I wrote this email to a woman who posted her story about her journey with breast cancer. It was particularly tragic, because they had first found a lump when she was 35, but the mammogram and ultrasound came back saying it was ‘benign’. She said she knew there was something more to it, and was dismissed.
‘Oh, if they had only done a fine need aspiration…’
Two years later the cancer was ravaging through her body, then after many struggles and being declared ‘cancer free’, of course then the cancer came roaring back again a few years after that…
And in these in between periods of chaos, she kept telling the doctors something was wrong…she felt something was horribly wrong…
And was dismissed.
I feel that pain…I don’t know the pain of cancer (which sounds like the worst kind of pain imaginable), but I do know what it is like to be dismissed when your gut is telling you something is seriously wrong…and by being dismissed, things get much much worse…
It’s not that physicians are necessarily bad–Part of it is just the limitations of ‘modern’ medicine…when your blood work comes back normal, and your imaging studies come back normal, western medicine teaches — encourages and rewards — physicians to say ‘you’re fine’ — ‘the evidence says there’s nothing wrong’.
Evidence? What about the patient whose speaking. The one who came to you with a problem in the first place.
I think medicine will only get better when we start to take a step back, and admit ‘we don’t have the answers to many things’, and ‘maybe patients just feel things and we don’t yet understand why’.
In some future century, they’ll figure out there’s a ‘something wrong’ signal, because we all have one…they just have no idea how to measure it or quantify it right now, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t real.
So I wrote this woman an email, which was posted at the end of her blog post…I know she’s long past, but I wanted to write her, and thank her, for taking the time to share a heartbreaking story that began with a ‘benign’ ultrasound and a ‘benign’ xray, when she knew it was more than that.
Some say the spirits can communicate through electronics, and I hope they can.
Thank you Kirsti.
Begin forwarded message:
From: teddyleigh <teddyleigh>
Date: February 29, 2016 at 9:03:28 PM PST
Subject: I hope you are resting in heaven
Thank you very much for taking the time to share your story about your fight with breast cancer. Your grace and dignity under so much pain and pressure is very inspiring. You remind us that we should all trust our instincts about our bodies, no matter what the ‘experts’ say…as medicine is just as much art as it is science, we must all listen to our inner voice…
I admire the way you persevered–you never gave up, on life, on love, fighting the best fight you could for as long as you could until it was simply not possible.
I wish you all the best in the afterlife, and please know we here on earth remember your struggles and remember your heart ache.
Thank you for sharing–