Beyond the Disease: Getting to Know the Patients

Author: Julie Matthews
October 16, 2015

Julie Matthews

Julie Matthews

Director of Content & Social Media at The Side-Out Foundation
Julie blogs about her personal experience with leukemia and life from a patient’s perspective.She also writes about Side-Out news and events.She is a race walker, a dog lover, and a dedicated explore.org #bearcam watcher.
Julie Matthews

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Beyond the Disease: Getting to Know the Patients Holley Kitchen

This week, we focused our blog posts on metastatic breast cancer, also known as stage 4 breast cancer. We shared facts about the disease (Learning More About Metastatic Breast Cancer), addressed why stage 4 patients feel marginalized within the breast cancer community (Bringing Metastatic Breast Cancer Out of the Shadows) and touched on the lack of research for the disease (The State of Research for Metastatic Breast Cancer).

Today we focus on the patient. Sometimes in science and research, it is easy to see patients as numbers, elements in statistical analyses that determine which treatment is best to give and what outcome is likely to occur. Some people find it hard to see the person behind the patient due to their own fear of the disease. But the patients with stage 4 breast cancer are ultimately the ones who will bring about change. Their stories remind us why more research must be done and why more people must be educated.

Gloria Dunetz’s story is what inspired the creation of The Side-Out Foundation, and each day we work to impact the lives of women and men facing this disease. We may not know them personally, but giving them time to create more memories and add more highlights to their story motivates us. Along the way, we have met patients whose stories keep us moving forward, stories such as that of Detective Julie Tremblay and honored loved ones at Dig Pink® events.

You can also find many stories online, some shared by organizations dedicated to metastatic breast cancer such as the one above. Others are initiatives spearheaded by multiple organizations to increase awareness of metastatic disease, initiatives such as Breast Cancer: A Story Half Told and #ItsAboutTimeMBC.

Perhaps there are personal stories of patients within your own community. If you have the opportunity, take some time to get to know them, not just to learn about their disease, but to learn more about them as people. Everyone has a story and every story has value. Take time to listen and pass on what you learn. If you have a personal story, share it below!

“The ability to see our lives as stories and share those stories with others
is at the core of what it means to be human.”
~John Capecci and Timothy Cage

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