April 3, 2014

Last week I went to the doctor and found out my hair’s falling out. That was fun.

I mean the guy practically threw me out of his office.

When they don’t tell you to make a follow-up appointment after giving you 50 injections in the scalp, it might be a sign. But when you ASK if you should come back in 30 days (as is typical) and he says ‘if you want, but you should see Dr. X for a referral’ you know you’re in trouble. When does a doctor ever tell you that you can come back if you want, especially after you’ve been a patient who has had successful treatment for almost two years? Don’t they want my money anymore? I guess I should have seen it coming when he and his assistant couldn’t stop nervously glancing back and forth at each other with horrified looks after getting a glimpse of my bald spots, but isn’t this their job?


Here’s what I’ve learned about doctors the past few years: they’re either telling you you’re going to drop dead and prescribing a ton of pharmaceuticals, or rushing you out of the office before you can ask too many questions. Neither is particularly useful when all you really want is some bedside manner, a few answers and a flask.

Cut to Saturday and it was go to bed time when my friend Nancy texted me a high five for pinning this one:



















I met Nancy at a Bible study so decided I’d better call her in case she was having heart palpitations from my eff words. Turns out Nancy’s got cancer. She’s been battling that thing for over two years and the doctors told her that now that she’s finished radiation ‘what you get after 18 months, is what you get’ in terms of healing.

Is this phrase something they teach them in medical school? Because my doctor said the same thing to me when she handed down the prognosis after the stroke: ‘What you’ve got at the end of a year, is as good as it’s going to get.’ When I told my acupuncturist (who is a former OB/GYN) that, you know she said? ‘What?? Don’t you listen to her. She doesn’t know that. Every person is different. No, no, no you don’t listen to her. You focus on healing.’

And you know what? SHE’S RIGHT.

So when Nancy told me what her doctor said to her, it really struck a chord (and pissed me off). I immediately dismissed the idea and passed on what Birute had said to me adding, ‘Don’t give up on yourself. Don’t do that. I’m not giving up on myself and I am sure the hell not listening to any of the limitations they try to place on me. Nope, not happening.’   She was quiet for a second and then whispered, ‘Yes, that’s a good word.’



You know what, Nancy? You’re right, that IS a good word because it’s the truth.

Yesterday the accountant who did my taxes told me her mother got diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2009. Not only did she survive, she is alive and thriving. After the team of doctors removed the tumor, they told her she was a living miracle and had no idea how she’d pulled it off. HELLO!

A person’s will to live is something that can’t be measured and no one knows what we’re capable of. Frig, as I’m sitting here now I can say I’m pretty sure that I don’t even know what I’m capable of. Who knows? Maybe all my hair will fall out, maybe it will. But maybe it will all grow back, too. You can bet I’m doing everything in my power to make that happen: traditional medicine (if I can get some), Chinese medicine, prayer, meditation, earthing, diet, exercise (but not too heavy or it might trigger a headache that could trigger a stroke mmkay). Whatever I can do I’m willing to try, and I’m doing my best to stay positive and believe those good things are fueling my physical body and mind in the healing process. Don’t I owe myself at least that much?

So I guess what I’m saying to you is: don’t give up on yourself, no matter what you’re going through.

NB: I swear I didn’t mean for this place to become a bible on my ailments and issues, but oh well. I guess you get what you get and you don’t throw a fit doesn’t exactly fly over here.

You Might Also Like


  • Reply Erika April 7, 2014 at 8:16 am

    Amen, amen, amen!! Love this…and couldn’t agree more!

    • Reply This Free Bird April 8, 2014 at 12:22 am

      You’ve lived it, so you know it! xo

  • Reply Jen Panetta April 6, 2014 at 4:40 pm

    I can only imagine how frustrating the process is with the docs. The bottom line is, you have to be your own advocate for your health. The system doesn’t do a good job of it. And for your loved ones who aren’t in a position to advocate for themselves any more, it really highlights how involved family has to be in order to make sure stupid crap doesn’t happen to them. And yes, having a little bedside manner certainly goes a long way. Unfortunately, I think the personality that gravitates towards medicine and is really good at it may be the same personality that often struggles in the social skills department. And isn’t good at admitting that they don’t actually know everything. Blarg.

    You have been through a lot and it is great to see how you are energizing and touching all sorts of people. Thanks for continuing to share your thoughts and experiences!

