Healthy Survivors understand the distinction between their unequal position in the doctor-patient relationship and their ultimate power.
Still, the doctor-patient relationshiop is unequal. For one thing, at the end of each doctor visit, you go home to live with the consequences of decisions made at doctor visits. Your doctors move on to their next patients.
For another, until conventional and investigational cancer treatments are available over-the-counter, you depend on physicians to prescribe and administer your cancer treatments. In other words, you need your physicians to survive treatable cancer; your physicians can survive with or without you.
Don’t despair. This inequality is not a bad thing. If anything, the healing potential of the doctor-patient relationship rides on this inequality, much as other important, unequal relationships work well because they are unequal: teacher and student; army general and private; parent and child; boss and employee.
To get the most out of these varied relationships, both sides must recognize and respect the inequality.
That said, the balance of power in the doctor-patient relationship is unlike the power balance of all other unequal relationships I can think of, because patients have the final say in everything.
Healthy Survivors appreciate the benefits of the unequal doctor-patient bond while feeling comforted and empowered by having the final say.