Wednesday, January 4, 2017

A Post for Every Oncology Medical Practitioner

I have often spoke about how nurses, doctors and other medical practitioners just don't ''get it' because they have never been through it themselves. They also don't understand what they do not understand, because they haven't been there.It has been my greatest desire to have medical practitioners who have had the ailment they are treating. Especially oncology medical practitioners.

An oncology nurse recently wrote an apology letter to all her patients. She had not 'gotten it' in all her dealings with patients in her care. Now she knows what she did not get because she has now been diagnosed with a stage III colon cancer. This unfortunate diagnosis now helps her in her dealings with patients. Her letter begins with the paragraphs below. But please go read the entire letter yourself.

"Dear every cancer patient I ever took care of, I’m sorry. I didn’t get it.

This thought has been weighing heavy on my heart since my diagnosis. I’ve worked in oncology nearly my entire adult life. I started rooming and scheduling patients, then worked as a nursing assistant through school, and finally as a nurse in both the inpatient and outpatient settings. I prided myself in connecting with my patients and helping them manage their cancer and everything that comes with it. I really thought I got it- I really thought I knew what it felt like to go through this journey. I didn’t.


I didn’t get what it felt like to actually hear the words. I’ve been in on countless diagnoses conversations and even had to give the news myself on plenty of occasions, but being the person the doctor is talking about is surreal. You were trying to listen to the details and pay attention, but really you just wanted to keep a straight face for as long as it took to maybe ask one appropriate question and get the heck out of there fast. You probably went home and broke down under the weight of what you had just been told. You probably sat in silence and disbelief for hours until you had to go pretend everything was fine at work or wherever because you didn’t have any details yet and wanted to keep it private still. You probably didn’t even know where to start and your mind went straight to very dark places. That day was the worst. I’m sorry. I didn’t get it."

Once you read the letter, please share it with your medical professionals. We can help educate our medical providers and perhaps this would help them understand our side.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I totally disagree with the premise that people must actually have a disease to understand or help those with the disease. Sensitivity is a wonderful characteristic and we hope that our care givers have it. But expertise, with or without sensitivity, is invaluable,and may spell the difference between survival or not.