It’s hard for most people to imagine being diagnosed with a serious illness like cancer. It’s even harder if you don’t get your questions answered from the start. That’s exactly what happened to Scherri Woodard and why this episode is dedicated to finding the right medical team.
Even though she kept asking her doctors what kind of cancer she had, she never got her basic questions answered. After completing ten months of treatment, Scherri Woodard finally found out the type of cancer she had and it felt as though she was diagnosed all over again.
More than just the diagnosis, it’s important that your doctors answer all your questions before you get started so you know what you have, what the treatment plan is, and what you need to do to manage your symptoms.
When it comes to finding the right medical team, don’t be afraid to ask whatever questions you have, no question is bad or stupid. Caring practitioners welcome your questions and want to provide their best service.
“No one thing is ever perfect. You have to follow your gut instinct and know that it’s your body, you know what’s going to be right and not right. They’re not always right, that’s why they call them “practicing”.”Scherri Woodard
Where treatment is concerned you have the right to choose what you will and won’t do. It is your medical team’s experience and recommendations that should guide you, but ultimately you have the final say. Your medical team should be working in partnership with you and for your best interest. You are not at their mercy. You are the captain of your ship, and you need to steer it.
If you have reservations about the people on your medical team, get a second opinion, and a third until you feel comfortable with and confidence in the people guiding you.
One thought about personalities. Doctors are humans just as you are. They inherently have their personality. You have to decide whether they have a dry personality or a bad bedside manner. There is a difference.
A doctor working in oncology sees many people each day dealing with the worst situation in their life, so they naturally will develop coping mechanisms to be able to do their work. That said, they should still come across as caring individuals, even if they won’t hold your hand and cry with you (I have not met such an individual).
Your medical team should be knowledgable and show that they want the best outcome for you. They should not be dismissive and act like they have better things to do.
To make the best use of your time, do some research before you go to an appointment, and have a list of questions that are specific to that provider. For example, surgery questions should be asked of the surgeon, medical questions reserved for the oncologist, and questions about reconstruction (if applicable) reserved for the plastic surgeon.
Highlights from the episode and a link to the whole episode are below.
Here are some highlights from our conversation:
- 1:22 A chance meeting that lead to an unexpected friendship.
- 1:55 Scherri’s cancer journey.
- 7:22 Finding out she had Triple Negative Breast Cancer.
- 9:25 The importance of mental health care during treatment.
- 11:06 How Billy Joel saved her life.
- 12:50 What to do if you’re not getting your questions answered.
- 14:05 Finding Living Beyond Breast Cancer.
- 15:25 Living your creativity – for Scherri, it’s making jewelry.
- 15:46 Scherri’s hard-core creativity – playing with fire!
- 18:48 Scherri’s furry babies.
- 20:15 Doing 5K’s on your terms.
- 20:44 Struggling to eat healthy during treatment and the importance of health.
- 24:03 On having big goals, getting away, and exploring.
- 25:35 Having a happy place.
- 27:20 On gratitude, happiness, and humor.
Links mentioned in today’s podcast:
- Scherri’s jewelry website.
- Scherri’s Etsy page.
- Scherri’s favorite animal rescue – Wyoming Dachshund and Corgi Rescue
A new podcast will be released every two weeks, the second and fourth Thursdays of the month.
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