First do no harm


Primum non nocere
What happened to “First do no harm” oath? Did it, along the long road of medical training, get replaced with ego and greed? I have been dealing with cervical cancer for the last three years. I have had quite a few unpleasant encounters with doctors as well as medical industry.

I guess I was naive at the beginning; thinking that doctors will do their best to fix you. I thought they would be much more careful when they make suggestions to you, unlike other businesses. At least they would show some basic human touch, try to comfort hurt souls, what used to be called bedside manner. What a mistake. The reality is not that simple. Within these three years I learned that cancer treatment is good booming sector! Indeed quite a powerful sector. Drug companies make money, clinics are spreading all over the towns, and doctors ego getting fattier by the hour.

I thought doctors were supposed to help me. Well, maybe not that much, I get it now. Since the last century the medical sector made quite glamorous achievements. There is no doubt about that. However the rapport between doctors and patients turn into almost surreal cases. The typical scenario in America goes pretty much like this:
Oh you’ve got cancer, what a pity. First you find your oncologist ( whatever your medical insurance can afford ) then he or she starts proper treatment for you. X amount chemo, radiotherapy in some cases surgery. If you are lucky and have money, you survive. If you did not have medical insurance, be aware your luck will run out very quickly.

Finding and seeing a good oncologist is a tough job. Then you really need to get ready to deal with god-like attitudes towards you. Please do not take it personal, they treat everybody like that.

9 months ago, doctors found out my cervical cancer was back. I was N.E.D for about 6 months. Two oncologist gave me the bad news, it is kind of ‘we are sorry to inform you, bla bla bla’. Were they sincerely sorry? I do not think so. Was I looking for sympathy? Not really. I have been realistic all my life. I did not go to see them to hear sugar coated news. I knew I had serious problem. When my oncologist mumble around my situation I said myself, OK I got to hear second opinion. In a week, I saw a female oncologist who works in an University hospital. She was pretty, kind but absolutely heartless. She shuffled around paper documents which was my cancer health report. She said without blinking to my face ‘even you get chemo treatment, most you will live one year’. I was speechless of her baldness. My husband nearly fell out of the chair in that tiny exam room. Let’s assume even that was true; what do you gain by telling this to the patient? Do you know the impact you are creating? If a person has tiny little almost impossible chance to live, you just killed it, right then and there. You are an emotional murderer, do you know that? Do you even care? Obviously not, if you did, you would not behave like that.
Let me put it this way, we are not machines! We are human. Not only we have bodies, we also have souls. I wonder what kind of justification do you create when you are alone thinking of a patient, you just told you will die x amount of days. Let me guess, if you do not tell this to a patient, they may sue you? Is that the case? Therefore you have to inform the bad news as it is, that is your job. Is that right? I got it; all the poisons you are giving the patient, all the dangerous radiotherapy might actually kill the patient, before the cancer, therefore you have to protect yourself. The clinic, the drug companies have to inform the person, they are not liable if you die under this treatment. Believe me I know, every single time I took and medication, I had to sign tons of paper,make sure that I am fully aware and I will not sue, neither clinic, not doctor, not drug companies. Do not worry your ass is safe with me. I will not sue you nor harm to you.
Because unlike you I am not a bitch! I also do not want to spend my valuable limited time on negative effort.
All I am really curious is; when did doctors lose of their human attitude? First of all, please stop pretending your are a god. No one is in charge of human life. Unless you have a gun in your hand, that is a different story.
Your precious statistics can predict an average person who has cancer will live that amount time. What about outliers? Are you going to ignore them? I am an outlier. I took quite heavy chemo therapy. Even though my oncologist warned me every single time I will have side effects, I had none. During 6 months I rode bicycle every night, ate no sugar at all, ate only heathy food, mostly high protein. I did not use pain killers, I learned how to think positive. I still ride 6.2 miles every day. I feel quite healthy. I work, I travel when I want to. You know why? Because I refused to believe god like attitudes. I refused believing doctors assumptions on me without even listening to me.
I do not quite fit their standard patient profile. I am aware of it. I am also fully aware of there is no magic pill. You have to make the effort if you want to have a life. I did, I am doing my best.
I also will never give the power to any doctor to judge me. My physical strength, my ability to achieve things, my will of life is unique. I am not just a statistical data on your chart. I am more than that.
Until you make an effort to communicate with me, I will not listen to your assumptions! I have every right to say that, after they force me to do CAT scan 3 times, just because they assumed I could have diverticulosis. I was not. They refused to listen to me. So why should I listen to you? I am sure you are aware there are many misdiagnose simply as a result of not listening to a patient carefully.
Try to be kind, not a mood killer. You are not above, we are both human. You may know your subject, I know my body. Why don’t you try to be even with me and focus on a solution? Team work always give better result.
Just because average person wants to get a pill, ( the more pill they take even better right? Did I miss something ? What are we living in Matrix world?) obeying the doctor prescriptions does not fix every situation.
It certainly did not in my case. Doctors should care about good nutrition, patients’ well being. An oncologist does not have know maybe too much about nutrition, however they can work with other doctors and patient. Cancer is a hard road to take. Instead of making their road harder try to encourage them. Just because some people seek for magical cure, there is no need to lower the bar.


Primum non nocere

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