoma is not among the most aggressive of sarcomas. Its ten year survival overall is on the order of 61%, and for patients between 17 and 30 years (i.e., patients like Jessica Ainscough), it’s approximately 72%. Of course, that is with treatment with surgery; without surgery, five year survival is 35% and ten year survival is 33%. This implies that there is a subset of these cancers that is fairly indolent, as the vast majority of patients who are going to die of their disease do so within five years, with additional deaths after five years being relatively few. What this further implies, given that Ainscough never underwent surgery, is that she was lucky enough to be in this group. In other words, she’s another case in which the quackery didn’t save her; she was fortunate enough to have slowly progressing disease. The first time I encountered Ainscough, I was reluctantly forced to predict that her sarcoma would almost certainly get her in the end. As I pointed out, it could take years, but it would happen, as Ainscough gave up her one, best chance, of survival a few years ago. I can totally understand why her fear led her to make that choice, but there was a price to be paid.

Several people had noticed over the last year that Ainscough had been hiding her affected arm and that, in photos in which she couldn’t totally hide it, her arm was looking worse. Meanwhile, on her Facebook page, any photos of her seemed staged or cropped specifically to hide her left arm. I’ve revealed to you on many occasions that I subscribe to a lot of crank and quack e-mail lists, the better to provide me with blog fodder. (The things I do for you.) Well, I’m on Ainscough’s list, too, and I just received a depressing and disturbing update:

Wow, it’s been so long between blog posts that I’m almost feeling a little shy. My gosh, I’ve missed you though. It was definitely not my intention to take so much time off. When I left you back in June to begin a period of self-care hibernation, my plan was to get my health back in tip top shape and then spend some time creating some awesome new stuff for you. The reality, however, is that I’ve spent the whole time focused on my health. For the last few months, I’ve been pretty much bedridden. Let me fill you in on what’s been going on with me …

This year absolutely brought me to my knees. I’ve been challenged, frightened, and cracked open in ways I never had before. After my mum died at the end of last year, my heart was shattered and it’s still in a million pieces. I had no idea how to function without her, and it turns out my body didn’t either. For the first time in my almost seven year journey with cancer, this year I’ve been really unwell. I’ve lived with cancer since 2008 and for most of those years my condition was totally stable. When my mum became really ill, my cancer started to become aggressive again. After she died, things really started flaring up.

I’m truly saddened to hear this. The question that first came to my mind when i read this was this: What does she mean? How bad is it? It’s pretty bad:

I’ve had scans to detect what’s going on in my body, and I can report that the disease is still contained to my left arm and shoulder, however I do have a big fungating tumour mass in that shoulder that’s causing me dramas. Over 10 months of non-stop bleeding from the armpit has rendered me really weak (and uncomfortable) and as a result I’ve had no choice but to stop absolutely everything and rest. Tallon, my freaking hero, has had to step up and help me with everything from making food and juices, doing all of our housework and laundry to doing my hair.

So, in other words, Ainscough has the sarcoma equivalent of carcinoma en cuirasse, tumor that’s eroded through the skin and has started to bleed. This is bad. Really bad, given that this tumor mass at the shoulder is apparently bleeding enough to render Ainscough weak, from which I conclude that she’s losing enough blood to render her symptomatically anemic. It’s not unreasonable to assume that Ainscough is minimizing the effect of these tumors on her ability to function in daily life. After all, she’s built her entire reputation on being the “Wellness Warrior.” To admit that all the “natural” dietary alterations and treatments that she had relied on for so many years have come up empty can’t be easy. Even worse, “The Wellness Warrior” lifestyle is more than something Ainscough had relied on. It was her brand, a brand she sold to thousands through books advocating Gerson therapy and various other woo, speaking appearances, and media interviews. Those of us who were paying attention had noticed over the last year or so that those appearances were more and more carefully managed to hide Ainscough’s left arm, as I pointed out in January. Now we know why.

