The Importance of Honesty : My CancerToday I'm going to stand up for my doctor. A couple of days ago, I wrote about what he said while being interviewed in the chemo room. A number of you wrote in to say that you
Today I'm going to stand up for my doctor. A couple of days ago, I wrote about what he said while being interviewed in the chemo room. A number of you wrote in to say that you thought he was wrong to say anything like that. What he said was, "The cancer is going to kill him." Yes, it was shocking to hear that again, but it wasn't anything I hadn't heard before. I think my doctor was right to say that.
First of all, he had my permission to talk about my case, so he wasn't violating any patient/doctor confidentiality. That's not the major issue here. What he said the other day is what he told me almost a year ago when I was diagnosed. And he's right. Absent some amazing breakthrough or miracle, the cancer is most likely what is going to end my life. I think that's more likely than my being hit by a bus or something like that.
What I appreciate the most about him is his honesty. I guess he could have tried to sugarcoat the news — somehow lessen its impact. But that's not what I wanted then, and it's not what I want now. I want to know what is happening to me, and what my doctors and nurses think will happen to me in the future. I don't want them to use euphemisms or hide any part of the truth. I want it out there, straightforward, no messing around.
Hiding the truth or diluting it in any way doesn't help anyone. I know he's right, and I came to terms with that a while ago. That doesn't mean I'm giving up. I'm not. But one of the things I've learned from all this is just how important honesty is. I don't have time to play games. I have other things to worry about. I expect honesty from the people I love. I expect them to tell me when they're happy or sad or something in between. In return, I will be honest with them, even though that can be difficult sometimes.
And thinking about this, I realized something else, too. Even though my doctor said the cancer will kill me, he's not giving up, either. Neither are my nurses. And neither are any of the other patients who were in the chemo room that day. So am I glad he said what he did? I wish it wasn't true, but it is. He was right to say it. He wouldn't be my friend — or my doctor — if he had done anything else.