At no time in our relationship has my physician told me that she feels it is a pleasure to care for me. Frankly, while I like her, I don’t expect that kind of emotion from my deadpan doc and given that most physicians usually have only fifteen minutes to spend with their patients during an office visit, it’s tough to create any more than a cursory, business-like bond.
With that, I was touched and surprised to watch oncologist Dr. Joseph Leach tell his patient, Rebecca Gladhill, in front of about one hundred strangers that “it is a real honor to take care of you” in what has been a twenty five year cancer battle for Rebecca. This admission was one of several wonderful moments that unfolded on a cold, cloudy Saturday afternoon in the Shakopee Minnesota High School auditorium. Dr. Leach and Ms. Gladhill were joined by Michael Bischoff of Minneapolis, who works with a Boston based group “Health Story Collaborative.” The event, one of several in the Shakopee area under the End in Mind umbrella, was an example of how intimate, honest, heartfelt conversations can be the most healing.
The Health Story Collaborative believes how we tell our stories of illness, loss and health matters deeply and can foster healing. Michael Bischoff, as a person living with advanced brain cancer, added his voice as an expert moderator who created an environment where Dr. Leach and Rebecca could freely share their life stories: background that gave the audience a window into how doctor and patient now interact. It was fascinating to listen to Dr. Leach admit that he struggles with the balance between honesty and hope…how he considers the best way to deliver the truth without taking away a patient’s hope.
What about your story? It’s unique. It matters. I hope you can find your voice and share parts of your story. It’ll put you on a path to healing better than any medication you can take. Watch this space for ideas!
Another event is scheduled that reflects the intimacy of the Shakopee gathering. The link to RSVP is here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/integrating-sacred-and-medical-healing-tickets-54432036687