Monday, July 3, 2017

The Truth, The Whole Truth, Nothing But The Truth

The truth about cancer treatment is very complicated. The treatment options are very deep, strong, and harsh even. They are just drastic. Because they are so drastic, they can very well cause a lot of post treatment effects - i.e., side effects. The information on side effects is not a list, but a mountain.


Yes we want the truth. Oncologists I think waffle on how much information to provide to their patients about their treatment options when faced with their treatment options. I can tell you its a lot of information to take in and absorb - and probably  not everyone is ready for that. And our doctors are unsure how much information each patient can handle at that time.

Our oncologists can give us all sorts of great information - recurrence rates, risk reduction (what the heck is that?), side effects (only a few), and how you are going to be a better and newer more normal person after all. and then, after treatment, you start to feel crappy. You are not the same. You are tired. You might be depressed even. But why? Because you didn't get the whole truth before.

At each oncologist appointment, we leave the room with a brain overflowing with information and we try to grasp everything that we are told. We are probably clutching a few brochures covering our treatment and/or diagnosis.

Did we remember everything? Probably not. Because it was too much information all at once. Even if we bring a helper to make sure all our questions are asked and their answers are written down, we still may not have gotten it all.

But as patients, we need the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

"Cancer treatment can be life-saving. It can also be life-changing—and not in that wonderful, fluffy, “positive thinking” way that extols the virtues of enduring hardship. Newly diagnosed patients need to be given the facts, fairly presented, so that they are not blindsided if, instead of getting better and better after their treatments, they slowly get worse and worse. This can be considered a fair trade-off for the chance to live longer…but, like the chance of getting lymphedema or a secondary cancer, it needs to be a risk you take with your eyes wide open."

Just tell us like it is please.

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