Controlling the Uncontrollable
A Placebo Storytelling Poem
The placebo effect is the result of storytelling. It is the story the patients tells themselves about the benefit of a particular substance or treatment. It is the story the doctor, researcher or healthcare practitioner tells the patient about their future, about their recovery. Are they believable? Does the way they tell the story of healing benefit the patient or does it create a nosebo effect?
The nosebo effect is when you believe something bad will happen as a result of a substance or treatment. When a doctor tells someone with cancer they have six months to live. I believe they are using storytelling to curse the person. The power of clinical stories should not be taken lightly.
In one of my favorite movies, The Last Holliday, Queen Latifah’s character is told she is going to die from a brain tumor and there is nothing she can do. She sets off to spend all her money doing things she has always wanted to do but didn’t take the money or time. It turns out she was misdiagnosed. The movie is really about how a person living fully, passionately, holding nothing back can do amazing things.
Here is a poem I wrote about the placebo effect in my own life.
Controling the Uncontrolable
Only nothing is nothing: placebo
psychology plays in your electric brain
physiologic effect in my blazing body
is not nothing
Only the placebo effect
white coat scientists mock my alternatives
You feel better, pain-free
She dances stronger, hips flexible
Tottering becomes balance,
a credit to all powerful placebo
I can live with that, I am good with that
Nosebo, placebo telling me I am, I have
a wicked genetic condition
Saying there is nothing
I can do anything
This is not okay!
Alternative medicine solutions
genes without change
better vision than 40
Seeing the pattern of flow
Avoiding the car accident by a hair.
Placebo storied pattern recognition
new stories as every cell listens
telling hopeless doctors
I see you, placebo my eye.