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Summer 2006 | Volume 29, Number 3 | Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

THANK YOU FOR YOUR STORY on collaborative care [Holistic Healing]. Like the Wilson family featured in your article, we too have a daughter affected by infantile spasms. Our daughter’s diagnosis and subsequent trials of medications and treatments with dangerous side effects left a serious toll on us financially, spiritually, and physically. It is difficult for family and friends to truly understand the daily effects of living with a child with profound developmental disabilities. We became isolated, both physically and emotionally, because of our daughter’s condition.

When families face a catastrophic illness, the physical, professional, and emotional maze of issues to wade through adds further pain and confusion. Collaborative care, from our perspective, is essential to treating the effects of illness on the whole family. We were very encouraged to hear of SPU’s program and hope that hospitals and medical practices will quickly come to realize the benefit of offering such services.

Christie and Eric Riehl
Salem, Ore.

AS A STUDENT IN THE pre-professional health science program at SPU, Sarah Jio’s spring article “Holistic Healing” caught my attention. I wanted to address a certain bias from the student perspective about what makes “good medicine.” As Americans, we’re conditioned to favor allopathic training (Western medicine, antibiotics and drugs as a panacea for all illness) over the naturopathic (herbal) or osteopathic (emphasis on musculoskeletal/holistic patient care). And I will admit, there are naturopathic doctors that stigmatize the field. When I worked at a clinic that served Tent City last year, I encountered a shouting match between a retired allopathic physician and a naturopathic doctor over how to treat a little girl’s ear infection. The naturopath wanted to put garlic in her ear. Ever since then, I admit, I began to assume that conventional medicine was far superior. In the case of an infection, you just can’t argue antibiotics versus garlic.

Then I met Dr. Wayne Centrone, a naturopathic physician who runs a clinic in Portland, Oregon, for homeless youth. A devout Catholic, he was the first doctor I’d encountered who so overtly allowed his spirituality to inform his treatment. Even the most well-meaning of doctors, when examining a drugged-out prostitute will bring quiet judgments to their approach. Yes, they will perform the exam, interpret the lab work, and prescribe treatments to alleviate symptoms. But abscesses from drug needles, sexually transmitted infections, or alcohol poisoning can be mere symptoms of a much deeper illness. In this sense, allopathic medicine seems to be the “easy way out.”

Dr. Centrone, however, had the training to assess emotional and social symptoms as well physical symptoms. Moreover, he treated each patient with respect, compassion, and dignity, and never pitied them. He made no assumptions about their personhood, except one — that each had inestimable value and deserved the most tender care he could give. In my eyes, Dr. Centrone’s approach makes him a living vessel of the true Healer, the doctor that is willing to cross socioeconomic and academic boundaries and unite the spiritual to the scientific in the face of the quiet dualism that continues to haunt our health care system. He is a model for those of us who aspire to be good Christian physicians.

Rachel Ellis
SPU Senior, Seattle, Wash.

Adam’s Fight for Life

I JUST RECIEVED MY NEW Response today and was absolutely moved to tears and blessed by the story on Adam Jennings’ fight for life [Adam’s Story]. We have known the Jennings family since I was little, and to see them go through so many challenges yet cling to God’s hand was awesome and inspiring! Praise Him for Adam’s healing and his and Jamie’s new life ahead.

Alyssa Ritter Morgan ’99
Snohomish, Wash.

A Country Doctor Trend?

I WAS PARTICULARLY TAKEN with the article about Doc Raney in Sultan [Country Doc]. What a treasure for their community. I’ve shared the story with several people. It followed on the heels of a focus in the February/March issue of Country magazine on the “country doctor.” Seems there’s “something in the wind.”

Your Response periodical is always encouraging, thought-provoking, and enlightening. Praise, also, for the culinary program FareStart [Ingredients for Life] — very exciting.

Thanks again for your excellent publication.

Lorraine Minshull
Bothell, Wash.

THANKS FOR DOING THE article on Doc Mark Raney. I thought you did a great job of capturing him. I especially loved the quote about being on hallowed ground at a patient’s death. He really means that. Last time I talked with him was at a funeral for a mutual friend. Not many doctors go to their patients’ funerals. He cares so much for his work and people.

Mark was a great help two years ago when my son, a student member of the Celtic Society at SPU, planned the Celtic Fair on campus. Mark had lots of contacts and got his whole family of talented Celtic musicians to help out. They provided the bulk of the entertainment that day. It was loads of fun and so great for the students to connect with an alum in a totally different setting than they usually do.

Thanks again for such a nice article on another SPU graduate who is making a big difference in his corner of the world. I don’t think “engaging the culture, changing the world” was the school slogan when Mark was there, but he embodies it in his life anyway.

Gretchen Wilson
Sultan, Wash.

