Doctors saved my life…several times.  I have the utmost respect for my doctors.  However, through my medical problems, I have also seen some medical professionals who were too busy and didn’t take the time to really care for me (and when that happened I found a better doctor).  I have learned that my body is mine and I have the right to ask 1,000 questions if I need to.  I also feel that I have the right to learn and know about all my options for treatment.

When I first was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1993, I was shocked.  Cancer was not one of the many diseases in my family history.  No other woman in my family had gone through breast cancer.  I was confused and scared.  So I followed every direction my oncologist recommended.

Five years later my fatigue was EXTREMELY high.  I recently married Bill and he had full custody of two boys under the age of 3.  I thought my fatigue was due to becoming an instant mom, but the fatigue then was debilitating.  I just could not get enough sleep.  I was always tired and I was very concerned.  When we moved into a bigger house, my arms and legs were covered in bruises from moving boxes.  When the bruising did not go away, Bill said I needed to go to the emergency room. I went and unfortunately the young intern I saw completely missed that warning sign.  Excessive bruising can be one of the signs of cancer.  He said it was due to the fact that I had taken aspirin frequently during the move.  So I went back home.  A month later I saw my primary care physician who ran complete blood tests.  I had hairy cell leukemia.

After this diagnosis, I wanted information.  (Well, my first reaction was anger.  I had done so much spiritual work and personal growth during and after the breast cancer treatment that I was a bit pissed.  After all, what was this about??  I later learned which I’ll write about later.)

After the leukemia diagnosis, I researched everything I could find about the disease.  WARNING:  If you decide to learn as much as possible this way, please be in a strong, positive frame of mind before doing that.  There is a lot of horrifying information on the web, and I learned that some of what scared the heck out of me wasn’t even factual.  The web does have a lot of very helpful information, but there’s a lot of junk and incorrect info as well, so just proceed with caution.  I read, took notes, and then was able to ask my oncologist many, many questions.

I also talked to naturopathic doctors.  I talked to an M.D. who specialized in natural healing practices.  I talked to nurses.  I saw an acupunturist.  This time around I wanted to explore any and all options possible to cure the leukemia.  I learned about some less invasive treatments for leukemia, but after all my research, I agreed with the chemotherapy treatment.  There are really no guarantees with any treatment, but in my particular case, many of the alternative treatments may not have had any effect for years, if ever.  I could not live with the extreme fatigue any longer.

I knew that I needed the chemotherapy to fight my leukemia, and I felt much more informed this time around because I did my research.  I asked my questions.  I knew of some alternatives, and I then knew that chemotherapy was what I needed to do.  It was extremely important that I was informed as possible, so I could work with the chemotherapy and not be angry or scared during that process.  When I talk to doctors now, I ask questions.  If they use a word or phrase I don’t know, I ask them to explain it.  If they are recommending a particular treatment, I ask why they feel that is best.  I ask questions until I understand.

I was then a partner in my healing.  I also then didn’t feel like a victim.  Yes, I had a disease. Yes, I was exhausted, but I learned about what was happening to my body.  I learned what I could do to kill the cancer, and then what I needed to do to get my body, mind, and spirit stronger.

Decide to take charge of your health.  See your medical doctor, but don’t be afraid to ask questions.  If you don’t feel better, then ask more questions and be persistent to find a solution to your fatigue or other health concerns.  It’s your body and you can find a solution to feel energetic and healthy again.

Join the Conversation