Regular readers of this blog will have seen a number of thoughtful comments by "patient dave", the most recent of which was related to public posting of hospital infection data and other quality and safety information. Well, I am sorry to report that Dave was recently diagnosed and is under treatment for renal cancer. This was one of those incidental findings during a routine X-ray for a shoulder problem, apparently a common way for asymptomatic kidney cancer to be discovered.
He is maintaining an on-line journal for himself and for friends who want to send him notes. He told me I could post it here. I am sure he would like to hear from other bloggers. www.CaringBridge.org/visit/davedebronkart.
Here is a recent excerpt from his journal.
DO YOU HAVE CANCER, OR DOES IT HAVE YOU?
If this question's new to you, think about it. When I first got the diagnosis, the cancer sure had me: I was at its mercy. Every change in my outlook came from outside me: it was something that seemed to happen to me, something over which I had no control.
I have a mental image for 'the cancer has me.' In that image, the cancer is like a big dog with a chew toy (me) in its jaws, shaking the daylights out of it and tossing it around.
The pivotal change came when I chose to get in action and do whatever I could, learn whatever I could. Mind you, who am I to know how to fight a cancer?? Do I know anything about the biology of cancer? No. But now my outlook is that I have a cancer in my life, and I'm doing what I can to manage it .... and I'm creating new ways to interact with it, beyond what others have thought of. (Your feedback here tells me that.)
I say it's vitally important that YOU realize what a difference this makes. Remember something I said back in February: citing a study, a nurse in my email group said 'If you're actively involved in creating your care, learning everything you can, and finding the best care available, then your outcome automatically moves to above the median.'