ITW n°61: Cloé - Oncologist.
today, the beautiful Cloé, 30 years old, oncologist, testifies on Mister K fighting Kit. Because knowing the commitments and understanding what the K pros feel is also the goal of these interviews, to arm ourselves stronger together.
Because oncologists are our first medical pillars, they are a bit like your General Practitioner in every sense of the word, their main role is first of all to target the cocktail(s) most suited to your K, and to measuring the effects throughout the course, it's a bit like Mister Magic Potion, a priori you can talk to him about everything, he will sometimes even be a bit like your shrink, he will manage the side effects, basically it's a bit the Superman during and after K. For me, he's a bit of my confidant, because even if it wasn't Rose every day, he made my battle easier at every moment... (personal dedication: thank you Doc L, my wonderful onco, which will have made my days as a fighter sweeter...)
Thanks to Cloé we discover today this beautiful life commitment, motivated by a deep desire for humanity.
After reading the words of the sweet and competent Cloé I think you will all want to have her as your onco ;)
Very nice discovery.
Let's get started:
Who are you ?
First name: Cloé
Age: 30 years old
Where do you work: in Paris
What are you specialized in?
medical oncology and “integrative cancerology” (use of complementary medicine in oncology)
Why did you choose this or these specialties?
I chose to be a oncologist in my 6th year of medicine. We had fabulous courses at the university which reflected the globality of this human, intellectual and access to research specialty. My very Anglo-Saxon side will recognize today freely and without shame that it was above all my personal family history combined with the practical internships during the externship which made me want to do it. My mother is now cured of stage IV lung cancer, 10 years after the diagnosis, her fight for life is a strength that has allowed me today to be a doctor close to patients. I am convinced that when we encounter difficult times in our lives, using our experiences is an opportunity. The honest relationship with patients, the quality of communication in care, and medical diversity were important criteria in the choice of this specialty.
I knew very early on that I especially wanted to help patients live better with their illness and treatments. For me it was essential to treat and understand the pathophysiological mechanisms of cancer and the necessary treatments but also to be aware of the limits of what I was going to prescribe. I had seen the benefits of meditation on pain management and that of diet on the management of nausea and vomiting and that is how I became interested in integrative oncology. My friends at the faculty called me “the great enlightened one” but today I believe more than ever in the integration of these therapies in the treatment of cancer. I was lucky to be supported by different Teachers who helped me to train abroad.
Why do you agree to share your story today?
I came across your project thanks to Instagram, I appreciated our meeting and your commitment to the fight that you are also leading. I want to support your project which I find beautiful, fair and practical. And because today I am ready to talk about my job with sincerity :)
What are your qualities (in a few words)?
On a professional level I would say: empathetic, adaptable, voluntary and organized. I think I found a specialty that corresponds to my qualities, because I also have many faults, but in any case I have qualities that I have been able to develop as my training progresses.
What are your passions (in a few words)?
Travel and meditation, two very rejuvenating elements, fashion for its lightness, and dance for its creativity.
How do you announce “bad” news when you announce a K?
(for example: do you have ready-made sentences, depending on what you adapt to the patient: e.g.: age, social environment, personality of the patient, etc.?)
First of all, for me at least, it's never pleasant to announce news that by definition is bad. But it is a medical procedure which is learned thanks to theoretical models as frameworks, supplemented by practical training (which still lasts 5 years) which allows one to be as precise as possible in one's speech depending on the patient and most serene about the message we are going to convey.
I have just finished my internship so I am at the beginning of my real experience as an oncologist but I try to take real consultation time, not 5 minutes… and to be available (for example I turn off my phone…). There are lots of tools that we develop as we practice.
For me, the difficulty lies in understanding and recognizing what the patient we have in front of us can and wants to know. Each patient is different and yes, as you point out, age and level of education seem important in guiding their speech. Afterwards I think that there is no generality, it happens that certain announcements are more complicated than others…
What phrases do you think should be avoided when dealing with a K fighter?