So now that it’s clear to everyone that Ainscough’s woo isn’t working, what is she going to do about it? To be honest, I’m not entirely clear that there’s much that can be done about it any more. Assuming Ainscough’s report is accurate and the tumors are still confined to the arm and shoulder, it’s still possible that a forequarter amputation could help her. Sure, it’s a radical and disfiguring operation that no one wants to undertake, but if the tumor hasn’t spread beyond her shoulder, there’s still a chance an amputation might safe her life. Alternatively, it’s often possible to palliate fungating tumors with radiation therapy. Is Ainscough considering either possibility?

You know the answer. She’s been staying in bed, which is reasonable (albeit seemingly in conflict with her photos on Facebook over the last couple of months showing her out with her friends), during which time she’s been feeling all sorts of sad emotions, which is completely understandable. She’s been lurching from anger to sadness, which is a completely normal reaction to such a setback. Unfortunately, it isn’t clear whether she’s been been moving forward towards making a decision regarding treatment options that might actually help (or at least palliate) her condition:

I’ve also spent my time doing lots of research into treatment options. I’ve been speaking to doctors, healers, and specialists and I’ve been completely opening myself up to attracting the right people who will help me heal – whether they are from the natural medicine world or conventional. My beliefs have been completely shaken up and I’ve had to drop any remnants of fear and ego that were preventing me from exploring these options sooner. I’ve discovered that when we completely close ourselves off from something, the universe will sure enough give us an experience that makes us see that everything has a place. It’s been completely eye-opening and very, very humbling.

I believe that as a result of my willingness to stop controlling my healing path and surrender to whatever the universe has up its sleeves to help me, I’ve attracted the most amazing healing team. I’m working with an oncologist who is kind, caring and non-judgemental – completely unlike any of the specialists I worked with in the early days of my journey. When we are open and in a state of surrender, the right people/situations/tools will appear. Final decisions and plans are now in process and I’ll keep you in the loop in the new year.

Remember how I discussed how The Secret is the central dogma of alternative medicine? This sure sounds rather Secret-like, except that, instead of wanting something badly enough and thus bending the universe to bring it to you, you have to basically give up and surrender to whatever you think the universe wants to bring to you. Either way, it’s magical thinking in which the universe will always provide you what you need. It won’t.

Actually, re-reading this, I see reason for hope. I get the feeling that Ainscough has made a major decision and is setting her “Wellness Warrior” followers up for it. Note how she says she’s working with a “non-judgmental” oncologist, not an alternative medicine practitioner. This suggests to me that she might finally be ready to take some form of conventional treatment again, as long as she’s allowed to do her woo alongside conventional medicine. In fact, I have to wonder if she’s finally decided to undergo forequarter amputation, giving the seeming finality of her announcement. Or maybe she’s decided to undergo chemotherapy to try to shrink the masses again, followed by forequarter amputation. I hope so. As horrible as that operation is, there are reconstructive surgical options to make the end result ultimately less so.

As for the reason for the tone of the announcement, sure Ainscough knows that such a decision, if indeed she has made such a decision, would be profoundly disturbing to a lot of her followers, to whom she had previously preached the message that all the quackery (like the Gerson therapy) that she had been following, along with dietary modifications and healthy eating, would keep her cancer at bay indefinitely. On the other hand, perhaps she doesn’t really have to worry. Judging from the overwhelmingly positive comments after her announcement, a few of whom appear to have guess what I guessed, namely that she’s decided to “go conventional medicine” again, I doubt she has much to worry about, although there are comments with advice ranging from suggesting that it’s necessary to do Gerson every day for the rest of your life to other quackery like myofascial release, emotional freedom technique, low dose naltrexone, and the like.

