I find it troubling when Healthy Survivors describe obtaining sound knowledge (the first step to Healthy Survivorship) as "arming themselves with ammunition" to make their case to their physician.
And the problem is....?
Language shapes our outlook, beliefs and actions. Whether these patients mean to or not, describing the acquisition of information as "arming" themselves with ammunition" suggests a worrisome perception of patients and their physicians as adversaries.
This outlook can keep patients from trusting their physicians and listening with an open mind. It can unwittingly lead patients to appear belligerent or disrespectful.
Battle imagery is useful for many patients striving to be Healthy Survivors. Although it doesn't work well for me, the sense of "fighting the disease" helps many other patients find the courage and fortitude needed to make wise decisions and undergo difficult treatments.
So the problem is not the use of war imagery. Rather, it is the use of language that fosters an adversarial relationship between patients and their physicians.
In my next post, I'll offer models of language that can help Healthy Survivors make their case based on their information gathering, while, at the same time, fostering a healing clinician-patient bond.