In 2012, my husband was diagnosed with a “highly aggressive bladder cancer.” Up until that point, he had always lived a healthy lifestyle so the diagnosis was not only a shock but also deeply perplexing.
We ended up getting two separate medical opinions and while the doctors agreed on some points, their approaches differed in treatment. Because of the sequence of events, we did work with both of them, but liked the second oncologist much more.
The cancer diagnosis drove us to do in depth research so we could educate ourselves about a malignancy we knew nothing about. It also allowed us to better collaborate with our doctors and the treatments at every step.
Part of this understanding also included preparing ourselves before each visit to help maximize the time and interaction with our doctors. Being mentally, emotionally and physically focused allowed us and our physician to communicate optimally and create the best cancer battle plan together.
These were the 6 steps we followed and I hope you also find them helpful.
- Be Informed. While some doctors may try and discourage you from researching, it’s important learn as much as you can about your condition and the treatments options. Consider both conventional and alternative approaches. Doctors today can only dedicate about 7-15 minutes to each patient. Since that time is typically taken up with many procedures, there is not much opportunity for in depth conversation. Make sure you arrive prepared to ask what you need to know from them.
- Go Accompanied. If at all possible, always take someone with you. The emotional turmoil of dealing with cancer or other serious conditions can make us fearful and cloud our thinking. This makes it hard to clearly hear what the doctor is saying. Understanding your doctor’s recommendations and being able to make wise decisions can be a matter of life and death. Make sure your companion is also prepared with the right questions and can take notes for you so you can revisit them later. If you absolutely must go alone, record the conversation on your mobile device. Let the doctor know what you’re doing and why.
- Don’t Rush Into Treatments. When my husband was diagnosed with cancer and found to have a bladder tumor, they whisked him into surgery within a week to have it removed. Looking back, we realize there may have been a bit of “fear marketing” in our doctor’s approach. This is an unfortunate tactic doctors often use to rush patients into treatments. On one hand, our oncologist said the cancer was “very aggressive” but on the other he also said it had very likely taken decades to develop. So, if the cancer took decades to develop, what was the rush for surgery? Knowing what we know now, we might have asked the doctor for a few weeks so we could research more and explore all the options available. There were several, as it turned out, not just surgery.
- More Than One Opinion. We’d recommend you get at least one more professional opinion to help you become as informed as possible. You may want to consider meeting with integrative oncologists who treat cancer with holistic, alternative therapies that are non invasive, non toxic, painless, and immune boosting. Even more importantly, these specialists will pursue the cause of the cancer—not just treat the symptoms—so the body can be healed of the imbalances that made it sick in the first place. It’s important to understand that you did not get sick because of the cancer, your body was already sick, that’s why you got cancer!
- Take Control. If you do not like the way you are being treated, find another doctor! This is your life we are talking about! Feeling that you can trust your doctor, are in good hands and getting the best care are essential to your recovery process.We walked out on our first doctor after a series of interactions that left us very unsettled and we’re so glad that we did! Our second specialist was a much better oncologist. However, we also met a team of alternative health experts who worked with us simultaneously. This combination of expertise led to my husband’s complete healing in 10 months, contrary to the conventional doctors who wanted to take out his bladder, prostate and even then, gave him less than 5 years to live.
- Pray Before Visits. If you are a person of faith, pray before each visit that the doctor will be having a good day, is filled with wisdom about your condition and can offer you the best advice. Pray also that you can be filled with clarity and discernment about the proposed therapies and be wise about the best course of action.
For find more information and resources about how to successfully integrate conventional practices with the more holistic, alternative approaches to cancer treatment, please refer to my book www.healedhealthyandwhole.com.
God bless you with your healing journey!
(Please note: Do not use the information provided in this or other Healed, Healthy and Whole articles or media assets for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing yourself medication or other treatment. The content in this blog/newsletter should never be used as a substitute for speaking with your physician or health care professional about a medical problem you may be experiencing.)