Being a maverick isn’t easy.
I continuously face interactions that put to the test my resolve to live authentically — which equates to going against the majority.
My recent interaction with a Western medical practitioner proved that for the nth time.
I consulted with the breast surgeon who performed the partial mastectomy on me.
I wasn’t due for a follow-up consultation. My visit had to do with a scab on the wound. Nothing serious. I wanted to prevent the wound from getting infected.
During my last visit with her early last month, I told her about my decision of not going through any further procedures and treatments as she recommended.
As I shared here, what’s the point? I’m ready to go.
At the time, the surgeon was so supportive and respectful of my decision.
She recommended, though, that I should at least take daily medication. An anti-cancer pill which, naturally, has side effects.
Profuse bleeding. Thinning of the uterus lining. If the bleeding doesn’t stop, I will have to undergo dilation and curettage procedure. (“Raspa” in Filipino.) Yikes!
She said it’s a matter of weighing the risks. Risk of cancer metastasizing versus the danger of the profuse bleeding, et al.
During my visit last week, she asked about the pill.
“What is that?” was my immediate clueless response.
I had completely forgotten about what we discussed — including and especially the name of the medicine.
She was surprised — not pleasantly — to hear that I hadn’t been taking it.
I guess she was convinced that I would follow her advice to at least take the pill.
When the surgeon first presented to me the three options for procedures and treatments, she didn’t say anything about taking a pill as an option.
It wasn’t until after I had told her that I wouldn’t go for any procedures that she mentioned it. That taking the pill is the least that I must do.
I felt betrayed.
Why did she withhold the information from me? Why inform me only after learning that I wasn’t following any of the options?
Or might that indeed have been her intention? To convince me first of any of the three procedures, then inform me of the pill only when I decide otherwise — as what had happened?
I didn’t bother to clarify things with her. It wouldn’t change my decision anyway.
But I certainly didn’t appreciate the lack of transparency.
Either that or the surgeon had, in fact, forgotten about the pill! If so, whoa, what an oversight to commit!!
Either way, that bothered me. The feeling of doubt had been nagging me.
I recalled a couple of other instances where I felt that she didn’t hold me in high regard.
Like the “must be a short bucket list comment.”
I didn’t make much of her earlier put-down remarks and treatments.
But neither did I completely disregard them.
Feeling Dishonored and Disrespected
I reminded the surgeon of the side effects that she had earlier mentioned.
She once more reiterated to me weighing the risks and side effects of taking the pill versus not taking it.
To silence her, I asked for another prescription — I don’t remember where I placed the first one. I said I’d research about it — even if I wouldn’t.
“Please think about it….” She was almost pleading.
She must have sensed that I wouldn’t follow her recommendation — despite asking for a prescription.
Just before I opened the door as I was heading out, I quickly turned around and asked her, “Even if I’m ready to go?”
In case she may have forgotten, I reminded her why I wouldn’t take the pill — or opt for any other treatment for that matter.
“Oh, I don’t believe y…”
She was about to follow those words with “you” when she quickly corrected herself and continued instead with, “I don’t believe there’s really anyone who’s ready to go.”
Whoa! Like she’s God so sure of everything, in command of all her patients’ lives and fates, eh?!?!?
She made a mockery of my choice. The tone of her voice was full of sarcasm.
I felt dismissed, disrespected, and dishonored! (Here I go again with those interactions and energies aimed at dismissing and dishonoring me, eh?)
Why The Inconsistency?
The surgeon’s reaction is quite the opposite of how she responded last month.
What happened to the…..
“I understand, but I’m not condoning it.”
“I also wouldn’t want anyone imposing on me.”
“I wonder how many people of your age can say that they’re fulfilled.”
Where did all that go?
I swear. It was like a different entity had completely taken over her personhood!
Could it be pride, perhaps? Insecurity? Might she have taken it personally — my decision not to follow any of her recommendations?
She’s probably thinking along the lines of, “Well, I’m the medical ‘authority.’ She’s ‘just’ the patient. Why is she behaving as though she knows better than the physician? Why am I not able to convince my patient?”
Oh, I don’t doubt that she’s so much more knowledgeable than me as far as the field of Western medicine is concerned.
But it is still MY body. MY life.
No one can tell me, more so, dictate what to do with it or how to live my life — including whether or not to prolong it or how or when to end it.
She must have spoken to her colleagues in the medical profession who do not believe my choice.
They can’t wrap their prejudiced, medical, boxed-thinking brains around the fact that a patient can choose not to cure one’s illness or prolong one’s life. That a patient can choose to follow their inner prompting and guidance rather than that of someone else’s — theirs — an ‘expert’ and ‘authority’ at that of the medical field.
Hence, the surgeon’s change of heart.
The Incredulity Of My Decision
I know that my decision is unusual.
I’m quite sure other patients would be desperate to get cured. Add years to their life. Do whatever it takes. Whatever the cost.
I’m probably the first patient that the surgeon encountered who has chosen not to undergo treatments and especially for the reason that I had shared.
I’m sure she’s had patients who want to be cured and prolong their life but refuse conventional treatments and opt for alternative ones instead.
But to refuse treatments altogether?
So, yeah, I can understand how incredulous my decision may come across to her.
But that doesn’t give her permission to dismiss me and not respect and honor my choice.
I could have opted to stay longer to continue our conversation and convince the surgeon of my decision. To tell her that I didn’t appreciate how she wouldn’t respect and honor my choice.
But I chose just to smile — rightly or wrongly.
I knew it would be a pointless discussion. There isn’t any more convincing that’s necessary — on either party.
Will I Settle For Less — Again?
Here I am once more, being presented with the opportunity to give to myself what I deserve and say no to that which doesn’t honor me.
Will I settle for less — again, as had been my pattern which I have, in recent years, started to break and with much success, thankfully?
Or will I choose to turn away from scarcity consciousness, fully trusting and knowing that there IS a practitioner who is most aligned with my values and principles, one who will genuinely support me in my healing journey, and give me the compassionate care I deserve? You know, like my beloved acupuncturist.
I had been quite clear about my decision not to undergo treatments.
And with having felt dismissed, dishonored, and betrayed, I’m just as clear it’s now a call for changing surgeons.
I cannot imagine entrusting my health to a primary health care practitioner who cannot honor me, quirks and all. No can do. No second guessing. That’s a no-brainer.
As a maverick, I get to live life according to my preference. My terms. My rules.
Maverick or not, though, it is MY body. MY life.
And mavericks or not, may we all choose only that which is most aligned with our truth and follow our Inner Authority.
May we drown out the external noise and not succumb to the pressure from society and dance instead to the beat of our drum and sing to the music of our hearts.
And may we honor and respect each other’s choices — no matter how quirky or irrational we perceive them to be or how different they are from ours.
After all, only the concerned individual knows the inner promptings of their Soul — mavericks and all.