Monday, March 01, 2010

Life, death, and reflection

I'm still here! BUT I will say that this semester is harder and more crushingly exhausting than the last. Which was harder and more crushingly exhausting than the previous semester. And so on, and so forth. So I am only just emerging from the pit of despair and exhaustion that I created for myself with this change in schedule.

Anyway, so much for fate. I haven't had any infertility patients since I last posted. Weird. But that's OK. I'm building up my confidence, reviewing my acu point locations and needling skills, and generally mostly enjoying it all. When it all comes together, I will know my way forward and what I am supposed to work on. Or maybe I'm not supposed to specialize. There is, after all, something profound about helping someone who is in pain. Whether that is physical pain or emotional pain. It's all very amazing to see someone get off that treatment table looking relaxed and saying that they feel better.

We are doing a lot of "western" medical stuff this term at school. And we've done some recent work in different classes on cancer and also on respiratory diseases (among many others). Now, for me this has been hard, and yet eye-opening. My mother died from lung cancer at a very young age, and yet she was not a smoker. One of the pieces of anger that I'd carried around for many years is that she was initially misdiagnosed. I mean, when a 37 year-old female non-smoker walks in with a chronic cough, I don't suppose your thoughts would immediately go to a not-terribly-common-but-aggressive form of lung cancer, would they? No, indeed. And her doctor's thoughts didn't go there either. She was sent away twice with a diagnosis of bronchitis before they realized what was going on, as she was going downhill so rapidly. I knew this, and while for many years I have known that I shouldn't have expected anything else, and that this really wasn't malpractice or anything but just the expected course of events, there was still this anger that perhaps she'd have got better if it had been picked up earlier.

Now I know differently. Now, learning this stuff on cancer, and her cancer in particular, I know for certain that she would be dead by now whatever happened. At most, she'd have got a few more months. Maybe a year or two if a miracle had occurred. The 5-year survival rate is abysmally low for that cancer, even with the best treatments. Even now, 30 years after this all happened, it is very hard to treat. This was a nasty, nasty cancer. They could not have prevented her dying.


That's that. It's kind of horrible to learn, and yet that little bit of anger is evaporating. She was destined to go. We couldn't have done more, and perhaps it was better to go so quickly and not draw things out.

'S funny. I never thought that going to acu school would do these things for me. And yet, it is changing me. Day in, day out, there are changes going on inside of me. And that is something to be grateful for.


Almamay said...

I'm so sorry. I didn't realise you lost your mum when she was so young. You must have been very young yourself. Big (((hug)))

Good to hear from you. I know you are busy. I miss your posts but that is me being selfish.

Peaches said...

Glad to see a post from. School sounds quite difficult but it sounds as if you are enjoying the journey

Calliope said...

feeling horribly guilty for somehow missing this post.
but WOW. That is a very huge revelation. And sad. But mostly huge.

I miss you...