Have you ever had to make a difficult medical decision for yourself or a loved one? This is Nancy’s story.
At age 52, Nancy* was lost. In one short year she battled cancer and suffered the unexpected death of her partner of 17 years. Grief stricken, estranged from her family and all alone, she was immobilized and in a very dark place.
Treated surgically, Nancy needed additional follow up treatment. Mourning the loss of her mate and terrified about being constantly sick from chemo, losing her hair, and concerned about her ability to keep her job she could no longer make decisions or think about her future.
Nancy’s physician Dr. Sharlene Selvaratnam was very concerned about her lack of progress and inability to follow through with recommended treatment. She understood that Nancy needed additional help to deal with debilitating emotions before she could make hard decisions regarding further treatments.
Dr. Newborg is a psychologist who works as part of an integrated team with Dr. Selvaratnam at Lynn Community Health Center. The two met with Nancy at one of her medical visits where a warm, non-threatening introduction led to the beginning of a trusting relationship. Dr. Newborg visited with Nancy at several of her next few medical visits, gently helping her acknowledge her need to move forward.
“Our job is to help her make a decision about her future that is not impacted by anxiety and depression,” said Dr. Newborg. *(patient name has been changed to preserve privacy)