When we expect to die, but don’t

by Carolyn Thomas      @HeartSisters

Shortly after I was freshly diagnosed with coronary microvascular disease (MVD), one of my readers told me that, for the past 12 years, she too had been living with MVD after surviving her own “widow maker heart attack”, just as I had.  Immediately picturing the future prospect of somehow coping with ongoing bouts of exhaustion, shortness of breath and debilitating chest pain, my surprising gut reaction was:

“12 years!?  TWELVE YEARS?!?!?!  I can’t do this!”

Well, Happy Heart-iversary to me: on May 6th this week, exactly 13 years have passed since my initially misdiagnosed heart attack was finally correctly diagnosed and appropriately treated, but even more amazing to me, I’ve now lived with MVD for 12 of those 13 years.     .      .     Continue reading “When we expect to die, but don’t”

“To just be a person, and not a patient anymore”

 

THIS Embroidery Tessa Perlow by Carolyn Thomas    @HeartSisters

New Jersey oncologist Dr. James Salwitz, in his blog post called Why Is The Doctor Angry?, tells the story of the day that one of his patients became very ill. Instead of calling Dr. Salwitz, however, his patient emailed a doctor 3,000 miles away in California as he became sicker and sicker. The California doctor forwarded the emails back to Dr. Salwitz, who immediately sent his patient to hospital with multiple system failures. Dr. S said that he felt angry about his patient’s behaviour, explaining:

“Did I look him in the eye and tell him that I was upset, that he had neglected his own care by not reaching out and in doing so he violated the basic tenants of a relationship which said that he was the patient and I was the doctor?”

“Did I remind him what I expect from him and what he can expect from me?  You better believe it – I was really pissed!”

My own question to Dr. Salwitz was: “So did you ever find out from the patient WHY he did not reach out to you?”   Continue reading ““To just be a person, and not a patient anymore””

“To just be a person, and not a patient anymore”

by Carolyn Thomas  @HeartSisters

Some lively online discussions recently, initiated by yet another interesting article from Dr. James Salwitz called Why Is The Doctor Angry?  This time around, Dr. Salwitz tells the story of one of his patients who had become very ill, but then emailed a doctor 3,000 miles away in California rather than consult his own doctor as he became sicker and sicker. The California doctor forwarded the email back to Dr. Salwitz, who immediately sent his patient to hospital with multiple system failures. Dr. S felt angry about his patient’s behaviour, explaining:

“Did I look him in the eye and tell him that I was upset, that he had neglected his own care by not reaching out and in doing so he violated the basic tenants of a relationship which said that he was the patient and I was the doctor?”

“Did I remind him what I expect from him and what he can expect from me?  You better believe it – I was really pissed!”   Continue reading ““To just be a person, and not a patient anymore””

“Live a healthy life, then die quickly at 90”

by Carolyn Thomas     @HeartSisters

woman funny oldYou’d hardly expect a physician who spends his life trying to cure cancer to suddenly shift gears and suggest that maybe, just maybe, we should “stop trying”. But it turns out that New Jersey oncologist Dr. James Salwitz agrees with a review of data published in the September 2012 issue of Lancet Oncology, entitled “First Do No Harm: Counting the Cost of Chasing Drug Efficacy.” *

An accompanying Lancet editorial suggests that during the 10 years between 2000 and 2010, “many new cancer drugs produced marginal extensions in survival and simultaneously increased risk of treatment-associated death and side effects.”  This compelled Dr. Salwitz to write:    Continue reading ““Live a healthy life, then die quickly at 90””