Today was the Radiation Oncologist follow up. (aka the flow chart Dr) There is a whole team assigned to you when you are diagnosed and they follow you for years. Today I was cleared for just yearly appointments with this Dr, which is good news.
There are quite a few things about the last year that are a blur, but this is something I will never forget. I met with Dr. Jensen after I was diagnosed but before I had the genetic testing done or really knew my treatment plan. He asked if there was anything else he could help me with. I said I wasn’t sure but he could tell that something was wrong. I explained that all of this info was so overwhelming that I just needed a flow chart or something. Without missing a beat, he said, “I can do that for you.” He pulled a piece of paper from his printer and in non-stereotypical Doctor handwriting, he wrote me a beautiful flow chart. If this, then that… almost made me cry. Not because of the flow chart, but because someone cared enough, took the time to see my distress and wanted to help me navigate this scary path.
This is something that transcends cancer. It’s something all of us could do more of – taking the time to care. Take the time to look a person in the eyes. Ask if they are doing ok and really mean it. This doctor treated me like a person, not a patient. He treated me with the same care that he would give to his sister or wife. Many of the people at the cancer center are the same way – it’s one of the things that makes them top notch. Caring people. From Chuck, the valet parking guy to the nurses to the doctors – caring people make a difference.
So if you’re one of my few followers, I encourage you to challenge yourself to care more. Just that little extra bit can really make someone’s day. A simple flow chart might make all the difference to them. Do you know one of the reasons everyone loves my husband? He does this (he has no idea how rare or special it is) He asks people questions, leads them to talk, remembers their stories and follows up with questions days later. He cares. He treats everyone like they are someone. He visited with the Dish TV lady the other day. Most people might be silent while waiting for their receiver to update. Nope, not him. He asked her about her shift, what country she was in, what her hobbies were, what the weather was like etc. He sometimes says that he is just a para at the school, but it’s more than that. He talks to the kids at school like people, not problems. He plays tag with them at recess and asks about their loose tooth or their hunting trip. He plays games with them and answers questions in class if the kids don’t know the answer.
So tomorrow, be like the flow chart Dr or like Mr.Frueh & care a little extra. It will go a long way in making someone else feel like they are “enough.”