Just My Imagination – Running Away with Me

Just My Imagination – Running Away with Me
Receiving the news I needed a biopsy was the first time in my life that I had to deal with the possibility I had a life-threatening disease. For a doctor, telling someone they need a biopsy is a regular occurrence. For the patient receiving that news, it’s both traumatic and life changing. When you receive the news you need a biopsy, it’s highly unlikely the medical system will acknowledge or address the emotional needs of the person receiving this news. I was totally unprepared to cope with the possibility I had prostate cancer. I left the doctor’s office in a daze. I couldn’t believe it was possible to have a potentially life-threatening disease, without any symptoms or warning. On my first night, my imagination turned against me. I spent a good deal of my sleepless hours reliving how everyone I knew who was diagnosed with cancer had died. I had a host of people to remember, both personally and professionally. As a medical social worker, I witnessed people die from cancer in a hospital setting. Most of these deaths occurred before the hospice movement. In pre-hospice days, most doctors would not provide adequate pain control. In those days, the primary medical objective was to avoid creating drug dependency, rather than eliminate pain. I suspect that’s the reason every cancer death I could recall involved people who suffered a great deal before they died. I replayed their suffering multiple times. After wallowing in those gruesome images, I inserted myself into the story. I imagined it wouldn't be long before I'd be one of those people in chronic pain, dying from prostate cancer. Unfortunately, most of the people I knew who’d been diagnosed with cancer had died within a year of receiving their diagnosis. From my perspective, a diagnosis of pros
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