A Revolution in Medical Language that Promotes Healing
I’m writing this after attending a funeral Mass last week for a 42 year old, GORGEOUS, AMAZING, Wife and Mom, that died of cancer this past week. The thing that struck me most is how her husband talked about her positive attitude, her decision that she would live, how she was not defeated by this disease and how positive the overall feel of the Mass was. It was truly a celebration and not a dramatic, traumatic event. It made me hopeful and inspired and I hope that Laura would enjoy the following post and agree with it.
I often talk about the power of the mind. I’ve seen women in labor, who can stop their labor from progressing, simply because they’re afraid and their mind isn’t allowing them to progress. Have you ever thought of an old friend, only to have them call you out of the blue? I believe that you thinking of that person sent out an energy and made them in turn, think of you. Our minds have power over our bodies, I am convinced of that.
Let’s take it a step further and say that our thoughts create our reality, very Louise Hay. She’s the First Lady of the power of the mind and I fell in love with her back in my early 20’s. Her BIG, infamous, claim to fame, being her book “You Can Heal Your Life.” It was the first book that I picked up and thought, my life will never be the same! It’s that lesson that if you constantly say, I can’t afford it or I will never have any money, you will never have any money OR if you believe that no one will ever love you, you might be single forever. You get the picture. The truth is whatever you feel, say and believe is often what will be.
I want to segue here and talk about medical language, not medical language like I learned in school, not the Latin roots of medical terms but the LANGUAGE that Doctors use with patients, the LANGUAGE that patients use to describe themselves and their disease. In today’s America we go to the Doctor so often, many people once a month if not once a week. Our Physicians and what they say to us have a major effect on our lives and how we feel about ourselves. Doctors have the power to tell us whether or not we’re “healthy,” they tell us when we’re “depressed,” they even have the power to say whether or not we’re “terminally ill.” When I was a child, we went to the Doctor for a “check up” and shots and I have to say, that is the ONLY time that I remember going to the Doctor. I only saw my pediatrician once a year. I also remember believing and knowing that I was healthy. It wasn’t called a “well child visit” it was a “check up.” They now call them well child visits because they’re so used to seeing sick children that it needs to be classified. At this point, most Americans are heading to the Doctor, the ER, the urgent care, CONSTANTLY. If they have a fever, a sore shoulder, a little nausea, they feel depressed, you name it, they are going to the Doctor. The Doctors let them know that it’s necessary to run blood work, get an MRI, do any myriad of tests to “rule out” something more serious. Now the patient is not only hurting or sick in some way but now they are awaiting test results. It’s very doom and gloom and negative.
We now identify ourselves by our disease and we make excuses for our diseases. Let me give you some examples of quotes that I hear from patients daily. “ My name is Jane and I have fibromyalgia.” “Hi there, my name is Jake and I’m an alcoholic, well, I have an addictive personality in general” “ Hi there Kasie, my name is Betty and I have Lupus, I was in a car accident in 2011 and I have 2 herniated disks at L4 and L5, I’m also going through menopause and having a horrible time.” Jane, Betty and Jake both forgot to say, how are you, they forgot to smile, it almost seems that they have forgotten everything except the name of their DISEASE, what prescriptions they are currently taking and when their next Doctor’s appointment is scheduled.
If you were sick, let’s use the example of “The Big C,” let’s say you’ve heard the word and been told you have it. Now, if you walk around telling everyone, including yourself, “I have Cancer, I have been diagnosed with Cancer, I HAVE CANCER” I’m guessing you’re not feeling very positive, very happy, I’m guessing you’re not LIVING at all anymore. When you walk around not only saying those words but thinking them, it effects your spirit, your life, your ability to LIVE. I mentioned earlier that I attended a funeral last week, my favorite moment at that service was when Laura’s husband said that many people had no idea how long she had been struggling because she didn’t tell everyone, she didn’t want to be identified that way or have people worry about her. I LOVE THAT!! I have no doubt that this allowed her to enjoy her last days of feeling good so much more, she had herself convinced that she was going to beat this and live and it allowed her to continue loving her son, doing her beloved projects around the house and believing that she was healing. I have another friend named Mark who died recently of ALS. It’s such a horrible disease and he lived for 14 years after his diagnosis, 14 years is a LONG time to live with ALS!! However, he always told me that he pictured himself as a Lion, roaring inside, HEALING and I believe that this thought process extended his life and allowed him to continue experiencing joy for so much longer.
I want us to think about how Doctors say things to us and how it effects our healing. I want us to really think about it. If you go into the Doctor for all of the required CANCER testing and they say, the numbers for such and such are higher, or the tumor is bigger, now you walk around telling everyone, “I’m not getting better, it’s getting worse, my tumor is bigger” I believe there must be a better way for Doctors to relay information and a better way for us as patients to handle it .
I WANT A REVOLUTION! I want to see Doctors learn this in Medical School, the language of how to encourage healing instead of the language of pathological despair. How about when a Doctor finds a cancerous tumor they say something like “We’ve found something that we want to treat and this treatment is intended to heal your body.”
I picture a patient heading in for a chemo treatment but not calling it chemo, instead saying, “today, I’m going in for a beautiful treatment that is intended to heal my body.” Maybe while they’re running your IV full of chemo, they play a guided meditation on your headphones telling you that you are healing, that you are healthy and that your body knows exactly how to function in the perfect way. Watch for a future post about guided meditations, love them!
In this revolution that I speak of, you walk around saying “I’m in the process of healing, I’m being treated and I’m improving.” I believe that if Doctors and Patients took on this revolutionary way of thinking about disease and talking about disease, I believe that success rates of healing would improve. More importantly though, I believe that the patients could be more like Laura and Mark and BELIEVE that they are healing and thereby enjoy their limited time on this planet, that much more.
I prefer to say, feel and believe that I am healthy and that my body functions perfectly. If ever I sense an imbalance in an area, I will start, not finish, but start, by getting Acupuncture, getting a massage, getting an adjustment, taking some Vitamin D3, SMILING.” If none of that works then, maybe, then, I will go to a Doctor but I want that Doctor to tell me that I am being healed and treated ( like a treat, like dessert) instead of being labeled with a syndrome and tested by pictures and numbers that prove that I am sick. No thank you. I don’t want pictures or numbers or names of syndromes to prove and show the world that I am sick. I want to smile and believe that I am well, for the rest of my time on this Earth.