Dr. Peterson, the radiation oncologist, gets right to the point. "The medical center's tumor board has concluded that your cancer is inoperable, incurable and untreatable," he says flatly. "Any chemotherapy or radiation treatments would be palliative in nature." He begins explaining the reasons behind the board's verdict, but everything he's saying washes out. My mind stopped working as soon as I heard the words "incurable" and "palliative." I am sliding into shock. Dr. ...

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It started with a mild case of nausea and got progressively worse. I became dizzy and shaky, but tried to ignore it. There was work to be done that afternoon. We were moving boxes into storage at my in-laws’ house in Michigan, and I needed to be strong. I carried boxes on unsteady feet, catching myself before bumping into walls. By early evening my legs were wobbly, and I felt ...

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An open love letter to my broken leg This is an open love letter about my left leg. I broke it at a roller derby scrimmage in Detroit on September 6. It was my third time representing the Glass City Rollers on the road and the beginning of a long ordeal that has given me plenty of opportunity to reflect on my body and my wellness goals. Before this injury, my ...

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3 guaranteed ways to improve patient satisfaction With roughly 1 billion in Medicare reimbursement dollars being tied to patient satisfaction, it’s no wonder the focus on patient experience is swelling. Of course there are other factors fueling the focus -- the proliferation of online physician ratings websites, ACOs, and CG-CAHPS to name a few. Over the past decade I have visited 100+ different inpatient and outpatient ...

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Jewish history has all too often been written in tears … I am fascinated by people and groups with the capacity to recover, Who, having suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, Are not defeated by them but fight back, Strengthened and renewed. - Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, PhD,To Heal a Fractured World In some situations, the whole idea of complete recovery from bereavement makes no sense.  Bereavement can be fully expected to last a lifetime.  ...

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I have been a victim of diagnostic overshadowing by a primary care physician.  I’ve been dealing with major depressive disorder, recurrent, severe and anorexia for twenty-five years -- practically my entire adult life.  However, I work full-time and I’m a published writer.  At the time I saw this PCP, I was on hefty doses of Cymbalta (an antidepressant) and Abilify (an antipsychotic which can also be used to boost the effects of an ...

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7 ways to help your caregiver My illness has been as hard on my caregiver-husband as it’s been on me. I know how fortunate I am that he’s stuck around and that he never complains about the extra burdens he’s had to take on. My heart goes out to those of you who don’t have someone to care for you in this way. This piece covers several ways ...

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Just yesterday I was searching for a local surgeon, and on one website he had 2 out of 5 stars.  Hardly anyone was recommending him.  Yet prominently featured on another site he had 4.7 out of 5 stars.  Both sites had a good number of reviews.  What’s going on?  Is one site cherry picking the reviews?  Is someone falsifying reviews on one of the sites?  Which reviews can I trust? ...

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Pain is one of the few things in life universally common to all races, all ages, virtually all people for the history of time.   Though it is always with us, it is also the most difficult of human feelings to describe or even talk about. Doctors in an attempt to understand the degree to which we hurt invented a 1 to 10 pain scale. I was very fortunate my first 47 ...

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As part of the admission process for a hospice patient, the admission team will ask the patient about their spiritual orientation and/or religion. Because there is so much information and education to convey at the admission, the discussion of a patient’s spiritually may only be minimally discussed. It is important for the hospice team to be aware of a patient’s spiritual orientation because it can affect their choices regarding treatment ...

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