March 2019

What They Don’t Tell You

Meg Lindsay ~

After 10 days in a hospital
you regain the ability
to walk albeit with a cane so I put the commode
out in the hall as you are laughing a bit more,
the gleam back, but the chemo starts
and the next morning again pain
in your ribs and sternum
and now it burns
in your chest and again you
can’t make it up the stairs.
A spasm and your body folds into itself,
into the sign of the crab.

The Gift of a Lie

Dad’s official death certificate lists “pancreatic cancer” as the cause of his death. His physicians determined this diagnosis after deciding that Dad had insulinoma; they reached this conclusion through a process of elimination after a long series of tests and after examining his symptoms. Specifically, Dad had extremely low blood sugar, causing him to descend into coma-like states where his mind suddenly shut down, his wobbling legs failed to bear his weight and his overall state-of-being deteriorated. The “cure” was to feed him protein and liquids every two-to-three hours, including throughout the night. Dad and I had many deep conversations at 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. as he ate his peanut butter sandwich and drank his milk or orange juice.

An Editor’s Invitation: Telling the Truth

To me, there’s something sacred about honesty, and telling the truth is one of the things that attracted me to the healing professions. Inside an exam room or a therapist’s office, any magic that happens arises out of honesty: We talk about what’s really going on in the body or in the soul. We acknowledge our fears. We say things that, in the telling, bring us relief.

The truth can be painful. I know. I was once given the diagnosis of type 1 diabetes. But what stung more than the truth itself was the way in which that truth was delivered to me–in a waiting room, by a receptionist.

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