“The word ‘patient’ comes from the Latin word pati, which means both ‘to suffer’ and ‘to allow’ or ‘to submit.’ In today’s world, medical patients are not necessarily expected to suffer, but they are expected to allow or submit. Having worked as a counselor at various hospitals and oncologists’ offices, I know firsthand that the patients who listen and follow instructions are considered ‘good’ patients, while the ‘annoying’ patients are those who ask a lot of questions, bring in their own research, or—worst of all—challenge their doctors’ orders. Such patients are labeled annoying because most of the world still operates from the Newtonian mind-set of medicine, where doctors are seen as the only ‘mechanics’ who know how to fix the ‘machine’ of the body when it breaks down.
Radical Remission survivors approach healing from a different perspective, where taking control of your healing is not only considered good but is actually essential for the healing process. From what I have learned, taking control of your health involves three things: taking an active (versus passive) role in your health, being willing to make changes in your life, and being able to deal with resistance.”
This Idea struck me like a lightning bolt when I first read it.
I never knew what the word “patient” literally meant. Did you?
To recap: The word “patient” comes from the Latin word pati which literally means “to suffer” and “to submit” or “to allow”?
REALLY? Pause. Reflect. Wow.
Then I thought to myself, “OK. What’s the opposite of ‘submitting’ to something?”
Then it hit me. The opposite of meekly submitting to something is to CONQUER that thing. As in, to CONQUER cancer. Not submit to it. To CONQUER it. Period.
Then, for whatever reason, I thought of the best-selling cancer book The Emperor of All Maladies. From what I’ve heard of this 571-page book, it’s a beautifully written book by a brilliant (and earnest) Rhodes Scholar/MD who practices at one of the leading institutions in the world. It is, essentially, a biographical history of our struggle against cancer with, essentially, cancer as the protagonist.
To put it bluntly: It’s about the Emperor-Cancer CONQUERING US as we weakly submit to its authority. I don’t buy that storyline.
I’ll read the book at some point but I haven’t read it yet as I’ve been more focused on helping my brother (and you) conquer cancer than paying homage to cancer’s ability to conquer us.
Part of a longer philosophical chat but if you and/or your family are fighting cancer, I HIGHLY recommend you start with the shorter and more practical intellectual overview: Tripping over the Truth. The main difference? The Emperor of All Maladies is written from the perspective of a “genetic theory” of cancer. Guess what? From that vantage point, we LOSE the battle and submit to cancer’s infinitely complex wrath. But… When we look at it from the metabolic theory (a la Tripping over the Truth), WE assume the role of Emperor and conquer cancer.
Ahem. Back to this idea. It’s from Chapter #2 which is all about “Taking Control of Your Health.”
It’s REALLY (!) important we don’t just “submit” to the doctor’s orders. Which, frankly, I’d actually be willing to do if what they did was a truly integrative, effective solution that delivered the most healing benefit with the least quality of life cost. But IT DOESN’T.
Ahem again. Kelly unpacks three basic ideas in this chapter: 1. Be ACTIVE rather than passive; 2. Be willing to make some (often radical!) changes in your lifestyle; and, 3. Cultivate your ability to deal with the inevitable resistance you WILL get from the medical establishment and family/friends who think anyone who wears a white coat is nearly as omniscient as God. (Like this.)
In short, be willing to be the “annoying” patient. Don’t submit to cancer and/or your doctor’s “authority.” Be the CEO of your own cancer care. Conquer.