The Cancer Olympics or A Patient's Best Advocate

The first book I read this year (which was the last book I was reading at the end of last year), was titled The Cancer Olympics, by Robin McGee.  The author had cancer, but because of inadequate medical care, she was not diagnosed until it reached the late stages.  To add "insult to injury," her home province of Nova Scotia did not offer the best care chemotherapy for the type of cancer she had.  In the book, McGee chronicles her battles not only with her illness, but her early medical providers, and her provincial government.  How did it turn out?  Well, it is someone writing a memoir, so you can guess how it turned out - though not in the way you will think when you start the book.  I'll just say she gets three gold medals, but you'll have to read the book to find out how.

I mention McGee and her book not because it is uplifting and inspirational, which it is, but because of one of the themes of her book. That is: A patient must be his/her best advocate because - to be a little snarky - for some people in healthcare, it is just a job.  To a patient, it is his/her life, and ultimately, it is up to the patient to ensure that he/she is getting the best care possible.

It is shameful to hear when patients don't get proper medical care.  I was very lucky in his case.  Of course, I had some issues, but whoever I went to for help, whether it was a hospital staff member, or even my insurance company, I was met with co-operation and a true willingness to work with me to solve the issue.

Now, after almost three years of participating in online forums, talking to strangers on the street, etc, I've come to realize that, to put it nicely, many times, proper medical care slips through the crack.

A way to see things is like a project. The project is your health. Doctors, technicians, insurers (whether private or govt) are part of your team.  And you are the project leader.

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