I sincerely hope Ainscough has chosen conventional treatment of some sort. If she hasn’t, I can’t help but foresee a slow, lingering, unpleasant death for her, a continuation of the process that’s brought her to this point now. Being a cancer surgeon, I just can’t stand to see anyone suffer like that. It’s true that it might now be too late, that Ainscough squandered her one best chance at long term survival back in 2008 when she refused surgery, but at the very least there are palliative options for her. And who knows? It might not be too late. At least, I certainly hope it isn’t. I hate to see a bright, intelligent young adult cut down in her prime, but I hate it even more when it’s as a result of choosing quackery over medicine. That’s why I’m really hoping that this isn’t just a prelude to choosing a new form of quackery and instead is Ainscough preparing her followers for a decision to turn back to medicine.

ADDENDUM:

As pointed out in a comment below, already there are comments to Ainscough basically telling her she wasn’t doing Gerson therapy “right” and that’s why she’s suffering now. For example:

hi jess. i’ve followed you for several years and i’ve wondered if your cancer would get worse – based on what i saw you doing with your diet in particular. i’m gonna be honest with you with my only intention being to help you. everybody is entitled to their opinion based on their experience. i’ve always wondered if you read gerson’s original book (minus what charlotte added to the book). i honestly believe that if you cut back out all animal products, all added oils and fats (including flaxseed oil which i personally consider to be one of the most toxic of all oils) and most of the vitamin supplements you are taking except the B12 injections and iodine which i apply only to my skin because of it’s voltility (most vitamin supplements are toxic to the sick body as gerson said in his original book – and it’s something i have found in my own illness and it’s also discussed in the book called WHOLE – by Colin T Campbell), then i think you’d find that your heath would improve again. the flaxseed oil and most of the vitamin supplements are kicking your liver and bloodstream while they’re down. it’s not just the active ingredient in synthetic vitamin supplements that’s the problem, it’s all the fillers and other crap that was made in some factory probably in china with the cheapest ingredients they could source. many, many overt fat free or low fat, high fruit (and veggie) vegans have recovered from aggressive cancers – brain cancer etc etc etc. – without the use of synthetic vitamin supplementation and added oils. admiring the likes of david wolfe and reading about all the other stuff you had in your diet told me you were off the mark a tad. also, even thinking that a higher protein and fat diet could help you with your health (when you did that experiment) also told me that somehow you’d lost your way with what is scientifically proven as a diet for health recovery (i refer to caldwell esselstyn and colin T campbell’s work). i recommend you look up megan elizabeth, fullyraw kristina, raw synergy tv and even freelee the banana girl on youtube to see how these women look amazing and have overcome health issues and have needed minimal vitamin supplementation and virtually no oils to achieve that goal. anyways, good luck with your journey. leesa

Yes, sadly Jess Ainscough can expect a lot more of this sort of thing if she continues to get worse or if she decides to “go conventional” and undertake conventional medical treatment of her cancer. On the other hand, there is also a testimonial from someone who “went conventional” after doing quackery:

Jess, I know first hand how difficult it is to go from 100% natural to being forced through the progression of the disease to use medical treatment. I felt like a failure that I didn’t cure myself when I had read the stories, listened to the ‘gurus’, had done what they said and still couldn’t stop the disease. Eventually I hated these people who I felt had sold me snake oil. My eating became very disordered and it has taken a good 18 months to find balance. I can now understand that all the advice and ideas that I was depending on to cure me probably won’t but that they are still absolutely necessary to support my body through the chemical treatments that have also worked surprisingly well. I felt like a traitor to myself the first few months of treatment. But now I embrace everything that might help. I don’t think I am saying it right (I simply wish to offer empathy) but thank you for sharing your experience and I hope you really have reached some kind of peace. It is not easy to come by after what you have been through. Have a lovely Christmas and I cannot wait to walk beside you all the way through 2015 and beyond ❤️

If Jess decides that Gerson treatment is necessary to help her deal with chemotherapy or surgery, I’d be OK with that (at least I wouldn’t object too strongly) as long as she’s using science-based medicine and Gerson therapy isn’t interfering with it.

