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Sunday July 21, 2024
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Seek medical truth, enjoy your life

Dear Editor,

Does your doctor make you feel good? Does he or she tell you what you want to hear just to make you happy? If so, you probably should look for another doctor. 

No one enjoys leaving the doctor’s office feeling bad. We don’t want to hear, “You need to change your lifestyle.” We don’t want to hear, “You need to cut way back on your sugar intake.” We enjoy our habits. Habits are hard to break. My wife’s grandfather loved smoking. He wouldn’t give it up even after numerous cancer surgeries. He died at age 65. 

A friend died recently. She died from what is often called fatty liver disease. Six months before she died, she told me she was terminal. She said, “I guess I drank too much alcohol throughout my lifetime.” She went on to tell me that her family doctor two years prior had said her issue wasn’t severe and that she didn’t have to worry.” She was very displeased with her doctor’s passive attitude about her condition that would soon take her life. 

Another friend of mine was diagnosed with prostate cancer. His doctor’s approach to his condition was that, “They would watch it. When it became worse, they would do something about the cancer.” They watched it and they watched it kill my friend. Within a year it was out of control and had spread outside his prostate. The doctor’s relaxed attitude about a serious situation did not go well for my friend. 

Many doctors want to make you to feel good. Of course, we don’t want a doctor whose goal is to make us feel bad. Typically, they don’t want to lose you as a patient. Still, they should diplomatically tell you what you may not want to hear. 

Keep in mind the doctor ordinarily knows more than we do. However, you do know how you feel. Be aware of your family history. In this information age you have to do some self-study. There is a lot of information on-line about most conditions you are facing. You have to research thoroughly though because often you can find whatever response you want on the Internet. Ask your doctor questions about your research. Tell him or her that you want to make good choices. Be willing to travel to another town if your doctor refers you or seek out someone who might be able to provide the care you need. 

The bottom line is we have to rake personal responsibility for our health and do the best we can do. Even when we do everything, we can think of to do, these bodies are subject to disease and death. 

Richard Thousand is with the Taussig Cancer Center at Cleveland Clinic. He was recently talking to me about the many medical advances made in recent years and noted more are on the way. He then said something I had only heard my dad say many times, “Glenn, we aren’t going to get out of this world alive. From the moment we are born, there is something that is trying to kill us. Eventually, it’s going to happen.” 

The bottom line is do the best we can with the information we have. Be diligent. Be thorough. Seek the truth from your doctor.  Finally, enjoy your life, we all only get one. 

Dr. Glenn Mollette

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