shyness social anxiety know

Caught in a NET? Shyness, Social Anxiety and finding the right doctor

Finding a new doctor is like dating. We get to know who they are, what they believe and how they approach life. We want to make sure we are compatible and can spend a large chunk of our lives together. This doesn’t mean we are crossing professional boundaries, quite the opposite, this approach enables us to look deeper into who they are as a practitioner by learning about their professional accomplishments. While in their office we must believe they are listening to us, that we are safe under their care and they know enough to help. We need to make sure they are the best person for the job. Just like dating, we want to pair with this person for a long time, perhaps even the rest of our life, so it is important to make sure this doctor is the right choice.

How do I know if I have the right doctor for me? You must get to know yourself and discover what is important to you. You must set and enforce personal boundaries and become an unstoppable force.

I think I can take some time to get to know myself, but I’m not good with personal boundaries and I don’t think I could ever be an unstoppable force. How can I do this? Where do I even start? You start right now and every moment thereafter. Force of will is a tempered tool folded and pounded to perfection. Every day we have opportunities to become the better version of ourselves, seize those moments and move forward.

There was a time in my life when I was shy, I had a hard time talking or standing up to others. If I had to walk my NET cancer journey when I was shy, this would have been impossible. But don’t fret, just because you are shy now, doesn’t mean you will always be.

Shyness and Social Anxiety

Shyness, it sucks.  That’s how I would describe it in three words. People are often surprised when I tell them I used to be very shy.  Sometimes they ask how I overcame it.  Well here is the first step of my fancy story.

In my mid-twenties, just after my mother had passed I was at a local dinner sitting with a couple friends waiting for our food.  A few booths over was a group of young ladies, one in particular caught my eye, I was entranced by her beauty and I wanted to meet her.  Unfortunately, I was frozen in fear and glued to my seat.  “What is going on?” I thought to myself. I couldn’t muster a reason why I felt this, why I was so afraid? If she was so intimidating why would I be attracted to her?

After several moments of being teased by my friends for not approaching her, I rose from my seat and walked to her table.  My hands were shaking, and my heart was pounding in my chest.  When I opened my mouth to speak, all my charm fled, and I found myself completely unable to articulate my words.  I stood there at the end of the table for several moments, I could feel their judgement piercing my soul.  In a burst of what little confidence I had, I tried to introduce myself to her, a moment passed, and they were all quiet so I walked back to my seat.

I could hear them talking about me, describing how my hands were shaking, and how weird I seemed. As I sat there eating my meal, I reflected over the moment, and I came to the conclusion that I must have appeared completely insane.

At first, I saw this as a failure, but then I realized it was a success.   I was unable to bridge my introduction into a conversation, but I was able to overcome the fear of talking to her.  I set out to do something, and I did it.  It was from this I was able to build my confidence.  I spent some time thinking about how I could eliminate my social anxiety, and over several years of pushing myself I was able to become the social butterfly I am today.

Overcoming anything requires force of will, but we are simply unable to eliminate our hardships in one fell swoop.  We must dedicate ourselves to a purpose and stick to it.  My social anxiety didn’t disappear in this moment. I had to work on it daily.  One of the first methods I used to fight my shyness was to smile and say hello to every person I saw.  When they didn’t smile back or say hello, I copped by saying to myself they were the ones missing out.

If you are a person like myself who loves people and wants to have as many great friendships as you can, then challenge yourself, talk to others. Eventually you will realize there is nothing to fear.  Most likely the person you want to talk to was wants to speak to you as well.

How does this help me with talking to my doctor and learning if they are right for me? In the beginning it may be difficult to directly talk to your doctor, but each time you stand your ground the better your footing becomes. Talking to a stranger can be daunting and by all accounts your doctor is a stranger. To complicate matters more we tend to deify their standing leading to a vast power differential. If you start making small changes in your life, these baby steps will improve your force of will and the effectiveness of your medical care. Be strong, know you’re amazing and make the most of your moments.


Discovering Hope

Shawn White Blog

Caught in a Net? 4

NCAN

Caught in a NET? You have 26 seconds to talk to your doctor

What do you mean by 26 seconds? I thought the appointment was fifteen minutes! Think back to the time you’ve spent in a doctor’s office. Once they walk you through the door to the sterile quiet office the nurse asks you the standard questions and tip taps her fingers against the key board. Then after some time the doctor enters, a few pleasantries are shared and then they ask you “So whats going on?”

This is your time to explain you condition. Since you have a maximum of 26 seconds you must have your ducks in order. If you don’t you might be leaving with regretful feelings, so make your seconds count. As human creatures our attention span is only so long, to make the most of these moments, be prepared and stick to facts.

To make these seconds more valuable make sure you write the doctor an email explaining your situation. If you would like more information on what to include in this email, click here.  You should also write up a worksheet to guide you in the meeting. On this sheet have a bullet list of the important questions you want to ask. You will also want to bring a copy of this email in case your doctor has not read it yet.

How do I prepare for these 26 seconds?

Go over your medical history and records to find the information you believe is most important and write them down.

Document the signs and symptoms you’ve experienced, if you have enough time before your doctor’s appointment create a log of these conditions to determine patterns. Try to figure out if any of your lifestyle choices are contributing to your health issues.

Create a worksheet with bullet points detailing the most important aspects of your condition.

Rehearse with friends and family to see if your message is coming across correctly. Get out your smart phone and record yourself talking to see if you can see how to improve your communication skills.


