I recently found myself drawn to revisiting our 2003 video “Voices from the Lived World of Illness.” I watched four courageous people express honest and heartfelt accounts of their experiences as patients facing advanced cancer. What they said resonates with me to this day. It’s as if their words are seared into my memory.
I’ve been finding myself digging around in stacks of archival materials, writings begun but left for another day and, to my surprise, work completed long ago. One of the unfinished pieces was based upon interviews with cancer patients about the role of religion and spirituality in their lives, especially as they faced an uncertain future.
Over the years I’ve often referenced the Writing Is Good Medicine® program that I created while a medical humanist at Southwestern Vermont Regional Cancer Center. Whether in essays for this blog or presentations at medical conferences, I would use examples of patient’s writings to emphasize what may have been untold thoughts and feelings, moving the spotlight from illness to the person.
Not being a clinician, I was afforded a lot of latitude at the cancer center in Bennington. Sometimes, the staff didn’t know what to do with this medical humanist among them. On one occasion, I suggested we present an exhibit of abstract art.
“In times of crisis we summon our strength…
call on every resource…every forgotten image…
every memory that can make us know our power.”
– Muriel Rukeyser
How does one live with uncertainty when facing a life-threatening illness? Where does one find inner strength? Where does one look for supportive resources? Most patients will tell you that they frequently ask themselves these questions.
On Saturday, September 7 from 6– 8 pm the Bennington, VT-based Center for Communication in Medicine (CCM) will offer a SpeakSooner® community education forum, Re-defining Quality of Life: Living Fully With Illness, Disability and Aging at the MACK Performing Arts Center at Arlington Memorial High School in Arlington, VT. The program is free and open […]
“How to Improve Communication with Doctors” On Wednesday, July 10, Center for Communication in Medicine (CCM) founders, Dr. Bernard Bandman and Celia Engel Bandman, will be presenting a program, “How to Improve Communication with Doctors”, sponsored by the Vermont Center for Independent Living (VCIL). The event is free and open to the public. Here in […]
In the early 2000’s the Center for Communication in Medicine created a program for physicians at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center titled “Doctors Conversation Hour.”
To be a person is to have a story to tell. —Isak Dinesen
It’s hard enough that a diagnosis comes along to threaten our lives—does it also have to threaten our life stories?