I was driving home the other evening from a long day of work. I spent most of the day working with engineering teams and colleagues on new products. I spent the time rationalizing how techs and specs could meet a challenge of healthcare providers and patients.
I felt as if I had made some progress. A productive day. A good day.
30 minutes into my travel, the phone rang, and I saw that it was a colleague in Ohio. As soon as I answered and he said hello, I knew something was different. Something was wrong.
He quickly apologized for skipping the small talk and jumping right to the point.
Our fellow colleague found out that his daughter has cancer. Can you help?
I immediately said yes. I am willing to do anything I can to help him, his daughter, and their family.
So I began to discuss what will happen between now and an actual diagnosis. I began to rattle off the questions to ask, the physicians to ask to speak to–radiologist, pathologist, as well as the specialists downstream such as pediatric oncologist, radiation oncologist, or surgeon(s).
I began to list off the resources available. The internal and external resources they should ask for within the healthcare system. Recommending to get copies of everything, to have summaries written down of the reports, the diagnosis, and treatment options. I spoke about clinical trials. The benefit to being enrolled as a patient to a clinical trial. The difference between an academic medical center and their local facility.
It all came rushing back to me like a waterfall.
My heart breaks with the diagnosis of cancer to his daughter.
Yet, when I hung up the phone I felt invigorated. I felt alive. I felt complete. I felt whole.
I did so because right there in that very moment I realized once again what my personal legend is….my personal legend is to impact the lives of patients.
To make something as scary and diverse as cancer a bit easier, simpler, and less frightening.
To change the status quo in healthcare. To improve their ability to become engaged in the care of their self or a loved one. To improve their own individual patient experience. To make a dent in the life of one patient, one diagnosis at a time.
My personal legend is impacting the lives of patients.
What will be your personal legend in 2015?
(At least once a year I read the Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. It is one of the top 5 most important things I have read in my life. I recommend for all to read as you begin writing a new chapter in 2015.)
As always, you can feel free to contact me at: CANCERGEEK@GMAIL.COM or follow me on twitter @cancergeek