Comments

  1. […] Ainsough biograophy to hwo she beat 4 grade cancer with vege shakes. You mean this Jess Ainsough? Jess Ainscough finally admits her condition is deteriorating – Respectful Insolence First off, she didn't have stage four cancer, nor did she beat it…. Needless to say, I can't […]

  2. #2 ainsley
    February 8, 2015

    i think the best thing everyone can do for Jess and themselves, is to be supportive, send positive thoughts and prayers and non-judgemental. We don’t know her path, what the universe has in store for her, or what lessons she will need to learn from this. I pray for her utmost healing and learning and I do think she is a very strong young woman to put herself out there.

  3. #3 Dannie
    NY
    February 9, 2015

    Dr. you sound like such a bitter and close minded person. It’s as if you abhor the notion that there could be other possibilities beside proven science. I’ve listened to your videos on you tube, and you’re always so critical. You look for the worst in every situation and pounce on them. Might it be because you lack understanding.

    Though I would have advised her to seek conventional healing from the beginning – because I believe in the power of both forms of healing – she chose otherwise. Conventional medicine works sometimes, but, don’t go around acting like it’s the savior for all diseases. There are quacks in both types.

    Conventional medicine sucks sometimes and is just as disappointing as doing nothing at times. What about the people who choose the conventional route and still end up dead? They are no different to those who choose alternative and end up dead.

    Listen, life is a mystery. The body is mysterious in so many ways. She promoted what she believed, just like you promote what you believe, which is not always right.

    Good luck to Jess. May God bless her in her struggles. Ops, I forgot you don’t believe in God.

  4. #4 shay
    February 9, 2015

    “It’s as if you abhor the notion that there could be other possibilities beside proven science. ”

    Once they’re proven, they’re science. Unproven, they’re…what, exactly?

  5. #5 Colonel Tom
    February 9, 2015

    @Shay, hypothesis, speculation or faith.
    Many people have drank more than three glasses of milk a day, only recently did “science” prove that this was a bad idea.

  6. #6 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    February 9, 2015

    @Dannie – beyond vague generalities, then, what evidence is there that the treatments Ms. Ainscough chose (and recommended to others) have shown any clinical benefit for, well, anyone? What is the quality of that evidence?

  7. #7 Smut Clyde
    February 9, 2015

    be supportive, send positive thoughts and prayers and non-judgemental

    Alas, I do not know her karmic e-address.

  8. #8 Vince
    Sunshine Coast
    February 14, 2015

    I was watching a YouTube posting about Food Matters where Jess Ainscough was interviewing the Founder and CEO of Food a Matters James Colquhoun which was enlightening to say the least. I was impressed by Jess so decided to google her and landed on this site. Even though I do not know Jess it is Devastating to hear of her illness and my thought and prayers are with her and her family.
    For what it’s worth, my fathers law was given 6 months to live and decided to go natural and survived an additional 6 years of quality living but eventually surcummed to the disease.

  9. #9 lilady
    February 14, 2015

    Vince: I don’t see any of the regular RI posters who is gloating over Ainscough’s present situation.

    Your testimonial about your father-in-laws 6 years survival after a cancer diagnosis and after a poor prognosis is what Orac refers to an “outlier”…described here:

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2009/12/22/when-testimonials-mislead/

    “….In other words, Mrs. Rogala is like the proverbial pancreatic cancer patient who lives far longer than expected. She’s an outlier. A testimonial. As much as it pains me to admit it, she’s no different than the alternative medicine testimonial in that her story tells very little about how the typical cancer patient could expect to do at MSKCC and even less about whether MSKCC does better at preserving the fertility of cervical cancer patients than any other quality cancer center in the area. Moreover, as the NYT article pointed out, if a for-profit diet center used a testimonial to advertise its services, the FTC would require a description of what a more typical paitent could expect. No such requirement applies to nonprofit cancer centers….”

