It happened again. I should have known better than to expose myself to online messages that can only lead to disappointment and distress. Tip – when you decide to take a mental break, I advise that you take a break from the internet, too.
I follow the top hospitals on social media – MD Anderson, Mayo Clinic, MSK, among others. I like to know what’s going on when it comes to science and research, especially in relationship to breast cancer. As I was checking my Facebook page recently, a post from Mayo Clinic popped up. Reading the first sentence of this post felt like nails on chalkboard. The statement came from someone at Mayo. Based on the quote, at first I thought maybe he was a motivational speaker. But to my surprise I found out he was an oncologist.
So, now we know: Attitude CREATES reality.
Stop wagging your finger at me, Dr. Creagan!
I know hospitals like to put out “inspirational messages” for their patients in order to encourage them, but I found those first three words so simplistic and perhaps even damaging that I could not get past them. I wonder, how is a stage 4 or terminal patient supposed to react when being told that changing their “attitude” will change their “reality”?
Language matters, and medical professionals should be careful not to use words that sound misleading. Dr. Creagan’s statement is inaccurate and scientifically untrue. Attitude does NOT create reality. And if he really believes that, why did he choose to go into oncology? Please help me out here. Am I over-reacting? Perhaps my level of tolerance for the “positive thinking” approach has reached its lowest level. I am tired of these types of messages that only make patients feel more isolated. Patients don’t need that kind of pressure. What patients need is for their medical team to be truthful and supportive in addition to also saving their lives. Patients also need to be heard.
A cancer diagnosis is a devastation, and patients should be allowed to see it that way. It isn’t always an opportunity for self-improvement or whatever else Dr. Creagan thinks the cancer experience should inspire.
People look to respected medical organizations such as Mayo Clinic for sound, reality-based information. “Attitude creates reality” sounds like something from fantasyland. So, what I would say to Mayo is, you can either choose to contribute to the level of ignorance our society lives in or you can educate with facts, the choice is up to you. Just please don’t mislead people.