Lessons Learned: The Doctors

While I really don’t feel like looking back on my visit to the ER, I realized again the value of each doctor encounter. My team of doctors range from the holistic, alternative, way out there, oncologist, internist, and every doctor in between. I have realized some very important tips and tricks about doctors. First, if a doctor isn’t listening, chances are he/she will never hear you. This is case and point from the beginning of my cancer job. If you are afraid to ask a question from any of these doctors, you have the wrong doctor. If you don’t like what a doctor says, you should listen carefully. Most doctors have reasons for saying their messages a certain way. Some are realists, some are optimists, some are just as afraid of the truth as you are and some choose to ignore the negative. I have learned that each doctor has something to offer and each new doctor usually has something to offer too. They all have their expertise. They all have their strengths. Most importantly, they are people too and they are human. They may shed a tear or two or even lose it out of frustration either with you or with your disease. There are always reasons. I will look at this past weekend as another reminder of how fortunate I am with my team. Yes, the ER doctor was a bit freaked out about my blood counts (remember he is not an oncologist), so I did not force the issue, but smiled quietly inside as these were my lucky numbers. This ER doctor did know a lot about peritoneal cancer. He understood how it spreads and how the cancer  formed. He explained things in basic terms about some of the spreading is like a boil on your skin with a bunch of nerve endings. This could explain the misunderstanding that cancer does not hurt.  Yes, my oncologist (although in Europe) was holding my hand virtually through back and forth emails from Europe. It felt as if he was in the room with me. Yes, my internist called to find out what happened the next day and wanted to know if she could help with anything.

I may get frustrated with my team, but have come to understand them for what they each bring to my race to win. I have also come to love each one of them for the reason they do care in their own way. So, I have learned so much from each of my doctors and I hope you have the same type of team for your children and for your family. Not only is medicine a science, but it is a delicate balance of understanding and knowing your patients. It is not an exact science. No one has all the answers. It is a constant puzzle and game which can be frustrating for all involved. As long as your doctors hear you and hear what you are saying, you have the team. I know that without this team and their knowledge, I wouldn’t be able to embark on my adventure knowing that we all need a vacation from cancer.  I am so excited and looking forward to enjoying every single minute (yes, even the hours and hours on the airplane). Enjoy your summer…enjoy your family.

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