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Taking an Active Role in Your Recovery

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | November 12, 2014 | Alexandra Rosas

I was once someone who never felt that I'd be normal again. But recovery is made up of small steps that lead us to a successful life – these steps toward wellness matter, because being active versus passive about your recovery greatly increases the likelihood of a positive outcome...

Why Attend a Patient Support Group Twenty Years Later? 'Because I Remember'

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | November 3, 2014 | Jack Aiello

I was reluctant to attend. I didn't have leukemia and am not a "touchy-feely" person, which was my perception of a support group. However, I dragged my IV pole of medications and went to this meeting where I met my first fellow myeloma patient named Jim – finally, someone who had the same disease as me. So to this day, whenever I meet with one or a group of myeloma patients, I make the following plea...

Bring a Companion to Your Next Doctor's Appointment

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | June 26, 2014 | Danny van Leeuwen

Should you bring someone with you to your next doctor's appointment? If you're asking, the answer is yes. If you're asked, how do you be the best companion? Prep in advance, listen, record and ask questions. Know why you're going. That means two things...

All You Do Is Complain About Health Care

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | June 25, 2014 | Jessie Gruman

"All your Prepared Patient essays do is complain about your health care and your doctors. That's why I don't read them." Yowzah! Do I really complain? Not to be defensive, but I don't think so. Every week I work to vividly describe insights that might shine a little light on this project that patients, caregivers, clinicians and policymakers – well, the list goes on – share of trying to make health care more effective and fair...

What Would Mom Want?

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | June 23, 2014 | Michael Wasserman

We've watched it many times on television or in a movie: The patient lies in the intensive care unit, gravely ill, with the family at the bedside. The doctor walks into the room and asks, "What do you want us to do?" and opens up a huge can of worms that is, in fact, ethically incorrect. The first priority that a physician has is to their patient...

When Your Partner Resists Your Health Care Advice

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | May 20, 2014 | Barbara Kivowitz

As a very stubborn and advice-resisting ill partner myself, I can't say if this issue is gender-specific. But I do know it's an issue most couples dealing with illness face, more than once. Here are my two suggestions for what to do when your partner resists your advice...

My Partner, My Memory

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | April 15, 2014 | Barbara Kivowitz

I don't know if it's growing older, or New England winters, or the meds I take, or watching Homeland and Downton Abbey in the same week – but my memory isn't as crisp as it used to be. My partner, Richard, has become part of my cerebral cortex...

Color Us Stressed – How to Deal

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | December 2, 2013 | Jane Sarasohn Kahn

Coast-to-coast, stress is the norm for most Americans: 55 percent of people feel stressed in everyday life, and far more women feel the stress than men do. It will take a village to help manage stress, including but not limited to our doctors.

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

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | August 13, 2013 | Stephanie Sugars

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!

Bearing Witness

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | August 12, 2013 | John Schumann

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

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | August 9, 2013 | Health Behavior News Service

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

Caring For Loved Ones When Our Best Efforts Aren’t Enough

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | March 18, 2013 | Nora OBrien Suric

How many friends/family members/social workers does it take to change the mind of a frail person? Even if the frail person was/is one of the leading geriatric social workers in the country?

Latest Health Behavior News

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | March 7, 2013 | Health Behavior News Service

Recent health behavior research news stories: Friendships Are Good for Our Health | Obesity Lowers Quality of Life in Boys | Health Centers Have High Satisfaction Rates | Diabetes + Depression Increases Risk of Death

A Year of Living Sickishly: A Patient Reflects

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | September 13, 2012 | Jessie Gruman

The essays collected here reflect on what it felt like as a patient with a serious illness, to cobble together a plan with my clinicians that works and to slog through the treatments in the hope that my cancer will be contained or cured and that I will be able to resume the interesting life I love.

A Thanksgiving Reprise

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | December 1, 2011 | Patient Perspectives

During Thanksgiving week, many patient bloggers shared what they were thankful for. Though there were many ' here are what four of them had to say.

