Day 17: Picking a Doctor: “I have a question for you? How the hell do you pick a cancer doctor? The Actual Dance
I have recently changed this line in the show and how I present the scene. It used to be just: “I have a question. How do you pick a cancer doctor? This is not an easy question." Now, it is "How the hell do you pick a cancer doctor?"
Picking the oncologist for YOUR CANCER is on continued reflection one of the most difficult and important steps in the cancer journey. The doctor him or herself, their team, the hospital affiliations are all factors that can make a difference in YOUR outcomes. It might just be a life and death decision. Indeed, it will not be until years later that you can know if the decision was the right one.
To add to the complication – when it is your spouse that is the patient – what is you’re the role? Who decides? Is the choice of a “cancer doctor” in a marriage a mutual decision?
In the play and in life I resisted the urge to take control of the process – a typical male response – and I came to understand that “I am not the director. No, my job is to be the supporter.” I resisted a very strong urge to take Susan to a major cancer center. Even as we were hearing the worst news and dire prognosis the last thing I wanted to add to our marriage was a “fight” over which cancer doctor to use. “So Susan’s choice” are the words from the play.
I have been proud of that decision. Perhaps a bit righteous in my telling how “I let” Susan pick her own doctor. It has been pointed out to me though that my view of this part of the story is colored by the fact that Susan has survived. Had she not, I wonder how guilty I would feel for not having insisted on her seeking other opinions and treatment?
There are no easy answers on the cancer journey.
Stat of the Day: The CDC reports that in 2014, 41,211 women and 465 men in the United States died from breast cancer! Numerically up slightly from 2013.
Task of the Day: It is October – breast cancer awareness month. Be part of the process by doing your part. Today put on something pink if you are going out, wear a pink ribbon or change your Facebook profile to include a pink ribbon. Here are some images
Resource of the Day: iCare Do not pick a “doctor” pick a team. iCare presents a new approach to cancer treatment that coordinates patient, physician and research that are expert in the specific cancer and diagnosis of each patient.
The Actual Dance: Performances. Donate.