Bernie Sanders Was My Lifeline When I Had Cancer 20 Years Ago. Today, He Could Be a Lifeline for Our Country.

True healing requires considering a person’s emotional wellbeing, past experiences and traumas, as well as their physical symptoms. The same holds true for our society.

Originally featured on The Daily Beast.

When I was a young medical student, I found a lump in my left testicle. When I had it examined, my doctor confirmed the worst. I had Stage 2 testicular cancer with a 70 percent chance of metastasis.

As if that news weren’t bad enough, I then learned the treatment plan my doctors had devised for me. They offered only one option, which was to have all the lymph nodes in my gut removed, along with the affected testicle. This was to be followed by extensive rounds of radiation and chemotherapy, accompanied by recurring prescriptions for anxiety and depression. It would be unlikely that I would ever conceive children naturally. The plan was so extreme, so invasive, I couldn’t help but wonder if it was the best one for me.

After much anxious consideration, I decided to go through with some of the suggested treatment, opting to have only my left testicle removed.

I have obviously lived to tell the tale and today have two children who were conceived naturally. The experience put me on a new path, one that taught me about myself, led me to confront past trauma, and helped me discover the kind of doctor I wanted to be.

Looking back, I am thankful to Bernie Sanders, who played a critical role in this development.

The pivotal moment came during a psychiatry lecture in my second year of medical school, when I got up in front of the class to talk about what I was going through. There I was, studying to become a physician while experiencing what it was like to be a patient with a critical condition.

As my professor listened to my story, something about it struck a chord with him. After class, he approached me and recommended an article that he believed related to my case. It was Cancer, Disease, and Society, by Bernard Sanders. At the time the name was unfamiliar to me. Today, of course, we all know him as Bernie, leading Democratic candidate for President of the United States.