Baldies' Blog began originally in the UK by a 26 year old journalist with a blood cancer on a mission to inform the world about bone marrow donation.

He has since died, and I took on the cause of making cancer care more transparent for everybody.

Cancer is a disease that will touch everybody through diagnosis or affiliation: 1 in 2 men will be diagnosed and 1 in 3 woman will hear those words, "You Have Cancer."

I invite you to read how I feel along my journey and
how I am continuing to live a full life alongside my Hodgkin's lymphoma, with me controlling my cancer, not my cancer controlling me.

I hope that "Baldies' Blog" will prepare you to handle whatever life sends you, but especially if it's the message, "You Have Cancer."

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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Grey's Anatomy Has Nothing on Me

You all thought you were having fun, sitting at home on Thursday nights, checking out the drama at Seattle Grace. Well, I’m here to let you know, Grey’s Anatomy has nothing on me. Yes, the writers in Hollywood may not delve too far into the lives of patients beyond the hospital minus “Rebecca” and “Danny,” but they do have something right. Hot smart doctors are great. They are fascinating, and they are not a complete urban legend.
I used to joke that if you were going to be sick, you may as well have some fine doctors taking care of you. It’s a lot more fun to play doctor with someone who is attractive, and believe it from experience, patients could be half dead and still notice. I’ve been on both the receiving and presenting ends as nurse and patient. Maybe not half dead, but in a whole lot of pain, and it seems like you have to hit the genetic lottery to take care of me. Attractive and smart, my two favorite things, and if you can make jokes in the chemo room, it’s a bonus. Check out my case and point picture to the right.
This is Dr. G from DHMC, and believe it or not, I did not pick him to take care of me by his picture alone. He was on the list of acceptable doctors I received from a respected colleague. I picked my specialist at Dana Farber in a similar manner, by recommendation. I suggest most people in my situation ask their primary care doctors, nurses, other patients, or persons employed in the same facility about their confidence in the specialist. This can be surprisingly reassuring. Nobody to ask, see to verify specialties and certifications. If you do not feel reassured by what you see, hear, or feel, a good doctor will not be offended by a second opinion. Peace of mind is priceless people.
On the subject of patient doctor trust, I read an article the other day that stated (gasp) doctors are people too! Like the celebrity pictures in “US” that shows celebrities doing “normal human things,” like grocery shopping, the author was proving, no, doctors are not demi-gods or superhuman. They are people just like us with, surprise, feelings. Here is some insight that might quell your fears.
Most people view doctors like I view mechanics. Patients often don’t have the education to question the decisions of their specialists, just like I would not know how to confirm what my mechanic is telling me is true. This causes a bit of fear among patients. I want to make it clear, most Doctors are not out to screw you for your money. They make enough. There is not some “miracle cure” somewhere in the world that they know about and are not telling you. These people dedicated years and years of their lives to fix your health problems. Most of them busted their asses and accrued hundreds of thousands of dollars, or at least tens of thousands of dollars, in debt to take care of us.
In general, people do not dedicate that much time to a cause only to turn around and refuse patients the very best treatment. Those doctors that work for insurance companies finding reasons to deny claims and make our lives difficult are an exception to the rule. Those doctors are mercenaries who have sold themselves out. There’s a special place for them you know where.
Yes, Doctors generally make some money, but not as much as our greedy wallstreet brokers, and Doctors don’t have the Fed to bail them out if they make a mistake. They have malpractice insurance at rates that could bankrupt a small private practice. Most, genuinely, want what is best for their patients. As a nurse, I gauged my effectiveness by the health and happiness of my patient, and any failure to adequately alleviate their problems was a personal failure. I think most health care professionals feel the same and are deserving of your trust.
If you are angry or frustrated with your situation, your doctors, your nurses, your lab techs, or admitting secretary’s (except a special one at Sloan) are generally not the people to take it out on. They are trying to help. Your anger is misguided and taking the path of least resistance. Take it out on your insurance companies. They are making huge profits on your suffering by denying you care. They’re taking your precious energy by making you fight with them for care you are rightfully entitled to. They are banking on you being too sick to fight and paying the bill. Post your problems here or check out (if you are a NH resident) for the correct people to complain to.
There are a few other places where I could point my finger for making navigating the health care system so difficult you need a PhD (or at least a MS because I have a BS and it’s still rough), but you’ll get to hear about those later,
At least you have me to fill the “medical drama” void you’ll feel between now and next Thurs, and as for Dr. G at DHMC, how could you NOT trust that face.

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