What to Do If Your Doctor Drops the Ball on Hope

Healthy Survivors know how to find healing hope. Let’s look at what you can do if you hear things at a doctor visit that make it difficult to feel hopeful.  First, Amy’s story.

Amy, a young hair stylist with debilitating pain, wrote an unsettling short essay, Shock Treatment. In it, she describes how Dr.Lee warmly introduced himself and said, "I would ask how you're feeling, but hardly anyone comes here unless they aren't okay." Amy felt hopeful Dr. Lee would not say the pain was in her head, as did the first three doctors she’d consulted.

Amy felt increasing hope of getting useful answers while Dr. Lee did a thorough exam and asked more questions. Then he stated definitively, “You have Ehlers-Danlos.” At last, a diagnosis!

Amy describes how her hope quickly slipped away, beginning with Dr. Lee explaining,  

I wish I had better news for you, but there is no cure…There isn't even any treatment. The best I can offer you is a Percocet prescription…." His voice was neutral--remarkably devoid of its previous sympathy. Now that the medical mystery was solved, Dr. Lee seemed far less interested in me…. "Well, there's nothing else I can do for you." He stood up and took a step toward the door.... "There won't be any need to make another appointment…the pain will never improve."

In my next posts, I’ll suggest steps you can take in such situations to find healing hope – namely hope that helps you get good care and live as fully as possible. You’ll see why the diagnosis sets you free, even if it hurts when you learn it. [click here to read Amy’s story, Shock Treatment]

Illustration by Emma Mathes (from  Healing Hope—Through and Beyond Cancer )

Illustration by Emma Mathes (from Healing Hope—Through and Beyond Cancer)

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