What if someone would have told them?
The other day I had a consult with a family who had a mother dying of cancer. They came to me in desperation; she was in stage 4 cancer which had metastasized. They were sent here by a practice member who knew we could help. After consulting the husband and daughter, they were so eager to get started…they knew if nothing else she would be comfortable in her last days.
They had been through so many obstacles in the medical model. They had felt so hopeless, so defeated. They had been arguing with the hospital and hospice about what to feed her, how to make her comfortable, and what steps to take next. They came to me seeking support if nothing else. They told me, I was the first person to listen to them and not just hear them. I saw the glimmer of hope in their eyes because someone saw how precious this woman’s life was.
I set an appointment to go to the hospital and see her the beginning of the week. We were able to cut through the red tape that exists when someone is in hospice and we had the majority of family on board with significant education. Driving to the appointment I received a call; she had just passed the night before. Tears immediately filled my eyes as I asked myself, “What if?” A million “What ifs?” crossed my mind.
You see where I gain my passion is from losing my mother to cancer. She was diagnosed just 6 months after the birth of my brother; the weekend of my second birthday and passed within four months. Now, it is important to understand that my mother was under the care of a medical doctor for 3 years while she was pregnant. My brother and I are Irish twins born a year and a half apart, so the entire 3 years she was seen on a regular basis by a physician. But, when she was diagnosed everyone was blind sided and in their opinion it was “too late”. She died of a rare cancer which completely invaded her reproductive and digestive system.
For the time period my mother lived what most would consider a “healthy lifestyle”. By that I mean she took vitamins, ate healthy, and walked regularlt. My mother did the best with what she was taught by her MFTP (mother, father, teacher, preacher). Yes, she could have taken all areas to a greater level but she definitely did more than most. One avenue my mother never traveled was down the road that lead her toward the chiropractic lifestyle. While I am not certain, I don’t believe anyone ever introduced her to chiropractic; no one ever shared their story or “the” story with her. Don’t get me wrong their weren’t exactly screenings in the late 70’s and early 80’s (which was when she and my father began their life) so hearing the message would have had to be from a friend. And having talked to my grandparents who now get the importance and own the story and lifestyle of chiropractic; they didn’t known or they would have done things differently when raising her.
Also, remember at that time chiropractic was being sold as “pain therapy” and not wellness. My mother had no pain until December of 1981 and passed by April 1982. As we know, pain is not an indicator; it’s only 10% of a nerve with 90% being autonomic and motor function (45% each). My mother had no idea she was “subluxated”. This is where education is so important. People really don’t know and for years we really didn’t tell them. We have a lot of work to do to continue to educate and also to re-educate individuals. It is a task I feel our profession is up for and each day doing more and more to complete the task. And each day it is our responsibility to do a little bit more to continually grow.
I can’t help but always think, “What if someone would have told her? What if she knew what I knew?” Would I have been vaccinated? Would I have been adjusted the day I was born? Would my mother be watching me live the life of my dreams?
So, receiving that call last week I couldn’t help but think the same things, all the “What ifs?”
I am sharing this personal part of my life, the passion that drives me, to impress upon the importance of educating and empowering everyone that you meet. I don’t tell this portion of my life as a “story”, stories don’t propel us; I am sharing my passion with you to inspire you. What is your passion? What drives you to serve at a deeper level? I challenge you to be present time conscious and realize that everyone deserves to know, they are ignorant unless they are educated. Then they decide.
My purpose is simple “To Ignite”. If after reading this email, I have ignited in you something that causes you to engage more than I have fulfilled my purpose.
This like much of my life is dedicated to the spirit of my mother which lives through me and in me.
Love ya kid! Congrats, you are lighting candles, rather than cursing the darkness! Keep it up!!!
This is what fuels all of us, to varying degrees — the awareness that there is a better way, and that it’s up to us to help people understand how to participate. I always feel compelled to say I’m sorry when I hear stories like this one, not to anyone in particular, but I’m just sorry that sometimes I don’t have the personal power, the drive, the persistence to get up one more time and tell the truth — and then, like you, I remember that there is someone whose mom or child or best friend is dying, and who is supposed to help them if I don’t? Keep doing it, Martha — like with the starfish, it matters to that one.