  10. #10 Jack
    California
    February 17, 2015

    Maybe we should have respectful insolence for Lorena Rojas. She fought using conventional treatments and gosh darn, she died. Stop attacking people who choose a different path than you.

  11. #11 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    February 17, 2015

    Jack – please point out any attacks on people for picking a “different path”. Thanks.

  12. #12 lilady
    February 17, 2015

    I bet Lorena Rojas would cringe if she knew “Jack” was using her death from metastatic breast cancer to advance his “different path” philosophy. Ghoul.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2957104/Mexican-telenovela-actress-Lorena-Rojas-died-long-battle-cancer.html

  13. #13 Jack
    California
    February 21, 2015

    Tell that to Orac … his whole website attacks “different paths”. You are the ghouls!

  14. #14 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    February 21, 2015

    Jack originally said

    Stop attacking people who choose a different path than you.

    He later said

    Tell that to Orac … his whole website attacks “different paths”.

    Orac attacks medical advice (among other things) that is not backed by good solid evidence. He also calls out those people who promote treatments not backed by evidence, particularly those who make a buck from it.

    That is not the same as attacking people who pick a different path.

  15. #15 Rachel
    Melbourne
    February 25, 2015

    Poor girl, she is still in denial. I just came across this, published a fortnight ago:

    “As a result of the chemo I had on my arm four years ago, my left hand and arm is pretty damaged. I have next to no strength in it and my left middle finger is fused at the knuckle and curled over into my palm.”

    http://www.maketheworldmove.com/stop-wishing-for-things-to-be-different-by-jessica-ainscough-make-the-world-move/

  16. #16 Deborah
    Australia
    February 25, 2015

    Thank you Orca for your clear and wonderfully written blogs on this important subject. Such a sad update for Jess and her family and an all too familiar story with more and more people following the new age fundamentalist path for major health decisions. In September 2012 Jess was interviewed for an article “Holding out for a Miracle in The Australian one of our mutual country’s most respected and widely read national newspapers (link below) I was also interviewed about my colleague and close friend of 30 years ATHENA STARWOMAN the famous celebrity Astrologer and new age author who also denied conventional medicine to treat her breast cancer to go natural therapies and positive thinking. Athena’s husband is one of the presenters on the original ‘The Secret”. Athena’s cancer was slow growing she could have had conventional help but by the time it has spread throughout her body and she was in her last weeks of life she did regret not trying everything the world had to offer to help her including operations, chemo as well as natural health maintenance but it was too late and my dearest friend, clever, smart and successful passed away 10 years ago. Please keep your mind open people on what nature truly is. Nature also helps our minds invent and develop medicines to help us and life is a precious gift.

  17. #17 Deborah
    Australia
    February 25, 2015

    continuing my previous post, here is the link to “Holding our for a Miracle” in Australia’s leading broadsheet journal featuring Jess and her mother and my interview on the sad passing of Athena Starwoman
    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/…out…/story-e6frg8h6-1226476739168

  18. #18 janerella
    Oztraya
    February 25, 2015

    #215 @rachel – I think you’ll find a lot of her old blog articles are rehashed and stolen by other bloggers. That article you posted is 2 years old and has been lifted from Jess’ blog. http://www.jessainscough.com/2012/12/stop-wishing-for-things-to-be-different/

  19. #19 Dana
    February 27, 2015

    Jess passed away yesterday. This is really sad news

  20. #20 KJ
    February 27, 2015

    Sadly, Jess Ainscough passed away today. RIP.

  21. #21 Rowena
    February 27, 2015

    Jess passed away today. Sad news. RIP.

  22. #22 Peta
    February 27, 2015

    Jess passed away yesterday, 26 Feb 2015.

  23. #23 Rebecca Fisher
    That London
    February 27, 2015

    I see Jess Ainscough died yesterday.

    http://jessainscough.com/in-loving-memory/

  24. #24 Evidence-based
    February 27, 2015

    There hasn’t been an announcement yet, but rumour has it that Jess has died. Her facebook page seems to have disappeared.

