It is common for us to hear our patients (and partners too) express regret over not having come sooner for treatment, or over suffering for years without finding a suitable treatment until now.
The feeling of ‘wasting a life’ or of feeling ‘stuck and trapped’ with a medical condition is devastating and emotionally deflating. The woman suffers, the partner struggles, relationships are grossly affected or altogether avoided — a state of miserable existence.
Do we have an answer to why they did not come sooner? Can we explain how come they drove by the office but never made an appointment, or visited our website but ‘sat on it’ for years and years? How can we help them regroup? Overcome regret? Forgive themselves? Resurrect hope after lost love/relationship/the chance to be a parent? It is beyond human capacity to change the past, to retrieve lost time, or to bring back what is gone.
Our responsibility as clinicians is to help others see and believe that they made the best decision they were capable of at that time; that they had to grow and mature and face other challenges in order to solidify who they are before tackling this treatment process; that maybe had they come sooner things would not have worked out right for them anyway, i.e. infertility, miscarriage, the relationship was not to be had, etc.
Helping one find their spiritual vault is not always easy as anger and self-pity are common road blocks. Yet there must be a way for each and all of us, powerful and capable human beings, to also see that we are just a grain of sand on a large conveyor belt that moves about life powered by a force that is beyond our influence.
If we commit to working hard at positively affecting our lives, it may not be as difficult to then turn over the steering wheel to that force and be comforted by the feeling that “we’ve done all we could and what is meant to be will happen in its right time.”