In yesterday's post, I shared my reaction to a rant found on a cancer-related listserv. I explained my concerns regarding such expressions of anger, disappointment and frustration.
So what are Healthy Survivors to do if, for example, they learn they had not received important information about aftereffects of treatments they received?
First, find a safe place to express whatever you are feeling—with support, if needed. Focus on finding healthy ways of dealing with the underlying problem that ignited your anger. Regarding the example above,
- You can ask your oncologist to provide information on aftereffects—or ask your nurse to ask your doctor for you.
- Between office visits, you can avail yourself of the many excellent resources that provide the information you need, after which you can go to your next appointment with your questions and concerns.
- You can enlist the services of a patient advocate.
- You can switch doctors.
If your anger is expressed in ways that widen the gap between physicians and patients, you can lose. Everyone can lose. In contrast, if anger is used in healing ways, you may benefit from improved care.
Medicine is an art based on science. To get good care and live as fully as possible, Healthy Survivors invest in improving their communication with their physicians. These efforts not only benefit you, they may help your physicians’ other patients, too.