  25. #25 Evidence-based
    February 27, 2015

    Her website just confimed that she had died.

  26. #26 meg
    australia
    February 27, 2015

    I just saw on social media Jess passed away on the 26th of Feb. All her sites are shut down with just a memeorial on her page. So sad but now I wonder what must everyone be thinking?

  27. #27 Sabinaut
    February 27, 2015

    It’s very sad all round. But I really can’t understand this either/or approach. Why can ‘t proven natural therapies which support the body’s own immune system to fight illness and aid in the recovery process be incorporated into standard medical treatment. Better outcomes for everyone.

  28. #28 Jessica
    February 27, 2015

    RIP Jess, now may you find peace and comfort with your sweet Mum x

  29. #29 Lawrence
    February 27, 2015

    Based on what she did, she didn’t spend 7 years living with Cancer, she spent 7 years dying a slow agonizing death of Cancer…..

    and helping make herself and her entourage a hell of a lot of money off of it at the same time.

  30. #30 Anj
    February 27, 2015

    I don’t know what anyone else is thinking, but I want to know what happens to money?

    Is it going to end up in court and the lawyers get most of it?
    Did they plan for the money machine to continue on in the event of her inevitable absence?

    That’s where the real drama is.

  31. #31 gaist
    February 27, 2015

    Sabinaut,
    To quote Tim Minchin,
    “Do you know what they call alternative medicine that’s been proved to work?
    Medicine.”

    So the either/or concept of standard medical treatments separated from “natural” treatments is also incorrect.

    Most doctors I know (or know of) don’t object to patients trying most alternative therapies such as homeopathy, chiropractic adjustments, acupuncture*, reiki and prayer if used in addition to regular, established treatments. While some claim these therapies can cure, most clinical trials and studies show these to have – at best – comforting effect, and I personally would probably replace those with less “natural” therapies of watching movies and reading good books, and if possible, sampling fine foods.

    There are some, like herbal medicine, black salve, MMS (bleach) enemas and it’s ilk as well as the more extreme diets which can interfere with regular treatment and may in fact do serious harm. In my opinion should be recommended against by doctor(s) if they think there might be a problem,

    But the sad truth is that sometimes the alternative, “natural” therapy is used instead of standard medical treatment – in which case, sadly, it doesn’t lead to better outcomes for everyone. For example, and with the caveat of not knowing all that much about Ms Ainscough, it is my understanding that she chose natural or alternative therapies instead of standard medical treatment. For good or bad.

    * Acupuncture, what with piercing skin with needles, may increase the risk of infections and inflammations, especially if the immune system is compromised.

  32. #32 Rimfire
    February 27, 2015

    Gosh, how *fabulous* it is to know that ‘medical science’ can offer a 100% solution to cancer! Here was I thinking that patients treated with Western medical treatments also happen to die, yet with all the self congratulatory tone of this post I’m certainly realising that I was wrong- if only individuals would stop all these alternative treatments and just get with the 100%, no worries at all cure that Western medical treatment provides! Gosh darn it, why would *anyone* want to go any other way when it’s so *patently* obvious that the Western medical model has cancer cured completely?

    Perhaps its because *they don’t*. Perhaps its because individuals *have the right* to choose their path and how they live their life, regardless of the sanctimonious tones that those who *aren’t* living those choices like to utter because yes, Western medicine has demonstrated it knows *exactly* what it is doing. I have seen individuals heal themselves of diseases that Western medicine states *emphatically* cannot be cured- what then? Oh, of course, it’s all bunkum and snake oil- unless Western medicine happens to be involved, at which the doctors are more than happy to take credit for what has happened even when they have *no idea at all*.

    My mother did everything her doctors told her to do when she had breast cancer, even when the procedures ended up giving her medically induced PTSD; guess what? *She died*. As did many of her aunts and her grandmother before her, who *also* followed to the letter the dictates of medical professionals. Where is the sanctimonious smugness then?

