Monday, February 24, 2014

What to Know After a Lymphoma Diagnosis

Yesterday, the Chicago Blood Cancer Foundation posted a video of their TV show, Battling and Beating Cancer. It's a special Valentine's Day episode, though it's less about cuddling with your honey and more about understanding what to do after a diagnosis. It's called "The importance of obtaining a second opinion when diagnosed with cancer."

I've posted something from the hosts, Scott Seaman and Charlene McMann, before. They do some good stuff (though I recall disagreeing with the way they presented things in the past).

Not too many disagreements here: the bulk of the 27 minute video is an interview that Scott does with Jean Ridgewood, a nurse practitioner in Hematology at the University of Chicago hospital. While the title focuses on second opinions, the interviews get into a bunch of issues that a new patient should think about: getting second and third opinions, understanding the side effects of chemo, understanding blood counts, communicating with your doctor, staying healthy during treatment, scanxiety, and being aware of how reliable the info is that you are getting from cancer bloggers. (Always ask your oncologist if you have questions. Good gravy -- don't take what I say as the final word about things. I'm no doctor.)

(**OK, my one slight disagreement: there's a real focus in the video on traditional chemotherapy and dealing with its effects. If this is geared toward new patients, maybe mention some non-chemo treatments? At least a nod toward them? The "side effects" discussion assumes a pretty traditional type of chemo, it would seem. But, hey -- one video can't do it all, so it's pretty minor.)

And one really nice thing that Scott says in introducing Nurse Ridgewood: remember how important nurses are. As much as we need to value and trust our doctors, it's the nurses who end up spending the most time with us, especially during treatment. Nurses are the best. I have yet to meet a bad oncology nurse; they need to be special people to take that on, I think.

All that said, I have great admiration for Scott and Charlene, who created the Foundation after Scott's NHL diagnosis. They do a lot of good, especially in the Chicago area, in making people aware of blood cancers, of advocating for patients, and in encouraging research. Bravo to you both.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I want to second Bob's comment about the nurses. At Penn, where I get treatment, the nurses are outstanding!