Being A Cancer Patient and Clinician

I always knew I wanted to help people but wasn’t sure who I wanted to help.  In my experience as a psychotherapist, I’ve worked with people of all ages and with various mental illnesses.  With each new job, I would dive-in and adopt the clinic’s particular focus but I was always searching for my area of specialty.  I didn’t think my calling would involve my own illness.  I now realize part of having cancer is so I can help others with their struggles with cancer.

I recently returned from the national conference for American Psychosocial Oncology Society (APOS).  APOS is a group of mental health professionals that focus on providing mental health care to cancer patients.  During the conference, I struggled with the transition from patient to clinician.  I went to the conference as a clinician but with each workshop, I found myself identifying more with the patients participating in the research.  However, as both a patient and clinician, I left the conference feeling inspired and hopeful for the future of oncology treatment.  I firmly believe that during my children’s lifetime the days of burning (radiation), slicing (surgery), and poisoning (chemotherapy) will not be the only treatment options for cancer patients.  I learned that cancer treatment is moving towards personalized care based on a tumor’s genetic makeup.  The conference was not solely focused on mental health aspects but overall care.  If treatment outcomes for cancer patients improve, the overall mental health of patients and their families would also improve.

Upon returning from my trip, I met with my boss and discussed the direction I wanted to go within the practice.  He asked me if I would be interested in working with clients with chronic illness.  He informed me about an upcoming meeting with MedStar, the largest healthcare provider in Maryland overseeing 10 hospitals.  I hope that this new contact will bring new opportunities and growth.  By now, I shouldn’t be amazed about how things happen for a reason, but each time they do and I connect the dots, I’m deeply humbled.

This Wednesday, Feb. 26, I have a CT scan.  The results will dictate my future treatment.  My treatment options may be four more months of poison (chemo), or the burning (radiation) of a spot in my right lung and the slicing (surgery) of my left lung, or all of the above.  Please keep me in your prayers.

4 Responses to Being A Cancer Patient and Clinician

  1. Lori Cox says:

    Good Luck Kevin – as always you are an inspiration to us and are in our daily prayers! xxxxx

  2. Marlene Krahn says:

    HI KEVIN AND GIRLS – hoping and praying for the best on your test – good luck, thanks for letting us
    know. I admire your courage and outlook on life love you

  3. Laurie Wilbricht says:

    Kevin-we’re sending lots of love, prayers, and MT for your CT.

  4. Julia Strain says:

    Will be praying for good results on CT scan. Thank you for using your experience to help others. I so admire your attitude, courage and determination.

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