Please, Let’s Keep Our Comments to Ourselves

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It was after I had finished treatment for breast cancer and was trying to put it all behind me. I had a doctor’s appointment unrelated to my cancer care. Of course, I updated my medical history with the cancer diagnosis.

I felt the doctor’s eyes as he looked me up and down and concluded with, “So you had a mastectomy.” It was an incredibly rude comment that can still rile me up years later. He could have simply said, “You look beautiful and healthy!” (Further insult upon injury is that I did not have a mastectomy to treat my cancer. Needless to say, I never returned to this doctor.)

Breast cancer is personal and not just because it is about breasts. Each cancer journey is unique with a myriad of decisions to be prayed over and made by the patient and the doctors together. Before commenting, remember that we don’t have all the information. We didn’t hear what the cancer patients heard. We don’t know what they are comfortable with and what terrifies them.  Let’s not judge them. Please, let’s keep our comments to ourselves.

Rather, know that there is plenty we can do as the list of needs is long for cancer patients. Pray. Encourage. Listen. Love on. Reflect Christ. As appointed stewards of God’s grace, we all have a gift that somebody needs from us today.

James 2:13b

Mercy triumphs over judgment!

1 Peter 4:10

Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.

 

 

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8 thoughts on “Please, Let’s Keep Our Comments to Ourselves

  1. I’m so sorry you had that experience. Knowing you, I bet you explained to the doctor or wrote a letter to him telling why you never returned. I hope so.

    The story reminds me of when I was newly expecting my first child. I had an appointment with a OP/GYN who would care for me during pregnancy and deliver my baby. But I had not yet been to see her in person. A week or so before my appointment, I started spotting. I called her office and the RECEPTIONIST told me, casually, “Oh, you are probably getting ready to miscarry. Just put your feet up and take it easy.”

    I was devastated and my husband took me to the ER immediately! I was told in the ER after examination that there was no evidence that I would miscarry and that spotting CAN be normal. Well, that baby is now 29 years old.

    I wrote a letter to the doctor — explaining what happened and why I would NOT be keeping my appointment with her. She wrote me back that as a result of my letter, her office procedures have been changed. At least maybe no one else henceforth was diagnosed by the receptionist.

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    • Oh Donna, I had not heard this story before. How sad that the receptionist did not realize the impact of her job or even simply her words. Proverbs 12:18: “Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” May we always choose to have the tongue of the wise.

      I am so glad that you made sure (to the best of your ability) that this would not happen to someone else. That is where I failed: I did not speak up. When the words came out of his mouth,I think I gave the doctor the benefit of the doubt. My first thought was, “Awkward!” It wasn’t until later that I became angry. I am getting better at using these types of situations as learning opportunities for the other person (and me). Boldness with grace in love can be a challenge. In BSF a couple of weeks ago, our TL shared, “Love without truth is sentimentality, Truth without love is harshness.”

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  2. I’m sorry you were hurt by this Doctors remark Debbie, I too have been hurt by unthinking or fleshy judgmental comments and actions and yes also from Health Care Professionals, of course some may have thought they were being helpful but they weren’t.

    I feel what Donna did when she wrote was good and I have done the same, it helps to forgive and heal hurt feelings but of course the results may not be as good as Donna experienced and I have found this to be True too but it will have left an impression that will be remembered and hopefully good will come out of it, if not for me someone else.

    We should never be afraid Debbie to express how hurt or upset we are, writing helps to do this too, even if we don’t forward it on, suppressing our emotions is what leads to resentment and to seeking revenge and even Mental illness, we do need to resolve them but yes we can have righteous anger for the evil we see or experience ourselves, Jesus did and so did Paul and others in Scripture.

    We also need to forgive and move on in Love like they did, even if those who have hurt us don’t apologize or correct what they have done wrong or they continue to do wrong, we remember they will reap what they sow but hopefully it will bring them to their senses and repentance, like it did the Prodigal Son and for this we pray.

    Christian Love Always – Anne.

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    • Annie, So true: to hang onto bitterness and unforgiveness can end up hurting us more than the wrong itself.

      You brought up the bigger and deeper issues. What do we do with our anger so that it doesn’t turn into resentment? We give it to God. His shoulders are big enough to handle it. We learn to forgive as we have been forgiven in Christ Jesus. We walk in love. We pray for the resolve to do this over and over. Good reminders and a challenge to live differently from the world.

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    • Carl… You are very kind. I do have a thick skin. 🙂 This incident made me more mad than hurt! I posted this because it reminds me of how we all need to guard our words.

      I remember sitting in a doctor’s office and the lady next to me asked if I had breast cancer. We shared the numbers for our breast cancer diagnoses and she followed up by saying that she was skipping the chemotherapy and going with natural supplements. Her decision was based on a number that was almost twice as high as the number I used to make my decision regarding chemo. I was taken aback, but thankfully, I had already the lesson that it was her choice. My comment was not necessary.

      Thanks for commenting!

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