Tuesday, September 18, 2012

How would you answer the question?

Someone asked about this on one of the many cancer boards I am on recently, post cancer how do you answer the question: "Do you have any significant health issues?" Let us pretend this is not a doctor's office where we would launch into a twenty minute spiel that includes multiple surgeries, treatment protocols, on going side effects, latest tests and their results, current prognosis, medical facilities used, and current medication list. If someone really needs to know my medical history I need a sheet or two of lined paper, not two scrawny little lines to write in tiny print.

But what if you wanted to go bungee jumping, sky diving, or something which required a medical release? Do you say 'I had cancer and am mostly fine except for a touch of lymphedema'? (Note: my back would preclude me from any of these activities myself.) Or do you say nothing because you are no longer in treatment?

My personal feeling is that if my medical history is going to make a difference I might tell them about the majority of my medical adventures. Is it important for anyone to know I had my gall bladder out four years ago?  Only to my doctor or a surgeon looking to cut into other parts of me.

I will never use the word 'survivor' to describe myself except in the context of  'surviving millions of medical adventures'.  But I could be persuaded to write 'I had cancer twice'. Then I get weird looks and lots of questions and people tend to tell me their medical history. And then we get to have a big discussion about health ailments.

So I guess I would be more inclined to keep my mouth shut about my medical history.

1 comment:

Renn said...

Caroline: I'm with you! I think I would ere on the side of personal discretion.

PS: Love your line, "I will never use the word 'survivor' to describe myself except in the context of 'surviving millions of medical adventures'." That is awesome!