"I have been recovering from open heart surgery and reading Dan and Judy’s wonderful book helped me to keep those day-to-day fears and anxieties in perspective. Their courage, steadfastness, and humor made for an entertaining read, which is something rare in the realm of disease treatment. Reading the book also made me appreciate the support that my spouse has provided, and left me inspired to renew my diligence with the tasks of getting back to a full life."

Dave Zook

 

ABOUT OUR BOOK

Dealing with the Medical Community

Judy

Once the core biopsy results proved positive, a sense of urgency settled in. I needed to meet with a surgeon, and—because like most people I didn’t have a surgeon to call my own—I relied on the recommendation of my internist. I scheduled a consultation for the next day. We didn’t know it then, but the surgeon would recommend an oncologist, a radiation oncologist, and a plastic surgeon. We would be meeting a lot of people in the coming weeks and making a lot of decisions.

Dan

Welcome to the world of statistics and probability. Cancer, the logic seemed to be, is not so frightening and imposing when it is reduced to a series of numerical percentages and odds. All our health care providers must have attended a very convincing seminar during their schooling on how best to discuss the disease with a recently diagnosed patient. Or maybe they all read the same journal article on the subject. The reality was that all discussions concerning Judy’s cancer with a medical professional involved—and then revolved around—a heavy dose of numbers.

I understand the doctor’s dilemma. A newly diagnosed person will want, and need, to deal with the cancer emotionally. From the patient’s perspective, who better to do that with than the doctor? Newly diagnosed cancer patients will want to hear not just reassuring, positive news, but they will also want guarantees and certainties. They don’t want to hear “maybe” or “we’ll see” or the dreaded “I don’t know.” However truthful that non-information may be, it offers no calming effect. It actually adds frustration and anger and diminishes confidence in the entire health care profession. “How can they not know?” the patient wonders. Obviously such situations, involving a disparity between the patient’s desire for a definite answer and the provider’s inability to provide one, are painful for both sides—and unproductive.

Judy

I am very trusting when it comes to working with people who are professionals in their fields. I respect their training and commitment, and I believe they have strong ethics and my best interests at heart when they work for (or on) me. I’ve never had an experience to suggest otherwise. So when it came to dealing with cancer, I relied on the cancer professionals. I believed and followed their advice and was content and confident in what they proposed. That is not typical, I think. Many people are more cynical than I about the perfection (or adequacy) of who they deal with and are more curious to explore other options—the more options the better. I am always overwhelmed at the thought of exploring other options, and I choose not to go there. I figure that my belief system has a lot of power to affect the outcome of my care, and I choose to invest those beliefs in thinking the best of those responsible for my care. Throughout this journey I looked to my health care professionals to have the answers and to meet my needs, and I was never shy about expressing those needs. We loved our doctors, and we believed in them.

 

Topic Hightlights

The Onslaught of Emotion and Information Following Diagnosis

Dealing with the Medical Community

Adjusting to a New Shaped Body

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