How a Doctor Does Cancer

Welp, it is finally my turn. I just got diagnosed with cancer and suddenly I am in the same boat as thousands of other women that I have helped over the years. What the hell? How did this happen? What did I do wrong? I started off feeling weirdly vindicated and relieved, since I knew something was off for awhile and just couldn’t put my finger on it. I am sure that sounds strange to say out loud but I am sure that some of you know what I mean. You know your own body. You know when something is wrong. Sometimes you just feel it. Or, in my case, sometimes you know too much and overthink it and then chastise yourself that you are being a hypochondriac and dismiss it. It’s like what every medical student and resident goes through. As soon as you learn about a new disease, you swear that you have it if you even have one of the symptoms. It gets kind of ridiculous if I am being honest.

Anyway, moving on…..now I actually have the diagnosis of cancer. It is not in my head. I can no longer brush off symptoms. It’s real. It’s time to buck up and embrace it and kick it’s ass! I have quite the road ahead with chemo, radiation and who knows what else. I have an impending “hair do over” to look forward to. But you know, maybe it will actually come back thicker and nicer? It could happen. Fingers crossed.

I have a lot to do in the coming months. When I hear people say that my first thoughts go to my family, my employees and my patients. Ever the overachiever, my plan is to care for all of them, while kicking cancer’s ass and just zoom along like nothing ever happened. But, as the last few days and extra hospital admits have shown me, I have it all wrong just a bit. I actually need to back up and reprioritize a little. By that I mean, I need to be better about looking after myself. I need to recognize the fact that “gasp” I may have a few limitations coming up. What?! Not me! I need to realize that I can no longer travel at the speed of light 24 hours a day. Sometimes I have to stop. Sometimes I will have to work from home or not at all. The last thing I need to do is set myself up for failure. That won’t help me or anyone else. I also have to learn how to say no. Dear God that is not an easy one.

Now, don’t misunderstand. I am not about to stop being me. As we speak, I am sitting at home working on this blog and mapping out my sixth chapter in my book about lymphoma and I have plans to donate any proceeds to lymphoma research when this is all done. I do not intend to shrivel up in a corner and disappear or anything. I just have to listen to my body and slow down when I need to.

So, the bottom line is that I plan on beating this thing……and helping patients along the way. I have been a patient more times than I care to think about in my short 51 years and each time I have been able to use my first hand experience to help patients and others. I will slow down when I need to. I will follow my own advice and the advice of my doctors but cancer, you better stand up and take notice! It’s your turn to be afraid! I am gonna turn the tables on you and use you to actually help even more people! Hah! Whaddya think of that?