About suffering they were never wrong,
The Old Masters: how well they understood
Its human position; how it takes place
While someone else is eating or opening a window
or just walking dully along… by W.H. Auden (1938)
Dear LE&RN Supporting Members and other allies,
The poem above was inspired by Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s painting, “Landscape With the Fall of Icarus,” which hangs in the Musée de Beaux Arts in Brussels. In that painting, Icarus falls from the sky, his splash into the sea unnoticed by villagers who go about their daily routines.
Auden’s words resonated with me as I read a recent email to LE&RN from Daniel J. Schumacher. He was responding to a piece I wrote on The Emotional Price of Lymphatic Diseases (LDs).
Your story is completely true and is exactly what happened to my late wife every time she sought medical help for her lymphedema (LE). One Emergency Room actually told her to never come back. When I finally found the doctor at Stanford Medical Center who wrote the diagnostic and treatment manual for LE, local doctors refused to consult with him about my spouse. Since her death I've learned that her suffering was much worse than I had imagined. Yet, she held it in and rarely complained. The doctors who treated my wife only knew what pill to prescribe for symptoms defined to them. When my wife's symptoms did not fit their definitions, they told her she had nothing wrong with her. When she persisted in seeking help, they diagnosed her with dementia. After that we were on our own trying to find solutions to her condition. Her suffering ended May 28, 2020. —Daniel J. Schumacher, Springfield, IL
I wrote to Daniel and asked if I could share his wife’s story. His response, “Yes, by all means use my story and use my name. It will be a tribute to my wife’s life and perhaps not let her death have been in vain.”
And so, I honor Diana J. Schumacher (1947-2020). Today, Diana, and her husband Daniel, speak for all those whose physical and emotional trauma has been ignored. Today, they inspire everyone with LDs worldwide to demand a reckoning—an end to the medical community’s persistent and immoral gross negligence in the treatment of LE and LDs.
President & CEO, LE&RN