When I worked in police Victim Services, I was told during training, "When you go out on a call, never ignore your gut instinct. Don't try to talk yourself out of it. If you get a weird, uncomfortable, or anxious feeling in a situation, make an excuse, and leave immediately. Pay attention to your feelings. These things don't happen for no reason; that instinct twisting your stomach into a knot is originating somewhere, you aren't imagining it, you're picking something up, whether or not you are able to articulate just what that something may be. Get out of there!"
Working with that wisdom, I finally stopped trying to talk myself out of the discomfort I was feeling about the first surgeon I saw regarding my cancer. I'd been trying to rationalise and dismiss my bad feelings for a few weeks before I remembered that training talk, and thought, "I'm getting this feeling for a reason." I called my GP and asked for a second opinion.
I went on Monday to see the new surgeon, and both Robert and I liked him immediately. He was calm, relaxed, had studied my file, (unlike the first surgeon, who couldn't even tell me if the cancer had metastasized without looking up my file on his computer, it didn't occur to him that I might care to have that information, strangely enough) made eye contact with me, answered every question I had (and I had many unanswered questions from my 3 meetings with the first surgeon) and didn't give me that same feeling of wanting to get me out of the office as quickly as possible, so as to go on to the next appointment. After the physical exam, he said that he believed the cancer to be of an earlier stage, (he's been in his specialty for many years, with an excellent reputation) and he didn't believe I needed either radiation, or the radical surgery I'd been told was necessary to save my life.
So I've been spared pre-operative radiation, and the surgery I'm facing on Dec 5th will be as minimal as possible, to achieve the desired results.
Talking with Robert afterwards, we agreed that this guy inspires confidence, and we're feeling much less frightened by the prospect of surgery.
I've slept better since then, as well.
When I realised that I was once again trying to talk myself out of my gut instinct, I said a quiet prayer of thanks for all the wisdom that has been so generously shared with me over the years, both in program and outside.
May you have a pleasing and serene day, I know I'm going to.