Patrick’s Hacks



I was diagnosed with cancer in April 2001. I didn’t think of all of the advice I was given as “hacks” at the time, but now I realize they were. Ask questions. Be informed. Surround yourself with positive people. Find your passion and pursue it. I’ve collected a few hacks in my thirteen years of survivorship.

One particular hack that stuck with me is to develop a healthy relationship with your doctor and to be your own advocate. Trust in his or her expertise when you find yourself needlessly worrying and challenge him or her if you feel like you’re not being heard. If your doctor isn’t willing to answer questions or address concerns about your health, it’s time to find a new doctor.

Even though I was only 14 when I was diagnosed, I wasn’t treated at a pediatric hospital. Every time the surgeon directed a question to my parents, they told him it was my decision and that he needed to ask me. My parents gave me the support to develop a relationship with my doctor, to ask the questions I wanted to ask and to make my own choices. It was incredibly empowering and I’ll carry that attitude with me for the rest of my life.

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