I think I have been pretty lucky so far with the people I have met and cared for me in the medical field. There have been a few hiccups, but as I always say to my patients during our first meeting “we need to be a good match and I know I don’t always like the docs I meet so I won’t be offended if you decide not to come back”. I think that our connection to our providers is key to getting good care.
I think, so far, most of my medical providers “like” me and are invested in my case (I make sure of that and if it doesn’t feel right, I will find another provider) . Many of them are about my age and also parents, I think they get my determination to do everything I can and in return, I feel like they want to do everything they can to help me. I have had doctors give me their personal cell number, call me on a Sunday morning to discuss results, come into the office just for me, meet my husband on a Friday night in a parking lot for a pain prescription that could not be called in and I even had one see me on his vacation as a favor to one of my providers. Being a psychologist, I am very aware of boundaries and am very mindful to respect them. For example, when I email my Shands’ oncologist, I email his assistant who forwards my emails to him and he responds through her, he never responds directly to me. Being the google Queen that I am, I can very easily find his direct email address but I will not do so. I will also use cell phones only when really needed.
I had a little hiccup a few months ago. I have been wanting to do acupuncture for a while but with all the supplements that I take and the fact that my insurance doesn’t cover it, the cost was prohibitive. When I was in so much pain from my gallbladder issues, I decided to try “community acupuncture” knowing it probably wouldn’t be exactly what I needed, my major pain was in my lower back so I knew I wouldn’t be able to just pull down my pants to get needles in my butt! Anyways, I liked the guy I found and he took to me and we were off to a good start. The day of my 3rd session with him, I had just found out the cancer had spread to my lungs and I was coming out of an intense meeting with my oncologist. I told him my news and in a concerned and caring way, he took me into his office and went on a mission to figure out what had caused my cancer to spread. He asked me a bunch of questions (like was there anything going in my life right now that could be the caused – really? I wanted to say…) and after a long speech he told me he thought the cancer had spread basically because I was not a born-again-Christian, he told me he was not “trying to take advantage” of my shaky state to try to convert me but really encouraged me to at least try it. I am VERY respectful of others’ religious and spiritual beliefs and would never push my beliefs onto anyone, especially not my patients. I was in such a fragile and, at the time, defeated state that I didn’t have the courage to say anything. I know he felt powerless about my situation and was trying to help, but I also wished that he would have picked up on my unusual quietness, I did not say a word the whole time I was in there. I still had my treatment afterward but the following day I sent him a long, thoughtful, AND very nice email telling him that he had crossed the line and that I would not be returning. He sent me a refund check for the unused sessions – no note accompanied the check – I thought an apology would have been nice but I am fine, at peace with the situation, and moving on.
This leads me to my “out of the box” state of mind. I have read the stories of long term survivors, the story of David Servan-Shreiber has been especially inspiring, he survived Stage 4 brain cancer for 19 years and in his book, he describes everything he has done. I have been doing pretty much everything he has done except for “energy work”. I knew nothing about it and my little research on google didn’t get me far. I have always been intrigued by it but at the same time a little skeptical. I feel like it is a very fine line between what is legit and what is completely kookoo. A friend posted on her FB wall that she had seen a chiropractor who had done an adjustment and energy work. So I googled the guy (of course!). I was on the fence about trying it but as the pain in my lower back was getting worse I knew I needed to do something – at that point my choices were to try this guy or go to physical therapy. I called his office, he didn’t take my insurance but he was extremely reasonable. My schedule was difficult that week but he agreed to come in just for me on a certain day and at that point he knew nothing about me or my situation. I thought that was pretty nice. So I showed up at my appointment time but the office door was locked. No worries I thought and sat on the bench outside, but after 20 minutes, I left him a voicemail message, a bit frustrated telling him I had been waiting for him and was now leaving. I know that it is not in his favor to tell you about this little mishap about our first encounter but please keep on reading! I then decided to go for a a little retail therapy now that I had a few bucks unspent! I got to the store and my phone rang, I knew it was him. He apologized profusely and explained he had me down for an hour later than I had showed up. He told me he could still see me and the session would be on him. I listened to him rolling my eyes and said I would think about whether or not I would see him but at the same time, I was thinking that maybe I should take advantage of the freebie he was offering! My first impression had been tarnished so I was wondering if it was it worth my time to go back? So I asked him what was the energy work that he did and from what he described, I was intrigued and decided to go back. Well now I am convinced that we don’t meet people without a reason. Dr. Kevin has been amazing and exactly what I need at this time in my journey. I was super straight forward as to what I was looking for and he respected my assertiveness and we proceeded with the treatment. Despite our rocky start, I left his office with even more energy and feeling really good.
What was it that made me feel so good, I don’t really know… But I know I never left my physical therapy appointments feeling that good! I am super picky about who I let “touch” me and be part of my care but after talking with him for a few minutes, I felt comfortable with him, I liked his energy, his openness, and the way he thinks about things. I know he truly cares about his patients and that he will do everything and anything in his power to help me. He definitely knows what he is doing and he is also super intuitive. I can’t describe to you what energy work is (yet!?) and for once I am not going to google it. I am stepping out of my box and letting the process unfold, trusting that it will lead me to where I need to be or where I need to go. This is new for me, not trying to control my life but letting it guide me. I am super open to the new possibilities and can’t wait to see where I end up.
For once, I can say that I am grateful for what cancer has brought into my life. The people I meet are incredible and I am seeing things I would have never noticed before. So ok cancer, you have given me this gift, I think it’s time for you to go now so that I can do all these things that are opening up to me…