    • Reply This Free Bird April 8, 2014 at 12:22 am

      I’ll admit I was a little hurt by his reaction. He didn’t have the answer (or any answers or even thoughts) and rather than just admitting that he tossed me out. When I finished feeling sorry for myself I understood where he was coming from, but still kind of sucked 🙁 Thanks for your encouragement, Jen. I don’t want to forget anything.

  • Reply lena April 3, 2014 at 6:57 pm

    I always just want to write Y E S ! Working through this with my mama recently–she was diagnosed with a charming but non-cancerous brain tumor that makes her dizzy and affects her hearing. It sure hasn’t been fun, but the single most important thing for her physical health is her mental well-being. Choosing to be well, feel strong and make progress is more effective than any anti-nausea prescription.

    • Reply This Free Bird April 3, 2014 at 9:11 pm

      Lena, I hope your mom’s okay and that they can do something to reduce the size of the tumor or possibly remove it. I’m so glad she has you and that she’s choosing positivity. It’s not easy, but you’re right – it is the best thing for her health, for all of our health. Thinking of her (and you).

  • Reply Katie April 3, 2014 at 6:39 pm

    Preach. I have to see the neuro ophthalmologist yearly because of the crap with my right eye. Every year I ask him what we can do so that I can actually USE that eye again, and every year he tells me he’s sorry, it’s as good as it’s going to get. You know what? That’s not good enough. I know I annoy the hell out of him but so what? I refuse to be told something negative about my body and my health and just ACCEPT it.
    Point being, you’re absolutely right and I 100% agree. You can’t give up. You just might have to figure out a different way of winning the battle.

    • Reply This Free Bird April 3, 2014 at 9:09 pm

      Katie, you’re a freaking solider. You’ve been on the frontal assault on those doctors for so long and are unrelenting. I think of you a lot when I’m tired of dealing with them and feeling down. It’s hard to stay positive and defend yourself but frig, if we give up on ourselves then what?? There has to be a better/different/more effective way. I wish you every good thing in the fight to regain the use of your right eye. Kick ASS!

  • Reply Closet Fashionista April 3, 2014 at 1:01 pm

    Ugh, Doctors! They can be so dumb! It really is true, if you want to get better, you will. You can make anything you want happen (well, maybe not anything – but you get it!)
    All these posts you’re doing lately are so inspiring and making me feel good about my life. Thankfully I have not suffered as you have so I need to stop complaining about the dumb things in life and enjoy it.

    • Reply This Free Bird April 3, 2014 at 9:07 pm

      I’m so glad they’re helping you to feel better about your life. That’s awesome! Sometimes I look back on the things I used to complain about and seriously want to slap myself. Slept in and missed a meeting, the blender broke, late for a flight? OMG get over it, Carrie. Even though this side is tough, it’s given me great perspective. If it helps you a little, even better!

  • Reply Erika ~Tiptoe Butterfly~ April 3, 2014 at 12:07 pm

    Carrie ~ no joke i sat at my computer on Monday and i wrote a little memoir of my life; i wrote down all kinds of things that literally only a handful of people know – i sobbed through the whole process – especially when i printed it out and read it aloud … anyway point of the story; without knowing it, i constantly said ‘i will never give up’ and ‘i will always fight’ – and no disease or illness will ever take me down – it was totally my subconscious that was having me write that …

    as i always say – YOU GOT THIS GIRL!!! .. it’s amazing how strong we ALL are

    {dont get me started on doctors}

    • Reply This Free Bird April 3, 2014 at 9:04 pm

      Erika, that must have been so therapeutic for you. Even the stuff I know that you and your mom have gone through – it is deep and difficult. But you guys are both still in the game and so am I. So good to have you on my side!! xoxo

  • Reply Ruthy T. (@DiscoveryStreet) April 3, 2014 at 3:57 am

    This is why I (mostly) loathe western medicine. I’ve had issues dr.’s couldn’t pinpoint for years who kept throwing drugs at me. Eastern medicine/natropathic medicine and JESUS is what healed me.

    • Reply This Free Bird April 3, 2014 at 4:26 am

      Yep, I’ll take answers/solutions any way I can get them!

  • Reply Danielle April 3, 2014 at 2:03 am

    My mom has had non Hodgkin’s lymphoma for 10 years. She *should have had way more flare ups than she’s had and is way overdue for one now… But no signs of any. Reminds me daily that anything is possible.
    Love u friend.

    • Reply This Free Bird April 3, 2014 at 4:25 am

      I think about your mom a lot, Danielle. Hearing stories like hers is very encouraging. Thank you. xo

    Leave a Reply