Posted by: 2in10 | 12/10/2010

how long?

I had a doctor’s appointment today and the medical assistant cheerily asked, “How long have you been in remission?” I don’t get asked that question very often any more and I was stunned. I wasn’t ready for a ‘teachable moment’ so I gave the easy answer, “Sixteen years.” I should have said:

“Actually I think of myself as well. I have been tumor- and treatment-free for 16 years.” OR the longer version…

“I wouldn’t frame it that way. Using the term ‘remission’ carries a lot of negativity. I would never use the term ‘cured’ but I have to acknowledge that I have been tumor and treatment free for 16 years and I don’t expect to be sick again. ‘Remission’ suggests that disease will come back and that is dangerous to hear from a medical professional, even one who means well. It would be better to ask, ‘How long has it been since you had ovarian cancer?’

Now I have to call the nice people in that office because Peggy Huddleston says it’s my duty to correct them before they say such an awful thing to someone else.

Wish me luck.

Carolyn

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