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“Well it’s better than being dead” and other adolescent medical comments

July 2, 2014

Oncologists have a very clinical way of assesses your pain and discomfort during chemo and radiation. They’ll simply dismiss your discomfort by categorizing it as “side effects.” Well, there’s noting “side” about an effect that hits you head on. The larger issue is there’s no money provided to the hospitals for them to even put research into finding drugs to lessen the side effects of your treatment. If HMOs covered it, the hospital would have an entire wing dedicated to its treatment.

When I mentioned I had neuropathy in my hands and feet after chemo for testicular cancer at the Stanford Cancer Center, the oncologist’s reaction was, “What’s the choice, having neuropathy or dying.” That’s true, but his comment irritated me with its insensitivity, and callous dismissal of the pain and partial numbness that has afflicted my hands and feet for years. Then I thought about his statement and realized it wasn’t a valid point, on the compassion scale it was equal to confront a teenager with their bad behavior and then their reaction is “All right I’ll die. I should have never been born.” So somewhere between the extremities of those two points there should be a compromise—and that’s more research into relief from side effects, as well as an improvement in bedside manner of oncologists.

I guess that’s why I wrote about it in Today Cancer Tomorrow The world.

 

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