I don’t believe in the word “incurable”

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

I don’t believe in the word incurable. I’ve even blacked it out of my dictionary. I want those of us with chronic illnesses to stop using it – and I especially want doctors to stop using it.

A few years ago, I read an article in an ezine about chronic illnesses in which a woman with lupus told how she asked her doctor if her condition would ever get better. She wrote that his reply, given with a sad look, was, “No I’m sorry, it won’t.” I got upset when I read that. I wanted to chastise both of them: the doctor for saying that, and the woman for believing him.

What doctors actually mean when they say an illness is incurable is that they haven’t found a cure for it – yet. But medical science is continually making advances which result in new, better, and more effective treatments for many diseases (I’m a beneficiary of medical science’s advances because infliximab, a new drug that was approved in the late 1990s, gave me my life back).

A doctor who says that a disease is incurable or that the patient’s symptoms will never get better is completely ignoring the very real possibility of a medical breakthrough. Also, although most doctors are reluctant to admit it, many of them have seen or know of one or more cases where patient’s symptoms got better or completely disappeared for reasons they couldn’t explain.

So like I said, I don’t believe in the word incurable. Even when my illness was at its worst, and I was so weak that I passed out from the exertion of taking a shower, I didn’t give up–although there were definitely times when I felt like doing so. Instead I did lots of research, and vowed that I would keep investigating and trying different standard and alternative treatments until I regained my health, no matter how long it took.

I’ll close by saying there are always ways you can improve your health and your life when you have a chronic illness. I wish you well on your journey to live your best possible life.

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