Wow, what a year.
Early this year, I was told that I was in remission from the multiple myeloma cancer which had been diagnosed late last year. Two and a half months of chemotherapy did the trick. I didn’t have the stem cell transplant in February as was originally planned.
I spent the next 8 months dealing with the neuropathy in my feet, the persistent but much-improved back pain which was my initial symptom, a new heart problem from the inflammation that developed around my heart, and now hip pain as a late side effect from the chemotherapy.
Most of you have heard all of this before and I’ll spare you the details. Needless to say, I’m hoping 2015 will be a bit better.
What I realized the most through this experience was how different it is to be the patient and not the doctor. I was the one who had to take the medications, the therapy, the surgery, and the imaging studies. This time it was other doctors taking care of me. I’ve gained a lot of insight and understanding about how patients deal with and feel about their medical problems.
From the first moment I heard that dreaded word “cancer,” to eventually hearing the word “remission,” I knew that I was in very capable hands and had a fighting chance to overcome this disease.
I have a strong faith and knew that if God wanted me to survive, that I would. I have to admit that I know some people who also had great faith and yet didn’t survive, a mystery that I believe we will understand someday.
I’m back to work and am so happy to see the faces and to receive the heartfelt greetings of those patients I’ve come to know over the past 28 years. I love working with my wonderful staff and fellow providers. I hope to continue practicing medicine for as long as I am able to do so.
I just looked at the summary of all my medical expenses for this past year. Boy, am I glad I’ve got medical insurance.
We’ve come a long way in treating and overcoming diseases, but it ain’t cheap, and, unfortunately, it’s not going to get any less expensive.
We all, (that is to say, doctors, patients, administrators, drug and medical device manufacturers, and legislators) need to come together to devise a more affordable health care system.
This will only happen when these groups put aside any selfish interests and work toward a common goal. Obamacare is an attempt to improve the cost and delivery of health care but falls far short of what’s needed.
All that aside, I’m excited for the near future of medicine. I see the rapid development of new drugs, cancer treatments, surgeries, and cures for all sorts of diseases.
I think and hope these will be available to us in the very near future. We’re seeing the results already today. My being alive is a testament to this.
I think we have a very bright future in medical care, but it has to be made affordable and widely available.
Here’s wishing all of you from the bottom of my heart, a happy and very healthy new year.