Monday, May 15, 2017

Parable of the Cancer Patient

by Kimber Albrechtsen

Doctor: You have cancer.

Patient: It is impossible for me to have cancer.

Doctor: Who gave you that idea?

Patient: It's just a fact. I cannot get cancer.

Doctor: And yet you have the symptoms of cancer, and all tests reveal the presence of cancer in your body. When I look at a normal cell, and one of your cells, there are gross differences.

Patient: My cells must simply be superior. That explains the difference.

Doctor: But your cells are not performing their required functions. Your bodily processes are impaired and struggling.

Patient: [lifts arms] Look at my arms! They work just fine. See? No cancer.

Doctor: Perhaps the cancer hasn't spread to your arms--that's good news. But that doesn't change that there is still cancer in several other areas of your body.

Patient: Why are you so critical? Have you taken offense at something I've done?

Doctor: No...

Patient: Maybe you're just lazy, then. Cancer is an easy diagnosis. Maybe you rely too much on google.

Doctor: I assure you, I entertained all other possibilities before confirming my diagnosis. I take no delight in informing you that your case is so serious.

Patient: You're wrong.

Doctor: Do you have any information about your body that I don't?

Patient: It would take more than a lifetime to understand all the intricacies and marvelous mysteries that govern how my body works!

Doctor: Perhaps, but in the meantime, I will operate according to proven medical standards and texts until such intricacies and mysteries provide a more plausible explanation. It would be irresponsible and negligent on my part to delay treatment in this case.

Patient: I don't need treatment.

Doctor: The cancer has spread from your brain to your liver, stomach, lungs, and more. You will die without treatment. It may even be too late...

Patient: I don't have cancer.

Doctor: You've been coughing up blood.

Patient: Perhaps an isolated infection...but not cancer. It is impossible for me to have cancer.

Doctor: Your saying that over and over does not negate the fact that your body is riddled with harmful cells carrying damaged DNA. They are wreaking havoc on the rest of your body.

Patient: I have excellent DNA.

Doctor: I have no doubt that you once did. But things have changed...

Patient: For the better! My body knows what's best.

Doctor: Your body is failing.

Patient: You don't have the authority to tell me that. Your schooling must have been subpar.

Doctor: Whatever you think of my credentials, the truth is self-evident. You're losing weight, experiencing seizures, vomiting blood...I'd even classify your delusion about being immune to cancer as a cancer symptom, and that's likely what led to your cancer remaining undetected for so long and progressing so completely.

Patient: I don't have cancer. I'm too special to have cancer.


Patient: I'm very, very special, with a very special destiny. More special than anyone! More immune to cancer than anyone! In fact, everyone else has cancer. You have cancer!

Doctor: Do you have any evidence to support that idea?

Patient: You have cancer because you think I have cancer.

Doctor: That makes no sense.

Patient: It doesn't have to! Put it on the shelf, doctor!

Doctor: I'd rather not. I take cancer very seriously.

Patient: You think I don't? I take this very, very seriously.

Doctor: And yet you won't acknowledge the obvious effects of the cancerous lesions on your brain, the tumor nearly hidden under your shirt collar, the--

Patient: I won't hear any more of your lies! I don't feel good when you talk about these things, and everyone knows that you can tell if something is true or not by how it makes you feel.

Doctor: That is completely illogical.

Patient: Makes perfect sense to me. Probably because I'm older and wiser.

Doctor: You're certainly older, and you have cancer.


Doctor: Your brain looks like swiss cheese.

Patient: STOP IT.

Doctor: Your abdomen is full of tumors.

Patient: SHUT UP. SHUT UP.

Doctor: Your organs are failing, and you will die.


Doctor: Alright.

Patient: You must know... [struggling for breath]... I say that with love.

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