It’s been a little quieter on the blog. I’ve been jumping back into being me as much as possible. That means loving people, cooking, tackling a project here and there and…finally doing my radiation simulation (it was delayed) AND doing a little physical therapy.
Physical therapy has proven to be a little more challenging because of the emotional aspect. It’s a trigger for me. I tried to explain this to my PT, but it didn’t help. I was a mess last time. I’m sharing this letter I wrote to let you in on my experience. Please don’t get mad at the PT. No one wakes up and thinks, “I want to make a 38yo, cancer survivor and mother of four bawl her eyes out.” But that’s basically what happened. I thought I’d tell you. Just to share. Oh…And, yes, I really sent this earlier today.
I wanted to follow up and let you know why I’ve opted to use a different PT going forward. As I expressed, it has been a distinctly painful loss–even if temporary–to lose my strength and fitness through chemo and surgery treatment. A large part of my identity was my strength. A huge part of my life was hitting the gym multiple times a week.
There were so many things you did so well. You were warm and polite. You gave clear instructions when giving me a task. You really seem to know your stuff! You showed respect for those you worked for and with at _______. I think, for a lot of clients, you’re a perfect fit.
Unfortunately, every time I have to debrief with someone about this last appointment, I end up in tears all over again.
While I realize it is your job to assess and show me how “below average” I am for my age, I felt you lacked the appropriate compassion I needed for the hard news. I’ve worked hard through these last seven months to salvage what I can of my energy. I hiked the Tetons during chemo. I made sure much of the social time that my friends wanted of me was spent on long walks along the Mississippi. A few weeks after my surgery, I was hiking bluffs in Wisconsin. I felt like I was doing pretty well.
The air was knocked out of my sails as you assessed my fitness last week, letting me know how “below average” I was and saying nothing encouraging to me about what I had left. All you offered toward the end of our session was that “some patients can’t even make it around the room twice without taking a break.” It would have gone a long way had you been more generous with encouragement, recognizing any strength in me that I possessed or taken time to learn what I accomplished despite the hard diagnosis and treatments I’ve been through these last seven months. I left feeling ashamed and discouraged. Therefore, I cannot come back to you or that facility. As I said, this is a particularly sad part of the cancer journey and I need to feel better understood when dealing with such a vulnerable part of my life. I tried to explain this to you as I did the walking test, but I don’t think I made it clear enough. For some women, it might be their fake boobs. For me, it’s my physical ability.
I was sent a survey regarding my experience at __________. I thought it best to just contact you and let you know, so that you could benefit directly. I’m confident, going forward, you will not fail to encourage your patients, particularly your patients with a similar profile as mine.