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A Year of Living Sickishly: A Patient Reflects


A Year of Living Sickishly: A Patient Reflects [ by Jessie Gruman]On Friday afternoon of Labor Day weekend two years ago, my doctor called to tell me that the pathology report from a recent endoscopy showed that I had stomach cancer.

Maybe you can imagine what happened next.

At the time, I thought I could, since I had heard similar news three times before. But all my experience and all my expertise in health care did little to prepare me to meet the steep demands to find the right doctors and hospitals, choose the best treatments and then coordinate and participate fully in my care in the days following that phone call.

Health care delivery is changing rapidly as technology advances and as health reform policies to reduce cost and improve quality and safety are implemented. But realizing the full potential of these changes rests on the often implicit assumption that we and our families knowledgeably and actively participate in our care.

The essays collected here reflect on what it felt like as a patient with a serious illness to do this, 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 Year of Living Sickishly: A Patient Reflects

More Blog Posts by Jessie Gruman

author bio

Jessie C. Gruman, PhD, was founder and president of the Center for Advancing Health from 1992 until her death in July 2014. Her experiences as a patient — having been diagnosed with five life-threatening illnesses — informed her perspective as an author, advocate and lead contributor to the Prepared Patient Blog. Her book, AfterShock, helps patients and caregivers navigate their way through the health care system following a serious or life-threatening diagnosis. The free app, AfterShock: Facing a Serious Diagnosis, offers a pocket guide based on the book. | More about Jessie Gruman

Tags for this article:
Patient Engagement   Medical Education   Jessie Gruman   Relationships/Social Support   Find Good Health Care   Communicate with your Doctors   Organize your Health Care   Make Good Treatment Decisions   Participate in your Treatment   Seek Knowledge about your Health   Health Care Quality   Inside Healthcare   Medical/Hospital Practice  

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