Dopo la chemioterapia e un trapianto di staminali, Marie Archambault Carlson, medico e clinical educator presso la Duke University, torna a indossare il camice bianco ma deve fare i conti con una persistente disabilità non preventivata. Nulla è più come prima, ma un po’ alla volta Archambault Carlson si accorge di avere qualcosa di nuovo e importante da insegnare ai suoi studenti: guardare la persona in ogni paziente, comprenderne paure e dubbi, unire la sua umanità alla propria. Ecco l’incipit del suo racconto autobiografico, un saggio di narrative medicine su Jama Network. Buona lettura
You Did Not Teach Me What You Thought You Did
Ring the bells that still can ring.
Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack in everything;
That is how the light gets in.
This is not the story of my leukemia diagnosis, nor of my subsequent stem cell transplant. Those are harrowing stories that make excellent Facebook click bait: “A mother of three!” “A doctor herself!” “Diagnosed at Christmas!”
It is more mundane than that.
It is the story of being chronically ill, while working among the well. It is the story of being diseased while wearing the healer’s white coat. It is, most painfully, being fully human among those who know human bodies most intimately.
My cancer story did not go like I planned. I was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia in 2013 at Christmas. I had a mutation that conferred higher risk and needed to get into remission with chemotherapy and then have a stem cell transplant. I thought if I did all those things, checked the boxes like it was a handwritten to-do list from intern year, I could return to my life as a hospitalist and a wife and mother. Induction chemotherapy, consolidation, transplant. Done, done, and done. I would either survive and move on, or I would die. I prepared for both. And neither happened.