Inspiration in La Conner

WHAT A GREAT SPRING 2006 Response, but we were especially delighted with the article “By the Book” featuring John and Sharon Connell (SPU grads of 1971) and “The Next Chapter” bookstore. This being our fourth year living in La Conner, we can attest to the fact that their bookstore in this town is, indeed, a retreat — even when we pop in every single week. Not only have they become close friends, but they, in their winning ways, have inspired us to also get involved in serving this community. Sharon and John give themselves tirelessly to everyone who comes across their path, always giving a listening ear and a willingness (if they’re not swamped with customers) to engage in discussion — no matter how big or small the idea. The best thing is … their personal interest in people is not contrived; it comes from the heart, and that makes all the difference.

Leona Spurling Nelson ’64 and Wes Nelson ’63
La Conner, Wash.

Remembering “Miss Weter”

AS A FORMER STUDENT OF Winifred Weter [Weter Legacy Lives On], I’ll always remember that she made a point of having us call her “Miss Weter.” Although she had earned her Ph.D, she told us that she was not a medical doctor and that prefix should be reserved for physicians. Miss Weter was a stickler for “getting it right,” and she would look over those half glasses at us with her piercing eyes, which also were usually filled with a humorous twinkle. Miss Weter was extremely serious about the importance of Greek and Latin, and she was fiercely independent. She would sometimes get exasperated at us for not adequately preparing, but at the same time she understood just how difficult Greek could be. She pushed us, prodded us, encouraged us, and chastised us. Yet, my classmates certainly remember that she had the most marvelous chuckle and laugh.

Miss Weter also shared her personal beliefs with us. This was an incredible experience for me, and I will always remember how passionate she was. She helped me learn to think about the importance of my life, and how it related to others and to God. We all had great respect for her. She commanded respect.

Years later, in 1987 when I was a prosecutor, I saw her at the Historical Court House in Pacific County. Instantly, I was 20 years old again and her student in Greek class. She was one of my great mentors in college and that would never change. I thanked her for all she had taught me and how valuable her instruction had been in my life. I’m sure I speak for all of Miss Weter’s students when I say she was a great woman, a brilliant and caring professor, and a magnificent mentor.

Mike Sullivan ’72
Superior Court Judge, Pacific and Wahkiakum
Counties, Wash.

A Contagious Love for Life

THOSE OF US who knew Bill Rearick [RearickRemembered as a Renaissance Man] and were affected by him will miss him very much. He was good, if not downright excellent, in so many areas — teaching, administration, mentoring, and cooking, just to name a few — but the joy and enthusiasm he brought to these activities is what I will remember most. While professional in every way, his “amateur” approach, meaning literally for the love of doing it, was catchy and his smile genuine as he invited you to learn, think, or just hear his latest idea on something. Bill’s high standards and professionalism would be good enough to be remembered by, but his passionate, contagious love for what he did will be the mark he left most on me.

Don Corson ’70
Port Angeles, Wash.

The Falcons Shine

SPU BASKETBALL IS a hidden gem in the Seattle-area sports scene. Where else, for about $7 a game, can you get center-court seats, 10 rows from the floor, and see a great game of basketball night after night?

I have been an SPU basketball fan since attending the school in the early ’90s, and my wife, an alumna of GNAC rival Central Washington, has become a big SPU fan as well. It has been fun seeing Tony Binetti’s growth in talent and leadership from his freshman year through his All-American senior season, and seeing Dustin Bremerman fulfill the potential he showed as a freshman. Hopefully the Falcons will be able to repeat last season’s success, but it is guaranteed they will provide a season of exciting and entertaining basketball for fans.

Greg Lancaster ’93 and Jolene Lancaster
Seattle, Wash.

Life Lessons From Coach Holmgren

THANK YOU (and Greg Askimakoupoulos) for the great story tracing Mike Holmgren’s life and coaching career [Spiritual Lessons onVictory and Defeat]. It provided a rare opportunity to see the many influences that have shaped this man that most football fans only know from sideline camera shots and post-game interviews.

It was impressive to learn that frequently during his coaching career, crucial decisions were made on the basis of what was best for his family — this in the professional sports industry, where the rule too often appears to be, “win at any cost.”

It would seem that in his comment about success, Holmgren’s phrase “it’s not about the Super Bowl rings” echoes the words of the apostle Paul: “Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.”

More than just a story about a sports celebrity, this article conveyed some powerful life lessons for all of us!

Ken Lottis
Mercer Island, Wash.

“Esprit de Corps” at SPU

I was deeply appreciative of receiving Response for the first time. The coverage reflects the vision statement of President Eaton: “Can a university change the world?” With your professionalism and skills depicted in Response, I can’t wait to receive my next copy! Without a question, SPU has created in the present an impact in the global world. Response reflects an “esprit de corps” in all aspects of university life.

Robert D. Kroeze
Corona, Calif.

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