Since my misdiagnosis, I’ve told the story many times. The surgery, the tests, the conversations with doctors, in particular the arrogant one, and getting the results of my third opinion. Often I am asked, "How did you know you didn’t really have cancer?"
I just did.
There were so many disconnects! I was told, most defiantly, "Two labs have determined your diagnosis. You have a rare, aggressive lymphoma, and you will die within six months without chemo".
But then my intuition kicked in. That little voice inside me represented a chasm between what I "knew," and what I was being told.
We all have that inner voice – intuition, instinct – call it what you will. Frequently I hear from other patients about their frustrating attempts to key in on a diagnosis, their possible dismissal by a doctor saying "it's all in your head," or their feeling that for any number of reasons, they just don't have the right diagnosis. Their frustrations are often triggered by their inner voices.
Other patients "hear" an inner voice, but it's not that they think something is wrong. It's that they don't like what they've heard. They find it difficult to distinguish intuition from wishful thinking. We all wish a frightening diagnosis would be incorrect!
But there is a way to use intuition, and to make sure it's not just wishful thinking. Here are some steps to take to help you distinguish between the two, and improve your outcome:
With or without blatant symptoms, you may have a "feeling" there is something wrong with your body. Perhaps your doctor has provided a diagnosis and suggested treatment, and you just "know" something isn’t right. Maybe your doctor is telling you there's nothing wrong, but you are afraid she is wrong. The temptation may be to ignore the feeling because it’s not obvious enough, or because you are in denial. The feeling may be one of fear, or you’ll feel yourself trying to push it away. Just knowing it's there can get you started in this process.