The Power of Kind Words: You’re Cured

Yesterday, I went for my annual physical at Winthrop Family Medicine, which is conveniently located right here in town at a health center in an old converted factory. Although I dislike going to the doctors as much the next person, I am very grateful to have this health center in Winthrop, where the staff is friendly and efficient and the services range from lab work to imaging, including walk-in mammograms. Winthrop, population 6,000, is one lucky little town. (When my husband broke his arm, he was in and out of the health center in an hour, and that included getting a cast. )

Dr. Gasper, my doctor, went over my blood work with me, and for someone who is, ahem, carrying a little more weight than she should, I am in amazingly good health. I suppose it must be partially genetic and also partly because that even though I eat more than I should—I am a good eater, after all—I do eat well, with plenty of fruit and vegetables in my daily diet, very little red meat, and a fair amount of olive oil.

Then we moved on to a topic that has dominated my life for the past six years—breast cancer. In the summer of 2010, I was diagnosed with this disease. Fortunately, the cancer was slowing growing and lazy, both very good qualities when they’re applied to cancer. I had a lumpectomy and radiation. Chemotherapy was not needed.

Dr. Gasper, that rare doctor who actually has a calming effect on people, looked at me and smiled. “You are considered cured,” he said.

Cured! What a wonderful word.

Now, Dr. Gaspar wasn’t telling me anything I didn’t know. At the Cancer Center in Augusta, after five years, I was given the option of  going to my primary care physician for yearly check-ups, and that’s exactly what I decided to do.  I will not miss those trips to the Cancer Center, and going to my regular doctor makes me feel like a regular person, which, after breast cancer, is a wonderful way to feel.

But to hear my doctor say those words—“You’re cured”—well, it was as though he had given me a gold star.

After I left, feeling oh-so-happy, I reflected on the power of words and their ability to either bolster us or drag us down. Kind words, even if they are true and self-evident, can ripple forward for years, leaving a good impression in our memories.  They can steer us in the right direction and help us to think better of ourselves.

Going forward, I will be more  mindful of what I say. Are my words kind or unkind? Do they help or hurt? Even if they are true, do they need to be said?

A final lesson for me: No matter how old we are, we can always learn to become more mindful. And more kind.




20 thoughts on “The Power of Kind Words: You’re Cured”

  1. Well done! I received a similar prognosis twenty years ago (I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1991) so I know how it feels.

  2. What a good start to your spring–a wedding anniversary and hearing, “you’re cured.” So very sweet. And you are wise about the power of words. We often throw them about so thoughtlessly, without considering their power. I am taking your final lesson to heart.

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