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.
Years ago at a conference, the emcee introduced each survivor sitting at the dais. Once or twice during each introduction, the audience interrupted with applause and cheers. I wondered if I was the only person who didn't feel like clapping.
Imagine your physicians just finished evaluating your problem. Maybe they ordered some tests. Then they prescribed some therapy. Before you leave, their office scheduled you for a follow-up visit in a few weeks. When should you not keep that appointment?
The past two posts share bits and pieces of the story of Dr. Bradford Beck, a cardiologist and CEO of a major hospital who broke his neck last May. Today I want to focus on what he said to his wife, Mary, when she rushed to the scene of the accident and found him lying in the road.
Yesterday I introduced the story of Dr. Brad Berk, a remarkable man who seemed to accept devastating losses quickly. While lying on the gravel waiting for the ambulance, he said he'd be OK as long as he could think and talk, breathe without a ventilator and use a wheelchair on his own.
The cover of Rochester Medicine has a photo of the handsome CEO of my alma mater. Dr. Bradford Berk was a successful cardiologist and CEO of the University of Rochester Medical Center. An avid athlete, on May 30, 2009 he was thrown from his bicycle after the driver of a car unintentionally pushed him off the road.
Over the years, I've heard testimony by survivors about the devastation that followed denial of their rights. While dealing with their illness, they lost their job, insurance and/or homes. What can they do?
On January 26th I blogged about the risk of patients being accidentally injured by overdoses of therapeutic radiation therapy. I brought it up for many reasons, one of which was to lead into a post of mantras for dealing with bad news. Another was to point out that "bad" news can lead to good news.
Problems can arise when people have lengthy and passionate discussions without realizing they are talking about two (or more) different things. So to keep us all on the same page, periodically I will provide a refresher post about the basic tenets of Healthy Survivorship.
What are we talking about when we say "Healthy Survivor" or "Healthy Survivorship"?
A natural response to people who confide that they've been diagnosed with a disease (or that they are afraid of dying, are worried about getting through treatment, or are feeling any other unpleasant emotion), is to empathize and try to lift their spirits.
Unfortunately, the response that comes naturally may not be the most helpful to someone who wants to be a Healthy Survivor.