A Visa for the Dying: Travels to Another Country

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | November 21, 2011 | Janice Lynch Schuster

People who are dying have much living to do, whether it is measured out in days, weeks or months, and the demarcation lines between the living and the dying might as well be drawn in pencil. But the truth is that it's important to talk about dying and what it means to each of us.

Hard Cold Facts, or Hard Cold Doctors?

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | November 10, 2011 | Andrew Robinson

I was first diagnosed while on vacation in 1994. A doctor entered the room and, without warning, said that I had 'a terminal and incurable form of leukemia' and 'less than five years to live.' Just like that. Turns out he was wrong'

1st Person: The ICU: A Caregiver's Perspective

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | October 20, 2011 | First Person

Erica Kosal's husband, Jim Young, has battled complications of chronic Lyme disease since his diagnosis in 2008. In 2010, Jim's hospitalization for respiratory problems took a turn for the worse, resulting in a 3-week ICU stay.

Off Pitch: Simple Conversations Go Astray

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | October 6, 2011 | Patient Perspectives

In this round-up, patient bloggers describe a mix of difficulties they experience in everyday conversations due to their illnesses.

Patient Engagement: Expert Connie Davis Talks about Challenges

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | September 19, 2011 | Connie Davis

This interview with Connie Davis is the second in a series of brief chats between CFAH president and founder, Jessie Gruman and experts - our CFAH William Ziff Fellows - who have devoted their careers to understanding and encouraging people's engagement in their health and health care.

Guest Blog: Recovery and Healing

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | August 29, 2011 | Katherine Ellington

Medical student Katherine Ellington grapples with reconciling her two roles as daughter and doctor-in-training as her mother recovers from a heart procedure.

The Emotions Illness Brings

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | August 5, 2011 | Patient Perspectives

The experiences and emotions brought on by having an illness or disability can be complex and sometimes unexpected. In this blog roundup, three patients share theirs.

The Conversation Continues: What to Say to Someone Who Is Ill

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | June 14, 2011 | CFAH Staff

In The New York Times This Life column, 'You Look Great and Other Lies', Bruce Feiler shares what he learned after his diagnosis and treatment for bone cancer. Bruce describes the gestures and words that are helpful and offers cautions about what not to say/do when someone you care about is ill.

Thoughts on Life, Death and Facebook

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | June 14, 2011 | Kate Lorig

For more than three weeks I have been hanging around the ICU. Lara, my friend and colleague, is poised between life and death, having rejected her five-year-old transplanted lungs. She awaits the gift of a chance for life from another donor. Lara wants so much to live. During her last conversation with me before being placed on a ventilator, she talked about her fear. Now breathing and most everything else is done for her. Drugs keep her oblivious to the suspense.

Conversation Continues: Evidence of the Effects of Empathy

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | March 11, 2011 | CFAH Staff

A TIME article this week reveals new research that 'doctors who are more empathetic actually have healthier patients.' More on empathy and its role in health outcomes.....

Cancer Survivorship and Fear

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | February 28, 2011 | Andrew Schorr

I had breakfast this morning with my friend, Dave Garcia. Dave is a pit boss on the graveyard shift at the Belagio Hotel in Las Vegas. He is also a 52-year-old chronic lymphocytic leukemia survivor. Today he was to see his oncologist and get his latest blood test results. Would his white blood count be in the normal range? As you can imagine, Dave was on pins and needles.

Getting Through the Shock of a Devastating Diagnosis

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | January 25, 2011 | Jessie Gruman

It could happen tomorrow. The doctor says, "I'm sorry, I have bad news," and suddenly your life is turned upside-down, leaving you reeling from the shock of a potentially life-threatening diagnosis. Here is some advice on getting through that initial period.

Sharing the Burden

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | November 4, 2010 | Richard Sloan

Jessie has written about her perspective as the patient in an extremely stressful situation. I can add a different one: that of the husband of my seriously ill wife.

When Someone Close Has Cancer...

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | September 28, 2010 | Jessie Gruman

Update on Jessie's status and some words of wisdom from her article, 6 Ways to Help When Someone Has Cancer, originally published in an October 2008 issue of Parade magazine.