As people, we often have multiple stories to tell, from different perspectives. Multiple stories and perspectives can be wed or braided together around the same themes. Here we braid together two separate perspectives of a patient author and a physician author, respectively. From both perspectives, this is a story about the power of care, cancer, and quality of life. Following my cancer diagnosis of nodal marginal zone lymphoma, I struggled with my ...

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asco-logo I am a firm believer that medicine is best practiced as a team, with the one undergoing treatment at the center participating fully. It’s a belief embedded in the multidisciplinary care model. I have been fortunate to have been exposed to multidisciplinary clinics in my fellowship at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and have worked ...

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Victor Frankl is an Austrian neurologist, psychiatrist, and Holocaust survivor, who survived three years in the concentration camps of Dachau and Auschwitz. He once told a story about a woman, his patient, who called him in the middle of the night saying that she wants to commit suicide. Viktor Frankl kept her on the phone, giving her many reasons to keep on living, until she promised not to take her life. ...

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Lying in a hospital bed while awaiting heart surgery, I looked at my teen daughter and my parents, then smugly pointed out the irregular slashes on the cardiac monitor. "See these?" I said. "They're called PVCs. My doctor is going to fix them. Make them all go away." The asymmetrical rhythm, a frequent and annoying pattern of multiple skipped heartbeats, had plagued me for the last three years, despite my swearing off ...

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There is a haze lurking overhead clouding rational thinking. Thoughts wander back to times when my body was unencumbered, and I felt nothing was out of my grasp.  Maybe that was an unrealistic thought, but it is how youth and inexperience protect one from the somewhat harsh realities of growing older. Coming to terms with chronic health conditions is perplexing. There are days when everything goes just right. The sun is ...

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Some weeks ago, this writer visited with a friend who had been admitted to an inpatient psychiatric unit of a New York hospital. The friend had been there for a few weeks. Other patients have been there for longer. After spending approximately an hour with his friend, this writer was not allowed to leave the unit at the conclusion of his visit. It wasn't until 15 minutes later that one of ...

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I was an RN for more than 40 years and am now retired. As a recent hospital patient, I documented my experiences. This resulted in a letter to nurses everywhere. *** Dear Nurse, Please be kind to me. I am frightened, alone, and in pain. I am way out of my comfort zone and need every bit of encouragement you have to offer. I arrived at the emergency room a short while ago, was ...

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I’m a patient and consumer advocate who has dedicated my career to improving the health care system. I’ve encountered the good, the bad, and the ugly of our health care system, but I was still not prepared for what I heard in April 2016 when I attended my first national medical association conference and listened to a resident share his experience with severe depression. He spoke about a never-ending list ...

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From a planning perspective, Wolfgang Balzer is the perfect health care consumer. Balzer, an engineer, knew for several years he had a hernia that would need to be repaired, but it wasn’t an emergency, so he waited until the time was right. The opportunity came in 2018 after his wife, Farren, had given birth to their second child in February. The couple had met their deductible early in the year and figured ...

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STAT_LogoI’ve been living with chronic pain for more than a decade. It began in 2009 with nerve damage after emergency groin surgery. Four years later, I fell and hit my head. That fall led to a constant headache, a whistling sound in my ear, back and hip pain, tingling and numbness in my hands and feet, electrical shocks ...

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