Outsourcing work to cheaper workers is a common strategy of corporations. It has largely escaped the public's notice, however, that much of this new labor force isn't located in Southeast Asia, but is rather found here in the U.S. and is virtually free. It is we, using our laptops and smartphones to perform tasks once carried out by knowledgeable salespeople and service representatives. This was particularly salient to me this week: ...

Read more...

Recently, both my husband and I came away from a conversation with my doctor positive that we understood my new weight gain plan. Funny thing: Each of us recalled a different plan. I am always struck by how our memories of the words spoken by my doctor can be so dissimilar. No, not all of them, but enough of them to be wary of going to any appointment without a ...

Read more...

One of my doctors always asks if he can examine me before he starts. He identifies each body part he is going to touch as a question. I feel like I can always say, "No ear exam today, thank you." Or alternately, "I've been having a little pain in my left ear. Can you check it?" Tiny point. Subtle. But by merely asking me, my doctor signals that I am not ...

Read more...

"Health care costs are sky-rocketing!" "The percentage of the U.S. GDP devoted to heath care costs is the highest in the world." "The cost of Medicare is unsustainable." For most of us, the cost of health care (i.e., the dollars required by the system to produce and deliver care) isn't what brings us the most anxiety. It's when we're patients or helping a loved one find care that so many of us are deeply ...

Read more...

Have you noticed that most sick characters on TV shows look pretty good and are coherent -- often feisty -- even when they are in the hospital? Have you caught the number of ads for drugs and health plans showing happy, vigorous people that dominate the major consumer health websites and are common on TV? Have you noted that websites of disease voluntary organizations (lungcancerCrohn's diseasearthritis) tend to show healthy people participating in ...

Read more...

Sara was treated for multiple myeloma in the mid-90s and had a stem cell transplant seven years ago. When I asked her husband how she was doing, he said, “Pretty well … just the gift of a little edema in one arm and some neuropathy in her feet.” On one hand you think, "Hey! That’s great! Those little gifts -- those side effects -- are a small price to pay.” On the ...

Read more...

I wish I had known earlier that survivorship care is neither a do-it-yourself project nor is it something that I can simply hand off to experts. There is no stable set of signs, signals and test protocols that, if followed assiduously -- and that come up negative -- means I am protected from a recurrence, new cancer or late effects of treatment. Observation, expertise and self-knowledge by both me and ...

Read more...

Having cancer has infected me and many others with the irritating tendency to view any persistent, troubling symptom through the lens of a recurrence or a diagnosis of a new primary cancer. A friend of mine who is nearly five years post-kidney cancer treatment casually remarked the other day that he needed to see a doctor about his sore ankle: it could be arthritis, but it might be cancer, of ...

Read more...

A recent Wall Street Journal article about how post-traumatic stress syndrome can be caused by cancer and stroke brought to mind the variety of responses many people experience in response to cancer diagnosis and treatment. The lingering intensity of those responses – physical, psychological, social and behavioral – can affect whether and how we attend to the tasks of survivorship; that is, monitoring and addressing the unique health challenges that follow treatment ...

Read more...

Have you ever felt that claims about the effects of our access to new and more health information overshoot the mark? For example, you may be searching for help in understanding some ambiguous findings from diagnostic tests. Perhaps you think you are having troubling side effects from your new medication but then it may just be a reaction to something you ate last night. You may be hunting high and ...

Read more...

Most Popular