Dr. Wendy Harpham is a doctor of internal medicine, cancer survivor, and award-winning and best-selling author of books about cancer: Healthy Survivorship, recovery and late effects, and raising children when a parent has cancer. She is also a public speaker, patient advocate, and mother of three.
I was prepared to learn I needed more treatment. I've been through this so many times before, and I recognized the symptoms. They felt exactly like the symptoms that led to my last recurrence. But, hallelujah, my scans yesterday were normal.
In "Why Settle for Placebos," we hinted at the connection between meaning and the placebo effect. I just read Hippocrates' Shadow, a new book by Dr. David H. Newman that discusses this link directly. On page 154, the author discusses a "meaning response" as described by anthropologist Daniel Moerman: the
Sally' Hoskin's December 26th column in the NYTimes is fun to read, as cancer essays go. What I especially like about her description of being evaluated for her second bout of breast cancer are the many messages of Healthy Survivorship:
With limited resources devoted to cancer survivorship, we have to ask ourselves, "What is the best way to spend the money?" Should we devote limited resources to improving methods of treatment or prevention?
Every participant at the Miraval conference had a uniquely powerful story of loss and redemption, despair and hope. Some of the most poignant stories came from young women who underwent cancer treatment that saved their lives but impaired or destroyed their fertility before they'd ever experienced motherhood.
I've always been a bit scared of horses. They are BIG. If I got kicked, it would hurt. So during my stay at Miraval, I participated in an abbreviated equine experience, a three-hour session with psychologist Wyatt Webb.
So far, the anticipation of this gig is being exceeded by the actual event. From the Miraval staff, to the event coordinators, to the incredible women attendees (a mix of survivors and oncology nurses), I've been surrounded by gentle and life-loving words and actions.
Here is an important article for Healthy Survivors: The Pain May be Real, But The Scan is Deceiving. It's the story of an otherwise healthy woman with knee pain who undergoes CT and MRI scanning. The scans revealed a torn meniscus. Now the problems begin.
You read that a new treatment offers significant advantage over standard therapies, and you think, "Fabulous!" Later you learn that the improvement is minimal. Huh? How did the gap between reality and perception grow so large?
For YouTubeviewers who are Healthy Survivors, the underlying message of the "Medical Terminology Concerto" video is worrisome: Medical terminology is an effective way for clinicians to keep patients from understanding what they are saying.