    What utter heteronomy is here. No wonder the medical ‘profession’ has taken to the practice of *forcing* medical treatments onto those that don’t want them, even by using the courts to enforce their will: with such arrogance and self righteousness, what else can be expected?

  33. #33 accidie
    February 27, 2015

    You know, Mr Rimfire, all those asterisks add exactly nothing to what I shall laughingly call ‘your argument’.
    No-one suggests that western medicine is 100 per cent effective. People die. Sometimes nothing can save them. But a nice bunch of greens with a snake-oil dressing, followed by a waste of good coffee certainly won’t.
    Also ‘heteronomy’? Have you seen The Princess Bride, Mr Rimfire? A character called Inigo Montoya has a line I think could apply a fortiori to you.

  34. […] months ago, I took note of a somewhat cryptic blog post by a young woman named Jess Ainscough. In Australia and much of the world, Ainscough was known as […]

  35. #35 brook
    February 27, 2015

    So sad.

  36. #36 Wellnesswarriorfollower
    Sydney
    February 27, 2015

    RIP Jess. Thank you for changing my entire perception – taking me from being a careless, unhealthy, unhappy person to finding the strength within me to have a voice, do my own research, follow my heart, and surround myself with goodness and love. Your journey was a journey of inspiration and love, and your star will shine for ever. You have inspired me to change my life for the better and for that I will always be truly
    grateful. Rest in peace earth angel xxx

  37. #37 Truth
    Australia
    February 27, 2015

    I know this story intimately. It was Sharon ( the mother) that decided on the alternative treatment, Sharon that quit her job, did the research, made every juice and meal and administered this to Jess. Jess did not convince Sharon to do anything. No one could talk Sharon out of her decisions, Sharon truly believed in what they were doing. Jess was a writer. Its a tragic story with a tragic ending for both of them.

  38. #38 Jill Bruce
    twin waters
    February 27, 2015

    Jess xx you were a true hero to so many people x RIP sweetheart.

    you fought so hard & gave hope to so many people, you are the wellness warrior & always will be.
    It’s a known fact that when you lose someone in your life, like your beautiful mother, it rocks your world including you immune system. Go now to join your mother sweetheart…. to good for this world xx RIP. Our deepest sympathy to Talon xx

  39. #39 Lawrence
    February 27, 2015

    Extremely tragic, made even more so by the years of Jess living in denial of her condition & attempting to convince her followers that everything was going just fine…..

    I will never take anyone’s death lightly, but Jess did a huge disservice by misrepresenting her condition.

  40. #40 Sarah
    February 27, 2015

    Thanks RIMFIRE, you took the words right out of my mouth.
    Interesting that people will swear black and blue that the medical industry heals people of cancer and yet Doctors themselves will never make the claim that they cure cancer, people generally die of the cancer treatments. The medical industry has the highest rate of deaths and lowest rate of survival, just don’t try to tell the general public that.

  41. #41 Orac
    February 27, 2015

    In light of the sad passing of Jess Ainscough, I wrote a new post.

    Given that this post is two and a half months old, this comment thread will be moved there. I have therefore disabled comments for this thread. Please feel free to post your comments, whatever they might be, after the new post:

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2015/02/27/the-wellness-warrior-jess-ainscough-has-passed-away/

  42. […] in her death. That’s when I first encountered her. In any event, in December, Ainscough admitted that her health was deteriorating, and on February 26, she died. My post about her death provoked far more of a reaction than I had […]

  43. […] Nel 2013 la madre di Jessica muore, anche lei stava “curando” un cancro al seno con la terapia Gerson. L’evento lascia la Ainscough in uno stato di profonda prostrazione e disillusione, al punto che in un post dell’anno scorso ammetteva che la sua situazione di salute sta rapidamente peggiorando. […]

  44. […] Ainscough finally admits her condition is deteriorating, Respectful Insolence am 16. Dezember […]

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