Cesar Rodriguez

Outside of the Clinic
Tuesday, October 29
In a society where everything is moving at a faster pace, the time a doctor spends face-to-face with a patient continues to shorten while the increasing amount of paperwork a doctor has after clinic hours makes it easy to forget the purpose of medicine. Unfortunately, it is seldom that doctors have an opportunity to step back and be reminded that sitting in front of them during a clinic visit is a person whose cancer diagnosis has uprooted their life plans and family dynamics. As a myeloma doctor who gives the news to others but is not being directly affected by it, it is difficult to grasp the emotional impact one is creating.

It was through my first trek with MMRF in Iceland that I got to bond on a personal level with five patients with myeloma who confided their fears, thoughts and emotions that drove them to opt in or out of certain treatments. It made me realize that my idea of the best treatment option might not always mean it is the right one for an individual. The unique experience of sharing a physical and emotional challenge with my hiking team has made me more sensible to each patient’s unique situation, to motivate them along their journey and develop trials that are more patient-centered. It is through these experiences outside of the clinic that I’ve been reminded why I’m here and how resilience is fueled by hope.
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