I am so upset about the story I just read in PULSE - Voices from the Heart of Medicine. It's dated May 16, 2014, and called Collateral Damage.
I didn't want to get out of bed his morning Finally I realized that Pulse story is still in my mind. It reminded me of a short film created by a doctor I was once lucky enough to meet and talk with. It was called Patton, MD, and it was about doctors who want to solve everything by cutting.
It reminded me that I take Tamoxifen and there's a tiny chance I may need hysterectomy some day. And it told what can happen when we're too overwhelmed to really hear scary answers to our good questions--about side effects, about after effects, about how we will be after surgery. And questions about what can we do instead.
The most important question wasn't asked. We should never leave home without that one: What's the phone number of a doctor I can ask for a second opinion!
When we are overwhelmed, we can't hear alarm bells ringing in our heads. Can't hear little wise warnings our experience, our instincts give us: "There is something wrong here: This doesn't sound right! I've never heard of so much surgery! This sounds like overkill!"
After a surgery, we may not feel like suing; we may think the only problem was the surgeon didn't listen. We may be even more overwhelmed than before. But in fact, her surgeon gave plenty of evidence about not giving a damn for her or for his mistake. And her primary doctor doesn't count as a second opinion.
If you've had cancer, if you fear cancer, if a woman you love has cancer, please read that Pulse story and think about what to ask doctors. I use the plural intentionally. Yes, her experience may scare you. No, it may not happen to us. If it doesn't, it may be because we asked the right questions, like: Who's a good doctor to go to for a second opinion?
I wish you health. And caution.