By Carey Davidson
My annual mammogram fell during October this year, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and I am never more aware of my potential to develop breast cancer than I am during my annual visit to the radiologist.
While decorated with magnificent orchids, the office is not a place of warmth, prevention, possibility, or hope. This is a cold, clinical place of forms, wristbands, insurance information, no deodorant or creams and no reassuring conversation. A strange quiet can be felt in the air hanging heavy with wonder about the others in the waiting room. Who is here for a recheck? Who has to have a biopsy? Who has been told that cancer may have recurred?
I sit in my stiff chair decorated with synthetic pink and blue specked fabric and feign an air of nonchalance, checking my email, running through my to-do list for when I return to Tournesol. However, inside I’m not feeling effortlessly unconcerned. In fact, I am deeply mindful of my breath. I inhale light and exhale anything that’s not serving me as I engage my vagal nerve to release the impact of fear.
But everything about this environment and process kicks up fear for me.
That was Friday, October 7th. On the evening of Monday, October 10th I noticed a voicemail from the radiologist’s office. The woman’s voice asked me to please call her back so we could discuss my mammogram.
I waited until I could wait no longer and at 8:50am the next morning I called. The machine picked up since the office wasn’t open yet. “You’ve reached biopsy scheduling,” the woman on the machine said. And that was that. Tears flowed all the way from Grand Central to my coffee spot on 38th and Madison (would I have to give up coffee?) and up to my oasis at Tournesol (who would take care of my kids?). I took another breath and called again. I had to face this. There was no sense in putting it off.
“Hello. Radiology.” I informed her of who I was. She asked me to hold while she got my chart and then with a sprightly spirited voice she let me know the doctor wanted me to come for another sonogram of the left side. At that moment both relief and anger rushed in. Fear no longer had a seat at the table.
This is the routine I go through every year. I always have a repeat sonogram on the left side. So with fear subsiding and frustration rising I asked the woman on the phone if she was aware of the message on the recording. She was in fact and informed me in her cheerful tone that I could just ignore it.
Could you ignore that?
I went back for the sonogram and thankfully all was fine. I met with the office manager about the recording while I was there. She thanked me for bringing it to her attention and changed the message before I left. I hope this saves many more women from unwarranted extra fear and worry.
In my journey to creating Tournesol, I knew I had to shift this dialogue. The paradigm of fear-based medicine was producing stress and employing language that nurtured the growth of anxiety toward a “need” to medicate. Why were we so quick to prescribe pharmaceuticals even before examining the impact of our words?
With Tournesol, I built a home for care that empowers you and partners with you in the healing conversation. We are a place of peace and prevention and education.
Tournesol Truth #3: Words carry weight and influence your ability to heal. Period.
If I told you your body had a brilliant ability to heal, that there are several tools available to you that boost your body’s ability to thrive, that there are options other than those with devastating side effects, would fear recede for you?
If you walked into your doctor’s office and were treated as an equal, were given a whole hour to discuss your concerns, your goals and then co-created a plan of action, if you were given techniques that addressed all the variables that impacted your health, would you feel more empowered?
That’s what I’m about. That’s who I am. And that is a big part of why I started Tournesol.
You don’t have to give your power away to fear-based medicine. We can all have more control over our lives and over whole health, mind, body and spirit.
Is your current medical care empowering? Is it a peaceful place of prevention and education? If not, I think you deserve better. I’m curious to hear your thoughts. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll email you back.