For this week, I refer my readers to the generous, telling blog of Lisa Bonchek Adams, a woman who is 44 years old and lives with Stage 4 breast cancer. She has spent the past week holding firm at the center of a media-storm, while hospitalized.
I know Lisa and admire her for her candor. It takes courage to share what it’s like, as she does – good days and bad. Yes, her story is imperfect. But so is everyone’s.
I see beauty in her story, unedited.
Lisa’s blog and tweets are not filtered by a journalist, nor structured by a doctor to fit into an HPI or EHR. She writes directly to her readers. If you insist on literature, you might consider Lisa’s work as a splintered and intensely personal longform narrative.
The blog is kind of like a thick, old-style paper chart of a complex patient. A doctor, in trying to understand a person’s course, might read all of it, or flip through most, or just cut to the chase and scan a few recent lines and lab values. It takes time to pour through a detailed account, to appreciate what is really going on, to understand what the notes reflect.
It could be that there is no “answer,” that Lisa’s story is, plainly, what it is – about her life. Not everything needs be explained. Why peg a person’s condition? Except maybe if you’re a doctor and she’s asking you for treatment or advice.
Lisa is not asking for a diagnosis. She has a team of doctors. She is just letting you know what it’s like to be in her circumstances, in case you’re interested, or care.
I learn a lot from Lisa. I am glad that she is alive and tweeting, as she chooses.