WebMD BlogsBreast Cancer

My Oncologist Is My Rock

doctor smiling at patient
Kavita Jackson, MD - Blogs
By Kavita Jackson, MDJuly 02, 2021

My relationship with my oncologist is a critical and cherished one. She is as much a part of my cancer battle as I am -- the light guiding me through the muddy, shady path. In my urgent situation, I didn’t find her through a comprehensive selection process or from others’ recommendations. Rather, it was a series of chances that united us, but I know now she was meant to be my oncologist.

On paper, it may seem obvious why we got along so well. We’re both female, we’re both physicians and we’re both mothers. Although we related in these aspects, the depth of our relationship ultimately had nothing to do with either of these commonalities. I attribute my experience with my oncologist to her humanity and excellence as a provider.

I will never forget the first time I entered her exam room as a mentally disheveled young woman who’d recently received a devastating cancer diagnosis. She sat directly in front of me, our knees almost touching. Then she met my gaze with her graceful blue eyes and introduced herself. In that moment, I felt her genuine and comforting presence. An overwhelming sense of relief washed over me and the tears started to flow.

“We are going to figure this out,” she affirmed. I had no idea what kind of breast cancer I had, if I needed surgery or radiation, or if I was going to live or die, but I felt the power of having my oncologist with me, on my side.

In each and every conversation we had my oncologist remained receptive and patient, which deepened my conviction in her. Through all of my questioning -- sometimes repeating questions (thank you chemo brain!) -- she listened, kindly explained, and then checked my understanding to see if she’d answered my question. Although I know the busy, time-restricted schedule she worked within, I never felt it. When we were together, all her attention was on me.

I wasn’t just a patient in her office. I was a busy person with a budding family and career who happened to be diagnosed with breast cancer. My cancer connected us, but our conversations spanned all topics of life and I know I was heard because time after time my oncologist demonstrated that she understood me.

She acknowledged my beliefs, my values, and my goals. As she presented the best treatment options, she did so objectively, or “by the book,” and then explored each with me through my lens of my life. In this manner, my oncologist gained my trust. I knew she was acting in my best interest. I didn’t have to say many words for her to understand exactly what I was thinking; sometimes even before I realized what I was feeling, she knew. And it amazed me. She truly got me.

Being able to have this connection with my oncologist was incredibly empowering and positively impacted my experience with breast cancer. I am so grateful to have had her by my side. All individuals with cancer deserve to trust and receive the grace and compassion of their oncologist as I did.

 

 

Photo Credit: nortonrsx via Getty Images

WebMD Blog
© 2021 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.
Blog Topics:
About the Author
Kavita Jackson, MD

Kavita Jackson, MD, is a triple-negative breast cancer survivor. As a girl mom and woman of color who was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 32, she empowers other women by promoting self-breast exams, dispelling common breast cancer myths, and sharing her raw experience on the other side of medicine. Connect with her on Instagram.

More from the Breast Cancer Blog

View all posts on Breast Cancer

Latest Blog Posts on WebMD

View all blog posts

Important: The opinions expressed in WebMD Blogs are solely those of the User, who may or may not have medical or scientific training. These opinions do not represent the opinions of WebMD. Blogs are not reviewed by a WebMD physician or any member of the WebMD editorial staff for accuracy, balance, objectivity, or any other reason except for compliance with our Terms and Conditions. Some of these opinions may contain information about treatments or uses of drug products that have not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. WebMD does not endorse any specific product, service or treatment.

Do not consider WebMD Blogs as medical advice. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your care plan or treatment. WebMD understands that reading individual, real-life experiences can be a helpful resource, but it is never a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a qualified health care provider. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or dial 911 immediately.

Read More