I knew I'd be okay!

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It is a good thing to go to work for your doctor. When you work for your doctor you will not receive any pay but the return on your investment may be great. If you work hard at it they may double your pay, understand that zero plus zero is still equals Ø.

Here’s the deal, sometimes your doctor gets in a predicament. You are ill and you want your doctor to make you better. Doctors use their training, experience, exams and testing to the fullest to achieve a diagnosis of your ills. Often that is enough. When a conclusive diagnosis does not come up that is where you come in.

Certain symptoms may appear like many different things. They are usually not very nice things. You certainly do not want to chase down everything it could be. Here is where you must be proactive in helping the doctor. You have already done one self-evaluation to your ills as that is what got you into see the doctor.

To help solve the doctor’s dilemma it is now time to do another more thorough assessment of you in full disclosure and continuing recording symptoms everyday on your journey.

Before you next see the doctor your job is to be vigilant in recognizing the day-day changes in your condition. Recognize what your body is telling you. Record all the details. When it started, how it has changed over time, what if anything helped and if you or a member of your family ever had anything like this before. This is a rough draft so put everything down.

This is a tell-all story. Some of you have those little issues that you do not discuss with anybody. Those days are now gone. Give yourself an attitude adjustment by telling yourself to let the doctor separate the wheat from the chaff. Tell all! Understand your doctor has heard it all before. Issues that you may think are not relevant just may shine some light on you case.

Unless you have a photographic memory you are not going to be in prepared to present all of what you want off the top of your head to update your doctor. Your written statement with you at the doctor’s office solves this issue. The rough draft mentioned above needs to be finalized into separate short and concise bullets that you can rattle off like a machine gun to your doctor. Here is why you need this.

Most doctors have helped themselves to serve us better by adding trained staff to do those preliminary parts of the examination. This is necessary as there is a shortage of doctors but it tends to add time to your office visit and shortens your time with your doctor. Understanding this, you should do the drill at home before you see your doctor to insure you can say everything and get answers.

The five-minute rule: You may be at the doctor’s office an hour or more; signing in, waiting, getting into a room, waiting, getting your vitals taken, waiting and then you see the doctor. After your initial consultation your doctor gives about five minutes for an office update of your condition this is what I call my five minute rule. Be prepared.

In presenting your questions here is what you may expect as answers from your doctor. Understand there is not a doctor in the world that knows everything, so give your doctor some slack. I tend to have a lot of questions. Here is my experience on doctor’s replies.

When the question is relevant and within their field you get an answer and if that gives you more questions you get more answers.

When the question is relevant and outside their field you may get a referral to a specialist or your primary care physician.

When the question is not relevant you may not get any answer. This may be that they simply do not know.

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I Have Been Lucky

Yesterday was my 79th birthday and I am alive to tell about it. I am a cancer survivor of twelve years. I had four occurrences of Diffused Large B Cell Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (DLBCNHL).

Let my list the reasons I am lucky,

I was lucky to have DLBCNHL as it is easily treatable and if it came back it was treatable,

I was lucky that initially I had a primary care physician that put together a task force of doctors to attend my needs,

I was lucky to have an excellent cancer center nearby,

I was lucky that initially I tolerated the gold standard chemo (CHOP) and radiation,

I was lucky to respond to the treatments and achieve remission,

I was lucky that my reoccurrences were spread over time and new techniques and treatments were developed,

I was lucky that on the subsequent occurrences I responded to treatments and achieve remission and

I was lucky to have support from a general cancer support group, family, friends, and as time passed I had all the resources of the internet. Most of all I had a strong faith that gave me the strength to deal.

You could call it fortunate, you could call it normal, you could call it anything. I call it lucky.

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