Join the team .. building relationships
It might sound obvious, but treating people how you expect to be treated yourself, goes a long way to getting a good degree of positivity from what might on the face of it seem like a perilous situation .
When you are given the news that you may or may not have been expecting, that you have a cancer diagnosis, it suddenly becomes all about you .
It occurred to me almost straight away on diagnosis day that how I conduct myself during the process of treatment and potential recovery could go a long way to making that journey a more positive one.
During that chat with the consultant she said many things about what I was going to go through. One thing that has always stayed with me was when I was told that statistically I had a 50% chance of making it through the process.. but that positivity was the best way to view things , everything was in place , all the medication, doctors and nurses needed to help me would only be beneficial if I joined the team and became part of the journey.
I had to become part of my own journey , looking in,almost as an interested spectator.
I took a few days to think about what that actually meant and realised that it would really be about building a relationship with the medical team working to help pull me back from the abyss.
I have endeavoured to work on that basis right from those very early appointments.
Just basic things such as turning up for all appointments and knowing what I want to discuss, to monitor my progress and communicate that progress effectively.
Once I was assigned a BMT nurse things got really very positive on the communication front . I could contact her at anytime with worries or concerns . We messaged virtually daily on the run up to my transplant and well after. Now four years later we still message frequently if I need anything or even just to let her know how my latest bike ride has gone ! We have a relationship that has given me so much confidence that things are going in the right direction.
When I relapsed in 2018 Julie was with me and my wife in the consultants room to hear the news . It made such a difference knowing that she would be there for me on the next stage of the journey.
The importance of that communication loop being in place was brought into sharp focus when I had to get UCLH involved in the next treatment phase as I was approved for a CAR T-Cell therapy trial.
On arriving in London I was allocated a trial specialist nurse who would be a liaison point for me similar to Julie in Nottingham.
Once again that has worked very well, when I have any appointments at either hospital I always let the other one know what’s happened .
Being very proactive in my own communication loop has ensured we have had little or no miscommunication or problems over the time .
I really now get the importance of building a positive working relationship with my team. A team that has over time run into dozens of dedicated health professionals who have shaped the journey.
I feel strongly that just simple things, like remembering peoples names and using them when you meet ensures they also have a positive vibe coming from you towards them.
The journey begins : Diagnosed with Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.
February 2018 Relapse
July 2018 Remission:The journey continues
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