The Two Kinds of Cancer Patients – A Survey – What Kind Were You?

Diann, my sister who is in the midst of chemotherapy for Stage 3 breast cancer, was settled into the bed at the cancer center as the Oncology Nurse, Erin, came in with the drugs. Erin had been Diann’s nurse a couple of times before, so Erin knew that we were sisters and that I was a breast cancer survivor who had been through chemo at her cancer center.  We had  developed a rapport with Erin. She said to Diann, “Your blood counts look good.”  Diann’s response:  “Great.”  I’m sitting in an adjacent chair and ask Erin, “Can she get a copy of her blood counts?”  The nurse smiles and hands Diann the copy.  Diann immediately hands it to me as she was not interested in looking at the numbers.

As Erin is hooking up the drugs, the steroid shots looks a little different than usual.  I say to Erin:  “What dosage is she getting today?”  Erin smiles at me and then gently laughs and says:  “You know, you sisters represent the two different kinds of cancer patients I see.  One is laid back and lets the nurses do the work and asks no questions, and the other kind needs to know everything going on.  Neither kind is better and as chemo nurses, we appreciate both kinds of cancer patients.”

And we all laugh!       firewater2

Diann and I have different styles – we always have, we always will.  I envy her style and she envies mine.  Well, she might not tell you that, but she has to, don’t you think?  But I believe she is the better patient.  She trusts her doctors, her nurses, and lets them heal her.   Certainly, I trust them, but I need to know details, facts, studies and statistics over the past 10 years.

Please answer the following poll – thank you!

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One comment

  1. I asked a lot of questions, but also trusted my doctors and nurses. I’m probably closer to you, than to your sisters approach. The one thing that always drove me nuts is that the drs. don’t read your file and since my breast cancer was pretty complex with lots of twists and turns, I had to re-explain it to many doctors, each time. Now that I’m 5 years out, and more informed, I would likely be even more aggressive with my health care teams about their recommendations.

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