October 31st, 2008 by Trisha Torrey
De-cancered — a good word, isn’t it? Look at these two faces — they look quite healthy, don’t you think?
Well — they most certainly are — quite healthy, despite the chemo both faced prior to proving neither one had the cancer she was diagnosed with.
What this photo doesn’t show, is the emotion behind it. In fact, I have trouble looking at our smiling faces without choking up. That’s Heather on the right — the young woman who contacted me last June to tell me she had been diagnosed with the same rare lymphoma I had been misdiagnosed with. We proved the professionals were wrong — Heather had no cancer at all.
And that’s me on the left — I was just so happy to meet my very healthy friend Heather and see for myself, in person, that she’s doing so well!
We met for the first time last week in Las Vegas, not far from where Heather lives, and actually quite far from my home in NY. I was there to attend an About.com conference – but we made time to see each other. And it was the very best “event” that took place during the entire visit to Nevada.
My hope for you is that you, too, will take the time to learn everything you can about a diagnosis you’ve been handed — it may be correct, or it may not. I promise you that if either Heather OR I (or Daniel, who was also misdiagnosed this summer) had believed the professionals, despite our intuition and proof to the contrary, we would not have been able to meet each other, we would not be healthy today — and we would not be here trying to inspire you to better and more successful medical outcomes.
October 18th, 2008 by Trisha Torrey
No commentary needed here. See what my friend Susan shared with me about her recent experience:
I had a routine colonoscopy, then 5 days later, I began to hemorrhage and passed out on the street corner. Some passerbys helped me and called an ambulance, but I ended up in the St XXX’s ER, one of the 9 circles of hell. I had a second hemorrhage there and was hospitalized for 3 days…
The St XXX’s ER was so horrible – you should have a permanent station there! I was tucked away in a corner room alone. I was on a monitor and I began to feel bad – my blood pressure dropped dramatically (30 points) and I called out for a nurse. Someone was passing by and he said he’d be right back. He never returned and I was by myself for another 20 min – at which point, I realized that being good wasn’t going to cut it and I needed to be assertive.
I started shouting and some staff showed up. One woman was trying to draw blood from my hand, but I was shaking so bad (probably from the shock) that she couldn’t fine a vein, so she just kept poking me while I sobbed. She never looked at me, but instead carried on a conversation with someone outside the room about celebrity gossip.
The ER was also filthy – I saw so many violations of sanitary standards.
On a better note, the GI Attending was a great doctor and once I got to the ICU, the care improved dramatically.
It had taken me years to get up the nerve to have a routine colonoscopy – it’s rather ironic that I did this for my “good health” and ended up in the hospital.
I have nothing to add to this except to suggest you take a page from Susan’s book. BE ASSERTIVE if things are not going the way you think they should. Be the squeaky wheel!
Thanks for sharing, Susan. You have provided someone else with what they need to advocate for themselves in a similar situation.
October 14th, 2008 by Trisha Torrey
We all think we know what healthcare reform means — we think it means something about universal healthcare, right?
You might be surprised to learn that “universal healthcare” isn’t what it’s about at all. It’s about shifting who gets healthcare, figuring out how to pay for it, and knowing that any success we find will be based on how we ration care.
Yes — you read that right.
Universal healthcare — it’s terminology used to confuse, actually. Most people think it means we would move to a single payer system, but that’s not what it means at all. Read more about what universal healthcare means here.
Rationing? Yes — our care is rationed now. Sometimes we are the ones who ration it for ourselves, and sometimes our insurers or the government rations for us. You need to understand it if you really want to ‘get’ reform — because the more reform, the more rationing.
Questions? Let me know — because your questions are what helps me write material to provide answers. blog – at – epadvocate.com
October 10th, 2008 by Trisha Torrey
I’ve been running a poll on my About.com patient empowerment site, asking the question Tom Brokaw asked in the debate this week: Is healthcare a right? or a responsibility?
Do we as individuals believe we should all have a right to healthcare coverage, similar to the way we have police protection, or fire protection, or education, or even library books?
Or should healthcare be looked at more as an individual responsibility, one we must pay for ourselves, such as food or shelter?
You still have time to vote if you wish — right here.
But the next question has now popped up: are we so frustrated by trying to understand where the economy is going, how it tanked, and what the bailout means that we will now rest our voting decisions on healthcare reform?
Come on over to about.com and let us know what you think!