Discovering Hope

Caught in a Net?  5

Caught in a Net? 3 

NCAN

medical history records

Caught in a NET? Help your doctor help you!

We could have the best doctor, the perfect notes and the most amazing pitch in the world, but if our team doesn’t have our medical records, they won’t have the tools to help us. Doctors have a wealth of knowledge, but without our records they can’t help us how we need to be helped.

What does my doctor need from me?

A clearly presented history– Our doctor must be able to easily read our medical history. Your medical records may be collected from the hospitals and offices you’ve visited. This step may take some time, because you will include all the most important data in this booklet. Once completed send it to your doctor via email and bring a hard copy of it to your next appointment.

  • When writing this booklet detail your medical history in chronological order
  • What are some of the signs and symptoms of your disease? How long are they present (duration)? What degree of discomfort do they cause? How frequent do they manifest?
  • What factors cause these signs and symptoms to trigger, amplify, reduce. Have you discovered anything that suppresses these experiences and if so what are they?

A detailed pathology report– When sending your medical history to your doctor they will also need your pathology reports. Be sure to send all of the following:

  •                What was the location of the primary metastasis?
  •                How differentiated are the tumor/s?
  •                What is the grade of the tumor/s?
  •                Be sure to send the % of Ki-67 & Mitotic rate.

Make the most of these moments– While organizing this information take some time to read it. If you see something you don’t understand write it down and look it up. The best way we can learn about our disease is to discover how it personally affects us.


Discovering Hope

Caught in a Net 2

Caught In a Net 4

NCAN

net specialist

Caught in NET Cancer? Cut yourself out with a NET specialist

With each test of pain, I’ve discovered new ways to explain all the gifts I’ve gained. I hope my hardships will help you have the highest quality of life you can live. The cancer journey is terrible, everyone wearing this badge of bad knows this, but in our journey, we are literally held down by a NET. Often our net is invisible making it impossible to see how we are anchored to the ground. To fight our cancer, we must have the right people on our side, who can see the invisible net and can sever its strings. I have learned we must surround ourselves with experts who can spot and treat our specific condition. We might not be able to escape our confinement, but we can learn to love the life we live and make the most of our moments. With the right people on our team we can treasure our time. What kind of expert do we need for our NET journey? We need a team of passionate, dedicated and science-based experts. Consider having the following doctors on your all star team.

  • Oncologist
  • Endocrinologist
  • Gastroenterologist
  • Cardiologist
  • Primary Care Physician (PCP)

If you have NET cancer, you must have an Neuroendocrine specialist on your team. I can not stress this enough. The sooner you find one, the healthier life your will live. Of course, that raises a few questions. How do I find one? How do I know they are a NET specialist? How will I determine if they are right for me?

The Neuroendocrine Cancer Awareness Network is the best resource available to us. They know what its like to wear the badge of bad and be tied down under this nasty net of cancer. This amazing organization will help you find a local support community, guide you through the education process and aid you in finding a NET specialist.



Caught in Net Cancer 2

Shawn White Blog

Discovering Hope

chapter 1 deep breath

Life’s Beautiful Cacophony, Chapter 1, Taking a deep breath

Life’s Beautiful Cacophony

The Journey Begins

Chapter 1

 

Once upon a time…

Nestled within a mound of blankets, I listened to the muffled sounds of my bedroom. Individually they were annoying, together they were an orchestra, a comforting cacophony, a loving lullaby.

Outside my cave of warmth, was a frigid bedroom. Like a vampire, the morning air leeched the warmth from my room. Leaky air whistled from a poorly sealed window. An electric hum played with a rhythmic rattle. The ceiling fan spun, releasing sounds like tearing paper with an occasional crunchy click.

Blissful was the moment, safe and comfortable within my sanctuary of warmth. As the sun rose, my inside parts advised me to wake from my slumber. Lying in bed I relished the comfort of my cocoon. I yawned, and with a deep breath I felt something, an uncomfortable itch, a juicy-sludge within my chest.

I coughed to clear whatever it was. Instead, it moved a gurgle of something, a certain something somewhere. Again, I coughed, the slick thickness found its way into my mouth, it was a viscous, coppery, sticky… slickness.

The taste forced open my eyes, something strange was happening… I needed to spit this out, to get this mystery liquid from my mouth. Reluctantly, I reached my arm beyond the barrier of blankets.

Intense barely describes the cold sensation that wrapped my arm. The temperature contrast was excruciating, so cold, so shocking… it made me gasp for air.

The deep breath rattled my insides. I erupted into a coughing fit and with each hack, a glob of thick, mysterious, goop filled my mouth.

My fingertips discovered and grabbed a tissue box. Eagerly and with haste I pulled it under the covers. Slowly my flesh thawed, warmth returning to my skin.

After a moment of recuperation, I placed a tissue against my lips and spat into it. Cough after cough I went from one tissue to the next.  It hurt, it was a dry pain scouring my lungs for this neverending nastiness. I continued to hack until all the tissues were sopping wet. “What is going on?”  My heart worried, I needed to see what was on these tissues.

Raising my head from my cocoon I looked down. It was cold, but the chill paled compared to my terror. My heart sank into my stomach, the world slowed, and my heart raced. It was at that moment I realized every tissue was soaked in crimson, red, blood.


Words of Hope

Shawn White Blog

NCAN