This is a long awaited follow-up to my post about my crummy experience back in September with a new neurologist. I like to phrase things as “long awaited” to make it seem like people have actually been standing by with bated breath. Maybe you have! Or maybe you’re reading this because you’re bored and looking for some entertainment while eating your lunch or sitting in a waiting room while you get an oil change. Either way, I’m going to break it down for you.
If you’re new to the scene, feel free to check out my previous post to catch up. To summarize, I had a doctor look at my MRI scans from seven years ago and tell me that he expected to see my Multiple Sclerosis deteriorate by now to the point of me losing my function to walk. This man who had never met me and didn’t know jack about me sauntered into a room and told me in the first minute of my appointment that he was surprised that I could still walk. It still absolutely infuriates me. I’d like to start a petition for a semester or two in medical school to be spent on lessons of compassion.
Needless to say, I broke up with this doctor immediately. I took my updated MRI scans to a much more loving soul and met with her for the second time this week to review everything. For the record, I have some new lesions in my brain and spinal column since my last scans seven years ago (to be expected) but more importantly, some of them have healed and/or gone away completely. She really wanted to focus on the new spots and I really wanted to spend more time reviewing the fact that I’m a damn miracle but whatever.
Ya know, she seems like a wonderful person but I don’t plan on seeing her very often and I flat out told her that. Why do you ask? Because it’s depressing. It’s depressing to go and sit in a waiting room surrounded by disabled people who share your same disease like a reminder of what could unfold. It’s depressing to have to do a gait test where they time how long it takes you to walk from one end of the hallway to the other to test whether or not your ability to walk is slowing down. It’s depressing to use a bathroom with a pull cord that you can use in case you need help when you’re on the toilet. And it’s sure as hell depressing to have a doctor rattle off for you the 1,000 miserable, life altering things that might happen to you if you don’t take the disease modifying drugs that they suggest.
Here’s the thing- I walked down the hallway in 5 seconds. I don’t think that qualifies me for the Olympics or anything but it’s a damn good strut. I can get on and off the toilet just fine. I don’t have those 1,000 miserable, life altering things happening to me and I sure don’t want you filling my head with those terrible ideas. I am not burying my head in the sand. I sure as heck know what this disease can do and it’s not pretty but I refuse to give up control of my life. What kind of sick care system do we have where practitioners fill your head with every awful thing that could happen to you if you don’t follow their advice? I’ve been living in this body for 37 years. This body can do incredible, magical things. Have you seen me floss? Ok I don’t know how to do the floss but I’ve tried! Seriously though, I am strong and I am thriving and not because I’ve let my head be filled with the thoughts and ideals of their worst case scenarios.
Listen, folks, the real expert here is you. The only one who knows what’s healing and what’s hurting you is you. I absolutely believe in modern medicine and have the utmost respect for medical professionals but at the end of the day, your thoughts matter and how you approach your wellness matters greatly. The placebo effect works for a reason, right? Have you heard of the nocebo effect? The idea is that if you’re given a pill and told of it’s negative side effects that it’s enough to bring on those as real life symptoms. In other words, what the doctor says can have an extremely powerful effect on people. Words matter.
My choice is to continue to seek my own healing through diet, movement, alternative therapies, happiness, joy, friendship, love, meditation and on and on. I will see the doctor when it’s called for and I will kindly remind them that my approach is one to be respected because after all, I am a freaking miracle.