Thoughts on privacy and cancer
Okay, so I started a blog entry while I was waiting to see my oncologist, Dr. Mohamed this morning. I was eagerly anticipating the report on whether I would need chemotherapy or not. I wrote about how it feels to think about losing your hair and all of the other fears that come with chemo.
I’ve cried two times since learning my diagnosis – when I first got the news, and when I realized that chemo was a real possibility.
But it all seems moot now, because I learned that chemo is not part of my treatment plan! This was the absolute best news I could have received today.
This breast cancer patient is doing just fine. I made it through my initial lumpectomy and another very minor surgery shortly after to remove just a little more tissue. Lymph nodes were confirmed negative for cancer and the tumor was confirmed to be less than a centimeter in size. Surgery hurt, but not too much.
And something I feel compelled to share with the world. Please, please, please take this as gospel, whether you work with patients in your profession or simply experience a friend of family member getting diagnosed with a medical condition – respect patient privacy!
Now, I’ve obviously been very open about my own journey through cancer, “coming out” with a blog entry a few weeks ago. It was a natural no-brainer thing for me to do.
But… that was my story to share or not to share, and the same goes for anyone receiving medical treatment for anything. Many a woman has approached me since that blog post telling me she could never be so public about a cancer diagnosis.
And if someone took it upon themselves to “out” me, I would have been more ticked off than I’ve ever been in my life. Believe me – you don’t want to tick off a cancer patient.
So please. Don’t seek this kind of info out on anyone, and don’t share it if you are informed, at least without asking the person if she/he wants to you let others know.
Now I’ll step off my soapbox to celebrate my wonderful news, but before I go, I want to thank the many, many folks who sent words of support over the past few weeks. I firmly believe that all of the positive vibes have helped me to heal and to feel great about my own future!
If you have any tips for people on supporting breast cancer patients as they move through the journey, please share in a comment to this post — your words may help someone else!
Esther Fabian is the director of health care marketing at The University of Toledo. Although she is a graduate of Bowling Green State University, Esther has willingly traded in brown and orange for the blue and gold. Over her nine years of employment at the institution, she continues to be fascinated by the incredible things that UT Medical Center professionals do every day to help people and loves learning about the many aspects of health care through those exceptional people. Esther hopes to use this journal to give folks a peek into the world of UT Medical Center, and maybe an occasional glimpse into the world of a working mom and owner of many, many pets.
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