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Author Interview: Mark Mallardi

Today, Feathered Quill reviewer Barbara Bamberger Scott is talking with Mark Mallardi, author of I Love You More...To Suzanne, from Mark: A Couple Battling Cancer Confronts the Sordid Reality of U.S. Cancer Care.

FQ: Have you considered offering your book be offered as a manual for workshops or gatherings focusing on alternative medical methodologies?

MALLARDI: While I myself do not have a medical degree, in the course of battling cancer over the past two years, I’ve learned a great deal about Eastern versus Western approaches to cancer care. In particular, I’ve gained significant awareness of the existence of Alternative, Fully Integrative, Whole Body cancer treatments that are readily available elsewhere in the world, but have been prevented from operating in the U.S. This knowledge could, in fact, be incorporated into a manual or workshop on Alternative Medical methodologies.

FQ: Why do you think so many "Western Medicine” practitioners are against alternative medicines?

MALLARDI: My theory is that most doctors, including most Western medical doctors, are good people who are well-intentioned in their careers. They start out genuinely wanting to help people and to do well by humanity.

However, the unfortunate reality is that U.S. medical schools are so grossly expensive that many doctors end up hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt upon graduation. If you started your career hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, you wouldn’t be inclined to buck the status quo once you started in your profession, as your chief concern would be establishing yourself in your field and paying down your debts.

The same is true of doctors. They start out in their profession, meeting with patients and prescribing the prescription drugs that are the mainstay of U.S. Medical care – what they call “a pill for an ill” – and abiding by all of the treatment protocols they were taught in medical school, which are very “drug-centric”.

They may or may not agree with certain treatment protocols, but they abide by them because they’re in the vulnerable position of just starting out in their careers and being deeply in debt. Therefore, they prescribe what they’re told to prescribe, perpetuating the deeply flawed U.S. cancer model.

I’ve actually had a medical professional for whom I have great respect reveal to me off the record that she often feels that “she’s asked to prescribe drugs or treatments that she’s not convinced may be appropriate for that patient”. However, because she feels “trapped in the system”, she follows protocols and doesn’t “buck the system”.

In addition, I believe that many U.S. medical professionals are at fault for not exhibiting the Empathy, Humanity and Hope that U.S. cancer patients so desperately need.

FQ: Have you garnered success thus far in your efforts to introduce alternative healing methods into the official American medical realm?

MALLARDI: I’ve had the occasion to speak with innumerable people over the past two years, including many cancer patients and their caretakers, and have received almost unanimous agreement with the positions I’ve taken on what I consider to be the tragically flawed state of U.S. cancer care.

From the outset of my cancer crisis, I’ve posted every aspect of my own (and my wife’s) battles with cancer on my social media channels - Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. I’ve followed a policy of full transparency, showing every treatment we’d been subject to, the effects and side effects thereof, etc.

The outpouring of support I’ve received over my social media channels has been amazing, with virtually everyone I’ve known in my entire life, both personally and professionally, reaching out to me to signify their concurrence and their support.

The reality is that every family is touched by cancer, and there are a set of universal truths I’m espousing to which every family touched by cancer can relate.

I’ve also had a large number of people contact me after seeing my posts on social media, reaching out to learn more about the various treatment protocols I’ve undergone, and to ask for introductions to the various Alternative cancer treatment providers I’ve encountered, such as CHIPSA Hospital in Tijuana, Mexico.

FQ: Do you think getting alternative medical methodologies taught in medical school courses on a regular basis, and not get just a cursory mention, so upcoming doctors have a better knowledge of alternative options, would help get these methods accepted and more importantly, perhaps, used?

MALLARDI: For real change to occur in U.S. cancer care, it is my belief that what’s called for is an insurance company to step forward and start insuring Alternative cancer treatments, such as the way that USAA specializes in insuring military veterans and their families.

The reality of the U.S. medical system is that it is the insurance companies who dictate to the medical professionals what they will and won’t cover, which means that your medical care is, in reality, in the hands of your insurance company, as opposed to being in the hands of your doctor.

Your doctor is often prevented from prescribing a prescription drug that could be helpful to you, solely because the insurance company has made the determination that they won’t cover that drug. This exact thing just happened to me this week, with my medical plan determining that they won’t cover one of the two cancer drugs I’ve been taking for the past six months, thereby putting me at great risk.

If a major insurer would step forward and agree to cover Alternative cancer treatments, that would be the game changer required for substantive change.

FQ: What would you hope for a reader of this emotive, informative book to take most to heart?

MALLARDI: If you or one of your loved ones or friends receives a cancer diagnosis, please know that you are not alone, you need not be terrified, and there is Hope. I Stand for Hope.

FQ: Do you see in the medical practitioner/facility/patient interaction the possible development of something akin to a physician-priest?

MALLARDI: Yes, in fact, I was treated by a Qi Gong Master in California whose abilities included detailed knowledge of anatomy and physiology combined with deep Spirituality/Faith.

FQ: Could you envision a documentary film based on your experiences to inspire viewers to press for more alternative medical solutions in the case of cancer and other life-threatening conditions?

MALLARDI: Absolutely. In fact, an international documentary filmmaker has expressed interest in this story, and a dear friend of mine, a business colleague of many years, who is very well connected at Netflix, is in the process of setting up a meeting for me to introduce this story to the Development Team at Netflix.

FQ: Have the experiences detailed in your book led you now to focus almost entirely on the issues you raise – by such means as speaking tours, meetings with like-minded organizations/individuals, and other, similar activism?

Yes, I have been almost single-handedly committed to this cause since the death of my beloved wife, Suzanne, from liver cancer in December 2021. With the recent release of my book, I’m seeking any and all interview opportunities, speaking opportunities, readings, lectures, Q&A sessions, collaboration with like-minded organizations/individuals, etc.

FQ: Do you have plans for more writing of a similar nature?

MALLARDI: I’m considering writing a book on “Generational Grief,” a reflection on the way grief runs through a family generationally, with perspective drawn from my own family.

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