Patient

Episode 7: Finding Balance in Dual Roles

Episode 7: Finding Balance in Dual Roles

When faced with serious illness, patients and caregivers take on new roles. Those who work in health care are in a unique position when becoming a caregiver for a loved one. Melodie cared for her parents in their final days. Her health care training as a nurse helped her to receive information from the doctors and pass it on to her family, but Melodie found it very emotionally difficult. Only dying a few months apart, Melodie felt a tremendous sense of emptiness. Her siblings kept close communication to help each other during the grieving period and Melodie allowed herself to rest. Looking back, Melodie really appreciated the health care providers shared encouragement and asked about their wellbeing. 

Dori, Irene and Giovanna talk about the importance of checking in with the patient’s caregivers. The importance of finding balance to include both the patient and caregiver in conversation is discussed. The doctors are reminded that patients should give consent about what is shared with caregivers, even in situations where there is a language barrier. Melodie’s story brought up many personal feelings for the hosts caring for their own families – both the pressures and the privilege of having a medical education. 

Episode 6: Authentic Relationships

Episode 6: Authentic Relationships

When faced with bad news, it can be difficult to speak to others leading to interactions that are inauthentic. Euphemisms, platitudes, and missed efforts, can patronize the patient and put distance in the relationship. Mike lives with metastatic colorectal cancer, and receives palliative care from Dr. Irene Ying. When Mike found out that his cancer was incurable, he felt a sense a freedom. No longer having to focus on every up and down of his treatment, and the relief of not searching for alternatives, Mike shifted focus to quality of life. Mike appreciates family and friends who are able to ask sincere questions and be present for his experience. His health care team keeps open communication and give straight forward evidence, which makes Mike feel secure.

 

Irene, Dori and Giovanna elaborate on how it is important to know a patient’s preferred way of receiving information: varying from subtle to stark honesty. The doctors discuss how the uncertainty of illness can be the most difficult element of treatment; the fear of the unknown. The hosts reflect on history taking methods to make each patient feel taken care of. The doctors talk about how authentic relationships bring a closeness to the people involved. The heart of empathy is connecting with another person in a genuine understanding of what someone is going through.

Episode 2: Survivorship and Hope

Aviva describes both the relief and fear of completing active treatment for marginal zone lymphoma. Survivorship, life after disease, has been an emotional journey that Aviva manages using writing, humour, meditation, and outreach as a patient advocate. Aviva talks about perceiving hope as relational - something she can move towards through interactions with others. She hopes that health care providers will hear her story and see patients as a whole person. Aviva’s memoir is titled “Lost and Found in Lymphomaland”.

Dori, Giovanna, and Irene talk about the concept of Survivorship and what kinds of physical and psychosocial issues can arise post treatment. The doctors discuss how hope can be framed and re-framed to be realistic at each stage of life, with or without disease. The pressures of the patient is included, when the hosts describe how to be helpful to a patient. The whole person approach is important to gauge the well-being of each and every patient.