PREPARED PATIENT BLOG

Patients and experts explore what it takes to find good health care and make the most of it.

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Latest Health Behavior News

Health Behavior News Service | August 30, 2013

This week in health news: For teens, fighting is bad for the brain | Skeptical elderly turn to home remedies | Bedwetting treatments offer help | Green light for eating and drinking during labor

I Wish I'd Known Earlier...Each New Diagnosis Has Unique Demands

Jessie Gruman | August 28, 2013

Ever heard the saying "You never step into the same river twice"? It has taken me a long time to apply its meaning to my experiences with five different forms of cancer as well as a variety of serious late effects of my treatments...

Political Football Season Starts for Medicare

Trudy Lieberman | August 28, 2013

It’s the silly season again for Medicare. It comes around whenever a political campaign is about to begin as it is for next year’s mid-term elections….Politicians love to play ball with benefits for seniors.

Scary Coffee Stories – Add Cream and Two Lumps of Caveats

Gary Schwitzer | August 27, 2013

You may have seen the story the other day about a paper pointing to an association – not proof of cause – between heavy coffee consumption and higher death rates in people younger than 55. At last check, there were more than 170 stories about this study that turned up on a simple web search. But there was a point that didn’t make it into most stories...

My Journey as an Undercover Patient

Meryl Bloomrosen | August 26, 2013

Not too long ago, I had the misfortune to fall from my bicycle, and within minutes my bicycle and I were on our way to the local hospital via ambulance with serious but non-life threatening injuries. As a result of this incident, I got to experience the health care system first hand, up close and personal. Thus began my unexpected journey as an undercover patient...

I Wish I'd Known Earlier...Kids with Cancer Need Emotional Support Too

Sabrina Smith | August 23, 2013

The word "survivor" is a huge hot button for my older son, Nate, who was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) at the age of not-quite-three-years-old. The biggest regret I have from his illness is that we were so focused on saving his life and getting him physically healthy that we didn't think to bring therapy into the process for him in a full way...

I Wish I’d Known Earlier...Survivorship Care Is a Mutual Enterprise

Jessie Gruman | August 21, 2013

I wish I'd known earlier that survivorship care is neither a do-it-yourself project nor is it something that I can simply hand off to experts…As former cancer patients, we can't just walk in to our appointments with our oncologist, survivorship specialist or primary care doctor every six months or year and have survivorship care handled for us…

The Meaning of Another Obamacare Delay

Trudy Lieberman | August 21, 2013

The media has discovered another delay in another provision of Obamacare, and the new delay affects consumers’ pocketbooks directly...

I Wish I Had Known Earlier...If Your Oncology Team Doesn’t Mention the Topic of Fertility, Then You Should Bring It Up Yourself

Marie Ennis OConnor | August 20, 2013

I was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 34. When I brought up the topic of fertility with my oncologist, I was presented with a stark choice between life-saving treatment or a chance at becoming a mother.

Patient Centered Billing

Beth Nash | August 19, 2013

My husband and I returned from a weekend away to find a message on our answering machine saying that we owed money to the hospital and that if we didn’t pay it within 10 days, they would send the bill to a collection agency.

Robotic Surgery Roundup: Take Me Out to the Ballgame and Much More

Gary Schwitzer | August 16, 2013

Robotic surgery systems are spreading so quickly across the U.S. and across the globe that trying to keep up with the news could become a fulltime beat. Here are just a few nuggets in an attempt to catch up on things you may have missed...

Advocacy: The Road We Decide to Walk on Today

Debra Madden | August 16, 2013

In 1986 I developed a cough that didn’t go away for over a year. A chest x-ray confirmed stage 3 Hodgkin’s lymphoma. In the years since, I developed what is now termed as numerous “late effects”. Along the way I learned the importance of advocating for myself and others.

I Wish I’d Known Earlier...I Still Need a Primary Care Provider Since Most Headaches Aren’t Brain Tumors

Jessie Gruman | August 14, 2013

My experience has taught me that once active treatment is over, regardless of my tendency to regard every lingering ache or pain as a recurrence, if I’m getting my survivorship care from my treating oncologist or other survivorship specialist, I have to find myself a primary care clinician who knows my health history. Why?

Who’s Left Out of Obamacare?

Trudy Lieberman | August 14, 2013

The main purpose of health reform, the president said at his press conference last Friday, was to provide health insurance to people at affordable rates…Whether that coverage will be affordable or comprehensive for families remains to be seen.

I Wish I'd Known Earlier...Palliative Care Is Not a Mandate Not to Treat

Stephanie Sugars | August 13, 2013

When I signed up for palliative care in 2011, I thought I’d made my last medical decisions. In the future I’d take the least-invasive, lowest-cost approach to medical care and forego dramatic, expensive treatments. If only life with advanced cancer were so simple!

The Cost of Missing Health Care Prices

Conversation Continues | August 12, 2013

People continue to struggle finding information on how much health care services cost. Toni Brayer, Barbara Bronson Gray and Ray Burow weigh in.

Bearing Witness

John Schumann | August 12, 2013

I was naive when I decided to enter medicine. My impressions then were that doctors always “did” stuff—for patients, and to patients. We would do stuff to you (examinations, blood tests, scans, surgeries) in order to help you.

Latest Health Behavior News

Health Behavior News Service | August 9, 2013

This week in health news: When dieting encouragement goes wrong | What works for more walking at work | Vaccines: Not just for babies | Health insurance matters for cancer survivors

The Tightrope of Chronic Illness

Danea Horn | August 8, 2013

In the most recent newsletter, I talked about wanting to trade bodies with someone...just for one day. This way they could tell you just how freaked you should be about the symptoms you’re experiencing.

I Wish I Had Known Earlier...To Cast a Cool Eye on Prognostic and Risk Statistics

Jessie Gruman | August 7, 2013

For many of us, receiving a cancer diagnosis often includes hearing some statistics about the average or mean survival of people with this stage of this type of cancer. The end of active treatment may arrive accompanied by additional statistics. It is difficult, even for those schooled in the meaning of such numbers, to figure out what they mean for an individual.

Googling for Doctors and Health Information

Conversation Continues | August 6, 2013

Many people rely on the internet to look up health information or find a new doctor. However, navigating through the vast amount of resources and information online can be exhausting. Doctors Kevin Pho and Kenny Lin share some tips.

Is the Most Important Prescription for Health Care Consumers a Dose of Healthy Skepticism?

Wendy Lynch | August 5, 2013

Here’s a wonderful idea: patients and providers working together in shared decision-making, accepting and trusting each other’s input. Isn’t that the goal our health care system should strive for? Not so fast.

Being Your Own Advocate

Angie Dresie | August 2, 2013

In 2010, I had surgery to remove a 2-inch heart tumor in my left atrium, the costs for which were astronomical, but that is not what I am writing about. I am writing about what happened in the months after my surgery and a cure that cost $9.19 if you don’t count all of the unnecessary doctor visits and procedures.

Why I Don't Like the Phrase 'Cancer Survivor'

Susan Fitzpatrick | August 1, 2013

Why is it that survivors of other devastating personal traumas – fires, floods, tornadoes – rarely use celebratory hero language? Mostly, they speak of themselves as lucky…