Relationships With Your Medical Professionals: Trust and Confidence

I had just moved to Minneapolis from Maui when I received my diagnosis of a glioblastoma multiforme.

I had just moved to Minneapolis from Maui when I received my diagnosis of a glioblastoma multiforme.

I had just moved to Minneapolis from Maui, Hawaii, where I had been living from 1999 to 2004, when I received my diagnosis of a glioblastoma multiforme. The very night I arrived, I had a seizure during the night and was rushed to the hospital. Being in a new city not knowing anyone or where to go, I was at the mercy of the ambulance to take me to the closest hospital. I didn't have time to be scared. I didn't know what was going on. I couldn't even answer the EMT's questions. I knew something wasn't right. I was very lucky that I was brought to a hospital where the neurosurgeon and neuro-oncologist were proactive and treated me as a patient and not just as a diagnosis. This is where relationships with my medical team and the support from my family and friends really became important.

Relationships with your medical team should be built on trust and confidence. As a patient, I needed to trust the doctors when they said they had my best interests in mind. I also need to be confident that they will give me the best treatment options — and the best chance for longevity — and not just the standard of care. Trust works both ways. The doctors should trust you to do research on your own and come in with questions. I sure had a lot of them. After all, it's my life and I wanted to be sure that everything is being done that was medically possible to give me the best opportunity at long term survival.

Once your treatment has been chosen and agreed upon by everyone on your health care team (I was the no. 1 person on my health care team and you should be on yours as well), then your team expands to the nurses, radiologists and all the other medical professionals who will be playing a very important part of your plan. You need to have trust and confidence in everyone that they will be administering, reading, scanning and giving you the best possible care that you deserve.

Having this trust and confidence in the medical professionals on my health care team allowed much of the unknown about what to expect before during and after my treatments to go away. I knew that I would be taken care of and that my quality of care met or exceeded my needs and expectations.