Sunday, January 27, 2008

Had I Followed My Gut...(cont'd)

Considering that I get emotionally charged after I read my January 5, 2008 entry, I thought it best to let you know how I feel about the whole thing.

Initially, I was furious. The notes written by my Colo-rectal doctor, who examined me and diagnosed me, stated that the doctor who diagnosed me with hemorrhoids (4x), followed a "very conservative approach." I think we can all read between those lines. As angry as I was, I was also clear that once I found it in my heart to forgive him, I would be free from all the judgment and anger that only poisons the mind. And I was also clear that I was no where close to forgiving this guy.

My Gastroenterologist (the doctor who did my colonoscopy) is a colleague of my doctor and said he was certain my doctor would be very upset when he found out that I had cancer and he had missed it. I asked my Gastroenterologist if he would talk to my doctor and be certain that he understood the gross error he made so no one would ever have to go through what I was going through. As time went on, I chose to believe that he must have felt terrible for his incredibly bad judgment. It only angered me to think otherwise and being angry for a prolonged period of time not only provided nothing positive for me and my family, but is indeed an unhealthy way to live - physically, mentally, emationally. So, I chose compassion for him as the first step toward forgiveness.

Not long after I returned home from the clinic, in my frustration from being so tied down, I left the house and went to a movie (I actually snuck out when Daniela wasn't looking!). On the way to the movie I stopped at a local health food store on the outskirts of town and guess who walked in? My doctor. I looked at him - didn't recognize him at first and went back to what I was doing. It suddenly hit me who I saw and I whipped my head back to confirm who I believed I saw. At that moment, he dropped his head and quickly walked to the back of the store. So I waited.

He eventually headed for the exit by which I was intentionally standing - his head facing the ground. I called to him, "Hey, Doc" and he stopped and said, "Hi." I said, "I want you to know that I know your intentions were my best interest. I would like to have had this conversation sooner, but as you can probably imagine, it's been very difficult for me and I just wasn't ready to come speak to you." He stared at me expressionless - eyes in a glaze - no movement whatsoever. I asked him, "You do know who I am, right?" He quickly replied, "Yes, I know who you are. How are you feeling?" At that point my insides went into knots and my emotions shot out of control in my mind. "I'm doing quite well," I said. To which he quickly said goodbye. I bought some organic apples and went out to my car.

I would like to point out I am clear there was a lot I could say in that moment. I decided it was best that I keep my mouth shut as opposed to saying something I would regret and only end up "cleaning up" later.

As I drove out of the parking lot I screamed profanity - just a single word - as loud as could come out of my mouth. I could not believe that he didn't even acknowledge the smallest - even teeniest - bit of remorse for his gross oversight. I didn't care that to do so could incriminate him. I wanted humanness. I wanted to be looked in the eye and given the courtesy one provides another when gross oversight results in real possibility of death. And, in all seriousness, I am clear that was a tall order. Even more importantly, it was an expectation of another to live by my values which will almost always result in my disappointment. But in that moment, I didn't care.

Can you put all your fears and concerns aside, look me in the eye and honor me with integrity? I guess not...

I believe him to be a good person even if his error was terrible. And I believe it is his own eyes that he must look into each morning and know that he said nothing to me - that his integrity is "out." I believe that as his children grow and he teaches them honesty and integrity, deep in the back of his mind will exist the knowledge that he passed up an opportunity to put his integrity back "in" when he saw me - not once, but twice. Yes, I saw him a second time from across a room and he said nothing. And you want to know what? My thoughts about his experience of this are quite romantic and poetic even. And for all I know, he saw his error, washed his hands of it and took his wife & kids to Ponderosa for All-You-Can-Eat Shrimp Night.

What do I know? Sometimes I'm angry. Other times I am simply glad it was not me who made such a profoundly significant error. When I am operating from my higher self, I wish only joy, health and peace of mind to all who exist. That's a tough place to be when Death himself lurks in the shadows of my existence. Fortunately, I have no plans to meet him in any time soon.


  1. Burt,
    Out of all your entries on this Blog, I hope that "Had I Followed My Gut.." ends up in a future book that you publish. Right now I am sitting in my hotel room crying like a baby over this posting. This is so well written that I felt like I was there with you during this time. I felt the anger,outrage and saddness, but more importantly the compassion.

  2. Wow... simply wow. Your fighting the natural, instinctual, knee-jerk reaction, and instead summoning up such generosity of spirit, leaves me humbled and amazed. In sharing this, you've helped me see how petty I can be over trivial, meaningless things, and how consciously adopting a "high road" attitude is truly healthier and better in every way. I'm certain that your choice has helped your recovery immeasurably - and it demonstrates what an extraordinary person you are. Thank you.

  3. Reply to bubel & cindy:

    Thank you for your comments and to all of you who support me. Your words and support provide great encouragement for me to take on my life beyond what is ordinary. I am very clear about that!

  4. I ran into your site from my stats page. What you have written, mirrors so much of how I felt. I was so angry. I had been vaginally bleeding for months and was seeing my gynecologist for months. I had a bump that she removed that came back showing I had HPV (Sept 2009). From various other ailments, I am immunosuppressed so like most of the population that "grow out of HPV" in a few years, my body couldn't. She did a procedure that removed the lining of my uterus which should have stopped the bleeding. It didn't. I am immunosuppressed due to Rheumatoid Arthritis. Around that time, at 41, I was faced with a choice of a total left knee replacement or a hysterectomy. I talked to my gyno and asked if it was ok to put off the hysterectomy so I could do the knee replacement. She said it would be no problem and the hysterectomy could wait. So, in Feb. 2010, I chose to do the knee replacement first even though I was sick of bleeding, I was more sick of walking in constant pain. In May 2010, I had a hysterectomy. She wanted me to stay in the hospital for two nights and I begged for just one night. She relented. She called me the next evening around 5, she was in tears and told me I had cervical cancer. I was dumfounded and mad at her and myself. I knew better - I had been fighting arthritis for 15 years and knew you have to be your own advocate when to comes to health issues. I have never seen or spoken to her since - I have accepted the cancer after many sleepless nights. Between the doctor not pushing me to do to the hysterectomy first, I wasted 9 months of being treated for cancer. I am a single parent of now 12 year old triplets and I have to live for them. I was furious - I had to let go of the anger. I was lucky that it was Stage 2 B and had not spread to my lymph nodes. I am in remission now. But I have had to have numerous procedures to laser away precancerous cells. Keep up your fight and may you stay in remission. You will be in my prayers.