In my July 8th post, I brought up a paradox: Patients can know that letting something go will empower them to get good care and/or live as fully as possible, and yet they don't let go. Why wouldn't they embrace an act of empowerment?
In medical situations where letting something go is a necessary step to Healthy Survivorship, the act of letting it go is an act of empowerment. So, too, in situations where letting something go is the healthiest option
Healthy Survivors know when and how to "let it go," whatever "it" is. They follow through and let that thing go when doing so helps them get good care and/or live as fully as possible. But letting things go can be so difficult.
Susan Fariss wrote about living well with metastatic cancer in "I'm Going to Live Until I Die," quoting actress Valerie Harper for the article's subtitle, "Don't go to the funeral until the day of the funeral." She offers lessons for all of us who want to be Healthy Survivors.
Many Healthy Survivors are living with chronic loss and/or the expectation of a shorter life expectancy. Their challenge is finding a healthy balance of grieving the loss(es) and embracing joys that remain.
Racing the Clock, Saving the Heart focuses on progress in minimizing the time between a heart patient making contact with the medical team and undergoing heart-muscle-saving interventions. It's a fascinating account of the science, politics and practical issues of progress in treating patients with heart disease.
After a tragedy, looking for life-enhancing lessons and making positive life changes give meaning to a seemingly senseless event. So what can we learn from the accidental death of Dave Goldberg, who suffered fatal head trauma and hemorrhaging while exercising on a treadmill?
The notion of "empowered patients" brings to mind people actively involved in their day-to-day medical care. But it can mean more. Read this story in CURE magazine and NPR about a group of patients with metastatic lung cancer that took on the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) and won.
My favorite news show recently aired a story that tested my loyalty. It was about the flu epidemic. I was so disappointed by their dangerous message that could adversely influence people's decision about getting vaccinated.
What timing. Susan Gubar's "Living with Cancer" column today and my current "View from the Other Side of the Stethoscope" column both discuss the same topic: the potential negative impact of certain commonly used words and phrases in medicine.
In Living at Random, George Johnson discusses an idea that is not at all new: "Random, spontaneous glitches ...may be the most pervasive carcinogen of all." But he does it in a way that helps us accept it.
A series of earlier posts looked at the issue of patients reading their medical records. The last entry suggested we look at the core problem. Which is: The digital medical records often are designed to serve a variety of people -- and usually patients are not at the top of that list.
Thank you for your patience during this period of infrequent posts on Healthy Survivorship. And thank you to those of you who sent me emails and cards of support since reading When a Sister has Cancer. I'm happy to report that her recent scans document a dramatic response to the first three cycles of chemo.
The idea that caregivers need attention is nothing new. What's news is the launch of a formal training program for caregivers. The driving goal is not to develop caregivers' caregiving skills, but to help caregivers tend to their own welfare.
One Last Sale, a short story by critical-care nurse Judith Reishtein and published last year in Pulse: Voices from the Heart offers insights about patients' willpower and loved-ones' gifts to patients at the end of life.