a doctor talks to a patient and they smile happily

Community Views: Meaningful Connections With Providers

Too often, having metastatic breast cancer also means having difficult relationships with your doctor and other healthcare providers. We hear a lot of stories from members of the AdvancedBreastCancer.net community about gaslighting and feeling dismissed.

The team at AdvancedBreastCancer.net was curious about positive experiences. What are the stories of healthcare providers making a difference?

Recently, we asked members of the Facebook community: "What is the most meaningful thing a healthcare professional has ever done for you?"

Here are some of the uplifting experiences they shared.

Personal calls

Many respondents shared how special it was to receive personal calls from their doctors. Doctors checking in and answering questions outside clinic hours helped our community members feel valued.

"My surgeon would personally call me just to check on me. That meant a whole lot."

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"Gave me his cell phone number and told me to text him any time I have a question – and he answers right away!"

"At my initial consultation, my oncologist gave me her personal cell phone number and told me she was going to treat me like I was her mother! AND SHE DID!! THE BEST DOCTOR EVER!!"

"Called from India to make sure that I had my 'all clear' result."

Compassionate presence

Another common response was having a healthcare professional offer their presence. Providers who listened and cared helped build a good relationship. Respondents felt like more than a diagnosis.

"My breast surgeon held my hand while going under."

"Listened."

"My former primary care physician told me he and his wife were praying for my awesome hubby and myself in their daily prayers as we were in a 'storm' of life! It really touched my heart."

"My team of doctors and nurses and their staff have been so caring, loving, and kind in helping me with my journey with breast cancer. I have had so many beautiful moments with all of them. Support with all their kind words and loving care."

Prioritizing care

Other respondents shared the special ways providers helped them navigate their healthcare. Doctors went above and beyond to ensure they received the best care possible.

"The doctor who told me my breast cancer was back as metastatic was already on the phone with my oncologist, and she cried with me while telling me we were going to figure it out. Such a special woman!"

"I had an infection in my leg, and my surgeon for my breast cancer came in on the weekend to pack it. He was an amazing doctor."

Feeling seen

Often, the meaningful moments were in the little things. Particular words or actions spoke volumes about the person behind the scrubs or lab coat. Respondents felt seen by these moments of personal attention and connection.

"My PA brought medicated mouthwash to my house on New Year's Eve. She is one of a kind!!"

"My doctor always tells me that I am beautiful."

"For my first Faslodex shot, in my glute, a nurse sang a Christmas carol to me while injecting the thick solution, which I know requires a bit of effort. I was looking out the hospital window at a display of Santa and his reindeer on the rooftop of a nearby business. I seem to always be sick around the Christmas holidays, and when I feel sad, I think of that nurse and how she made my first injection at Christmastime a treasured memory."

"Just having a regular conversation as friends. Getting to know each other as people, not just as doctor or nurse and patient. And the hugs when things are going well."

"Made sure I got a birthday cake and got my hair washed. I had to be at [the medical facility] for about 2 months before I had my baby girl. There were complications. I was on complete bed rest."

Thank you to our community

The team at AdvancedBreastCancer.net appreciates all the thoughtful responses to our question. Please continue to share your meaningful experiences with healthcare providers in the comments!

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