When a person is referred to an oncologist, that person is probably sick. They will almost certainly be worried and in fear. The instant we hear “cancer”, most of us think: how long have I got? It’s not a high point in one’s life. I know this from experience. Oncologists have not chosen an easy profession.
When I met my first oncologist, the first thing he said after we introduced ourselves was:
“Nothing that you did caused this.”
How wonderful! Even though I had googled carcinoid tumor and knew that the cause was unknown, it was a major relief to have the doctor affirm my lack of fault and it put me at ease.
Our culture in the United States often leads us to seek to place blame for everything that happens to us. We often blame ourselves. I have heard that Buddhist monks trying to develop meditation programs for Americans found this to be a difficult hurdle and something that they did not often see in their own cultures. Self blame is said to be a large problem for cancer sufferers. It can lead to deepening depression or despair.
My oncologist, Dr. Shaia, did me a favor to remind me that things “just happen” and should not be blamed on ourselves or others.