I recently read an article in Cure Today on prostate cancer. Supporting the man with prostate cancer: The ground rules. There’s very little difference in what the person with a new diagnosis needs, even if the diagnosis is very different.
- Bring someone with you to the appointment. This is a great, but there are people who can ask doctors questions, listen and take notes at doctor appointments. They may opt to have their doctor appointment independently. It’s how some of us are wired. Know what works best for you. If you want someone to be with you, ask them. Be wise about who you choose. Can your partner listen? Are they good note takers? Do they help you come up with questions to ask your medical team?
- Get your information from your medical team, not the internet; not even the health food store. If you do hear information floating around, talk with your doctor if that information’s relevant to your situation. It may not be! I had numerous times when well-meaning (but not actively aware) people would tell me stories. Often these people had not even had cancer, or known someone close to them who had! They just knew the story to pass on. Warning: The story is often scary and wrong.
- No matter how much you like your first doctor, get a second opinion. You can always go back. Ask them each your treatment plan.
- Be present with your friend/family member. You don’t have to follow them around like a puppy, but realize they’ll need you, and if you’re working as a team, they’ll value your input. I’d recommend you listen before sharing your opinion, but if invited in, sharing their process is a vital role to their health and the health of your relationship.