- Question from mary: When I ask a question of my oncologist he becomes angry and I finish the appointment depressed. What can I do?
Sounds like you're having trouble communicating with your oncologist, Mary. You need to come up with a new way to try to establish a connection that will get you through your illness, and will meet your needs. Try taking someone with you to your next encounter. Try perhaps starting with a very frank statement such as, "I left here angry last time, and I hope today that you'll be able to answer this question for me." Or perhaps some other statement that you can practice before you go in, that will put your issues on the table and that will let your oncologist know that you have some questions that need to be answered during your next visit.
It's valuable to acknowledge that there's a limited amount of time, and to deal with how you want to use that time. You might ask if your doctor wants to receive questions in advance. You are in control of the time, and it's important that you make it clear that you have goals as well, and that you need to work together to accomplish both of your needs.
- Jennifer Armstrong, M.D. Sometimes it can be helpful to set up a different office visit just to discuss some questions that you have. While it may seem that this should be unnecessary, sometimes it can free up both you and your physician to focus on these questions. I totally agree with Dr. Schapira that bringing along someone can be a big help. I'm sorry that you're having to work so hard at this, but I congratulate you for recognizing the importance of your needs.
On Wednesday, March 15, 2006, our Ask-the-Expert Online Conference was called Coping with Your Changing Feelings and Relationships. Lidia Schapira, M.D. and moderator Jennifer Armstrong, M.D. answered your questions about facing your fears head-on, handling moodiness and depression, diffusing tension with your partner and feeling close without sexual activity, as well as issues of self-image and femininity.
The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.
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