Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Some days I am amazed with what I learn about the cancer treatment world. There are many days I feel completely overwhelmed. Other days I am in disbelief. What I have learned in recent days finds me in the disbelief category.

When I was at Fairview last week, I was basically being forced by the hospital to go with the radiation center that is adjacent to the hospital for my treatment. (There must be a contract between the hospital and this specific radiology group.) I felt like my back was up against the wall and I was made to believe that if I did not go with this specific group of radiation oncologists, I would be making a bad choice in a critical decision. I had mentioned to the doctors that my wishes were to have treatment at CTCA. The response that I received from the group was nothing less than eye rolling and a threatening tone.

During the time in which pen was in hand and a contract to begin treatment was being forced upon me, I felt my entire body respond to the tactics. My blood pressure dropped, my temperature rose and my body was overcome with a physical response. Quite frankly, I felt I was about to code and begged the radiation team to wheel me back to my hospital room for observation.

Looking back, I now realize that something bigger than me was intercepting my care. Once my body had recovered from my subconscious response, I was forced to stand up for my own beliefs the following morning. It was the many angels that have been following me that had knocked me upside the head. They certainly know how to get ones attention when they need to! After experiencing the very strong 'ah ha' moment, I canceled all further treatment with the local radiation team.

When we arrived at CTCA on Friday we were educated on the advanced treatment options they have available. I also learned that CTCA is one of very few TomoTherapy practitioners available. Upon further research, I learned that the group in Minneapolis does not offer the therapy.

If I had not taken the time to recognize what the universe was trying to tell me, I would have begun my treatment back in Minnesota. The treatment would have taken care of my immediate pain, but it would not have helped me long term. The feeling of hope that I am now experiencing would never had occurred.

The part of me that is in disbelief is the fact that there are facilities that are aware of better and more advanced treatment options. Instead of sharing this information with patients in need, these facilities choose to do what is best for their bottom line. Sadly, the more I am learning about this industry, the more I am learning how prevalent these practices are believed and followed.

Lessons learned last week;

1. Follow and listen to ones gut.
2. Ask questions
3. Be your own advocate.

Surely you will run across similar situations during your daily struggles. Take the time to listen to what is best for you. The other guy has his own best interest covered.

1 comment:

Basia said...

Hippocrates, the father of medicine and who wrote the Hippocratic Oath would be rolling in his grave.

Although his original version is not used today, the modern oath doctors take is equally potent:

I swear to fulfill, to the best of my ability and judgment, this covenant:

I will respect the hard-won scientific gains of those physicians in whose steps I walk, and gladly share such knowledge as is mine with those who are to follow.

I will apply, for the benefit of the sick, all measures [that] are required, avoiding those twin traps of overtreatment and therapeutic nihilism.

I will remember that there is art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon's knife or the chemist's drug.

I will not be ashamed to say "I know not," nor will I fail to call in my colleagues when the skills of another are needed for a patient's recovery.

I will respect the privacy of my patients, for their problems are not disclosed to me that the world may know. Most especially must I tread with care in matters of life and death. If it is given me to save a life, all thanks. But it may also be within my power to take a life; this awesome responsibility must be faced with great humbleness and awareness of my own frailty. Above all, I must not play at God.

I will remember that I do not treat a fever chart, a cancerous growth, but a sick human being, whose illness may affect the person's family and economic stability. My responsibility includes these related problems, if I am to care adequately for the sick.

I will prevent disease whenever I can, for prevention is preferable to cure.

I will remember that I remain a member of society, with special obligations to all my fellow human beings, those sound of mind and body as well as the infirm.

If I do not violate this oath, may I enjoy life and art, respected while I live and remembered with affection thereafter. May I always act so as to preserve the finest traditions of my calling and may I long experience the joy of healing those who seek my help.