Last week, I had a follow-up appointment with my doctor. I have these appointments 3-4 times per year to gauge my progress and continue to tweak my treatment plan to best serve me and my healing.
The nurse leads me into the room and asks me what my dominant symptoms are to tell the doctor, before he comes in to meet with me. I smiled as I told her, “I don’t have any dominant symptoms. I’m feeling really good.”
She smiled back at me, took her time to really look at me, and replied, “That’s so good to hear.”
The doctor and I talked about my most recent lab results, how I’ve responded the last several months to new medicines, new IV’s, and adding in new foods. We talked about how this summer with the high humidity should be different than last year, and yet I told him that I feel like I can tell how much difference these medicines have made by the time summer hits.
The entire 1/2 hour conversation was mostly about how I’m feeling–not what my test results say. And as we were talking, this calmness came over me. I was having a collaborative conversation with my doctor, where we were talking about my “subjective” feelings and they were validated over a number on a lab. We talked about how I can adjust some medicines based on how I feel, because I know how to honor and listen to my body.
As I was leaving the room to go wait for the doctor’s notes in the lobby, he said, “Congratulations!”
The images that flooded my mind as he said that were of the dozens, even hundreds of people who have been a part of this healing journey with me. From friends & family, to healing professionals, to strangers–it truly does take a village.
And, I have worked really hard. Sometimes I shy away from saying that because I’ve been conditioned to feel like that’s arrogant. But it’s not.
And sometimes guilt sets in because I am a young privileged white woman with access to resources that many people cannot even fathom.
Yet, I’m learning to sit with those feelings and just observe them. And still say, “I’m healing & I’m worth it.” And I have persevered and persevered and persevered. And I deserve to feel good.
Hearing “congratulations!” from my doctor at first felt a little out of place. But then I paused, took a deep breath, and let the impact of his words sink in.
When he first saw me, I was on the brink of quitting my job. I had just been sexually assaulted by a doctor. I was exhausted and barely making it. He has seen me through unemployment and multiple moves and black mold exposure and starting my own business.
So “congratulations!” meant “You’re making it!” but not only that, “You’re beginning to thrive!”
And he’s right. I’ve not only gone through a lot of external changes, but I’ve done a lot of inner work–and the combination of a lot of hard work over the last several years–is a greater level of health and wellness.
I’m grateful for how my inner and outer work has changed my life, for my people who have journeyed with me, for simple encouragements that stop me in my tracks, cause me to take a deep breath and smile.
Photo courtesy of Serge Estege on Unsplash