JULIE STAFFORD: That little voice

By Julie Stafford • Last Updated 11:04 pm on Friday, March 02, 2012

Julie Stafford

Talking to a friend last week, I was reminded of how important it is to listen to your gut. Not the growly stomach, hungry kind of messages you get. Rather, the sense that something might not be right. In other words, your intuition.

Here’s what I mean. Recently, a friend was telling the story of his sister, who’s in her 60s. He described her as being tall, a little heavy set, fairly sedentary and totally go-with-the-flow. As he tells it, he is the complete opposite — extremely fit, very athletic and guaranteed to question anything that doesn’t sound or feel right to him.

Anyway, this friend’s sister decided she wanted to lose a little weight, so she watched what she ate and had great success. The thing is, she kept losing weight even though eventually she wasn’t trying. In fact, she ended up losing 80 pounds in a fairly short amount of time and started having stomach trouble.

She went to her doctor and without doing a whole lot of testing, they gave a fairly simple explanation for her weight loss and stomach issues, prescribed some medication and sent her on her way. Of course, being the “experts know best” kind of person, my friend’s sister accepted this diagnosis, took her medication faithfully and waited for her symptoms to subside.

They didn’t and the long and the short of it is that eventually, when she found her way to new doctors at a different medical facility, she was diagnosed with cancer. Fortunately, after a long, very difficult battle, I’m happy to report that she is today OK and thankful for every breath.

My intention isn’t to focus on whether doctors listen to their patients because I believe most of them do. My point is more that when you have an inkling that something is wrong — no matter whether it’s with a diagnosis or lack thereof, or someone you meet, or a situation you’re in — pay attention. Because that’s your body’s way of telling you to tread lightly and use caution. More often than not, that little voice has something very important to say.

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