Lessons learned from hitting a tree with an ATV.

When I was starting my practice, a cousin of mine was diagnosed with brain cancer (glioblastoma).  Unfortunately, he passed away, but before he did he taught me (inadvertently) a valuable lesson when dealing with patients.

In cancer practice, it is fairly routine to tell patients with brain tumours (or other cancers that have spread to the brain) that they cannot and should not drive anymore.  Letters are sent to the MTO (in Ontario) to inform them of this restriction, and we hope the roads are a safer place because of it.  In many cases, it is the taking away of the license that upsets the patient more than the other thing we talk about… It’s one thing to be dying, and patients often accept this – it’s another to lose independence.. Breaking the bad news of “you can no longer drive” is something patients are often unprepared for, and often makes people angry.  I’m not overly religious – but it’s almost like people can accept ‘God’s Will’ when it comes to life and death, but accepting what seems like one more government intrusion limiting independence is another story…

Anyway, he had his license taken away, and then, on Thanksgiving weekend, he had an ATV accident at camp – although he had a few scrapes, there were no significant injuries –  Except, possibly, to the tree.

This made me realize is that there are a number of issues for patients in real life that we don’t always think of when related to life with cancer, and seeing patients in clinic.  While it is beyond the scope of this blog (or my expertise) to discuss sex, money, relationships, or religion, I will discuss fishing, hunting, camping and cottaging.  If I figure out how to set up a discussion board, I’d like readers input too.  How have you (or your loved one) managed a lung cancer diagnosis with your hobbies or passions?  Have you been able to do the things you’ve wanted to do?  Have you felt that you missed out on some of these?  How have you managed?  etc.