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How My Husband Kept His Kidney
Marta D. Olynyk
A Success Story Using Traditional Chinese Medicine
When my husband was diagnosed with kidney cancer three
years ago, we decided to seek a second opinion--not
from another western specialist but from a traditional
Chinese doctor. That decision saved my husband from
totally unnecessary kidney surgery. Here is his story.
In May 1998, my husband Marcello was on his knees
pulling at a 100-kilogram motor when he felt a twinge
of pain on the right side of his back. At first he
thought nothing of it. A few hours later he went to
the washroom where he began hemorrhaging blood while
urinating. He was rushed to the hospital.
Initially the doctors thought it was kidney stones,
but no stones were passed or revealed on X-rays.
Eventually the first of three CAT scans confirmed that
there was a large growth in my husband's right kidney.
Not once did the hospital urologist ever take into
consideration the possibility that Marcello may have
injured his kidney by overexerting himself. We
mentioned this possibility to him several times but to
no avail. In early July 1998, he wanted to book my
husband for surgery to remove the offending kidney.
Marcello asked that the operation be deferred until
after our planned trip to Europe in September.
My husband knew that for the last 25 years I had been
reading about herbs and alternative forms of medicine,
including traditional Chinese medicine. So when a
colleague recommended his own Chinese doctor, Marcello
lost no time in booking an appointment for the same
day. On a beautiful, sunny day Marcello and I entered
the Pao Sheng Clinic located in the Holiday Inn Hotel
in Montreal's Chinatown district.
The owner of the clinic, Dr Ching-Chuan Yeh, is a
Taiwan-trained practitioner of traditional Chinese
medicine. He has also worked closely with western
doctors, including pediatricians at Montreal's St
Justine's Hospital for Children. Dr Yeh listened to my
husband's story. Then he measured the pulse in both of
Marcello's wrists. He looked at his tongue, his eyes
and skin. Within minutes Dr Yeh declared that Marcello
had no cancer but said that he had damaged his kidney
and needed treatment.
The "growth" revealed by the CAT scan was probably a
clot of blood that the kidney had immediately produced
in order to protect the injured area.
According to the principles of traditional Chinese
medicine, the kidneys regulate the storage of
nutrition in the body and the use of energy.
Marcello's treatment would thus be two-pronged: the
first step would be to flush the "growth" out of his
kidney and detoxify this vital organ; the second, to
build up the kidney and the entire body. Dr Yeh
prescribed a two-week regimen of herbal treatments.
Every evening I boiled a bag of herbs containing a
combination of at least 14 different herbs, including
licorice root (Radix glycyrrhizae), myrrha and
Chinese angelica (Radix angelicae sinensis). The herbs
were boiled in eight cups of water until reduced to
three and then divided into three one-cup doses for
the next day, one dose to be taken after every meal.
Dr Yeh also prescribed herbal pills and a diet to
include more eggs and other energy-rich foods once a
week. For even though my husband was eating well
(all fresh foods, nothing processed, packaged or
frozen), his energy output was not being adequately
fueled. Every two weeks he would return for a
checkup and another two-week batch of herbs and pills.
As Marcello's condition improved, Dr Yeh would adjust
the prescription of the herbal formula.
Two Second Opinions
Shortly after my husband began taking the Chinese
herbal medicine, he decided to obtain a second opinion
from another western doctor, not being entirely
convinced that he did not have cancer. We found a
kidney specialist who basically deferred to the first
urologist's opinion, with the result that we left his
office feeling like we had been handed a death
sentence a second time. That same day we went for a
second opinion from another Chinese doctor. Without
revealing Dr Yeh's diagnosis or the fact that we had
even consulted one of his colleagues, we told him the
story of Marcello's kidney cancer. After examining
him, this second Chinese doctor also declared
that my husband had no cancer and even refused all
payment for the consultation. When we told him of the
impending surgery to remove the "cancerous" kidney,
he was simply horrified.
The score was now two western doctors who had
diagnosed cancer versus two Chinese doctors who had
negated this diagnosis.
For 10 months my husband drank the admittedly
terrible-tasting herbal tonics that I boiled every
evening. Almost immediately he began to feel powerful
surges of energy coursing through his body. Many times
he told me that he could sense the action of the herbs
working in him. During this time he endured two more
CAT scans and a second painful cystoscopy. Between the
first and second scans several months passed, yet
there was no telltale sign of cancer growth. Even the
urologist was forced to admit that surgery might be
Finally, in spring 1999, the radiologist who performed
the third CAT scan and compared these results with
the results of the first two scans declared that
there was no cancer now--or ever. The "growth" in the
right kidney may have been an old injury sustained
during Marcello's soccer-playing days in Belgium,
which years later was aggravated by overexertion.
Thus, after more than one year marked by grief,
anxiety and worry, western specialists finally
confirmed Dr Yeh's original--and correct--diagnosis.
Had we not consulted him, Marcello would today be
missing a kidney, and a healthy one at that.
Chinese medicine is more than 2,000 years old. It
treats the whole human organism, not just the affected
part of the body. It views everything in the
body as being interconnected. Thus, it is a truly
holistic system of medicine, even taking into
consideration such factors as the effect of
emotions on health. Chinese medicine also emphasizes
the prevention of disease as much, if not more, than
it does the cure. Traditional Chinese doctors are
skilled in pinpointing areas where serious health
problems may eventually crop up. And unlike western
doctors, Chinese physicians are all-purpose: you
consult only one, as opposed to the western system
wherein patients are seen by a general practitioner
and then referred to various
I would advise people who have been diagnosed with a
serious or terminal illness to seek second and third
opinions. That goes without saying. But to get a
truly global picture of their health problems, the
range of cures and prognosis, they should venture
outside the western medical system and investigate
traditional Chinese medicine with the help of a
Marta Olynyk is a translator, radio broadcaster and
writer living in Montreal. Her husband, Marcello
Orlandi, is glowing with good health.