- At the time of announcement
“you have a 30% chance of escaping”! I hate statistics... doctors sometimes think they are God, it's important to be realistic but optimistic and at my young age I have already seen so many unforeseen things.
- During the fight
“a little more courage”, or the kind of sentence where a caregiver or a doctor puts themselves in the patient’s place…
- in general
The problem of oncologists facing the end of life! That is, avoiding patients when things go wrong… I have seen too many oncologists avoid meeting patients and their families when there is no more hope. Obviously this fell on the internal side but that's another problem. The real problem is that as an oncologist, we support patients from diagnosis to recovery, and sometimes until the end of life. We are fortunate to rarely be isolated and to work with multidisciplinary teams, so we can follow a patient at the end of life in addition to the palliative care team but continue to support them.
How do you prepare before the announcement, what is your method to shield yourself?
I read the medical file in depth to anticipate questions and be able to answer them. No method to shield myself, I stay myself and experience helps.
What are your first thoughts (before the announcement and after)?
Before and after I take 1 minute to breathe, this allows me to be more available with the patient I have in front of me and then to be able to continue my day.
What do you advise the patient after such an announcement?
What would you advise your loved ones? Do you take the time to talk to them too to support them and give them advice?
Of course, as a cancer specialist we treat the patient but we very often have to meet the families. I recommend early follow-up by a psychologist for those close to you. Taking care of those around you is a real question because it is fundamental but can quickly become time-consuming. Relatives do not always have the same questions and the same fears as the patient, which remains our priority. In general, I organize family interviews during dedicated consultation times.
How do you feel after the announcement?
it's very variable, some go very well, some are very sad, but once again it's part of my job.
Do you think you know how to react well?
I think I am reacting better and better but in these moments we cannot control the sometimes violent reactions of patients which are indirectly attributed to us. I learned a lot and I continue to learn in every situation…
What would you like to improve in your method?
adapt even more to the individual I have in front of me.
Do you manage to gain some distance each time, when you return to your daily life in the evening?
not always, but often, fortunately most of the time J I often need an airlock, like transportation or walking home. I have built a very stable personal life which is my strength, and I have learned to take time for myself to recharge my batteries. I often go on vacation, even for a few days, to leave Paris and I discovered meditation which I practice regularly and it is a real source for regenerating my batteries.
What do you do to take your mind off things when you are too affected?
I'm going out, the best medicine is laughter J and I'm going to dance!
What would be your best advice/tricks for patients/relatives during the fight (in the hospital, at home, etc.)?
there are so many... if I had to choose 2:
-remain active in their care
-do yourself good!
What do you recommend to manage anxiety and insomnia? (no medications necessarily, it could be tips)
for insomnia which is often linked to stress, I recommend a body scan, it is a meditation to be done lying down so perfect in bed before falling asleep which aims to feel each part of your body, frees your head and It allows you to focus your attention by reducing parasitic thoughts that can disrupt sleep. It is accessible to all, free or almost free. In hospitalization, benzodiazepine type medications are easily prescribed which can very well help temporarily but be careful of addiction.
What are your tips for facilitating treatment (in a flirtatious setting, examples of beauty, “well-being”, sport) ;)?
Walk every day if possible and do sports adapted to your desires and possibilities. More and more cancer services benefit from sports coaches.
The best healing creams?
cicalfate is not bad or equivalent, zinc-based cream, also prefer vitamin A.
The best products to limit burns in the event of radiotherapy for example?
any paraben-free moisturizing cream, do not hesitate several times a day after the session and especially not before D there is no study on all the creams on the market so what suits you (budget, habit, etc.)
What treatment do you recommend for mucositis/canker sores?
sesame oil, the best oil in the world, as a gargle, except in cases of candidiasis, but for mild mucositis grade 1 or 2 it is perfect! It's great for dry skin too, but be careful in the sun!
Do you believe in the benefits of “alternative” medicine?
(Type: acupuncture / homeo / auriculotherapy / psychiatry..?)
Yes of course it’s my specialty… in a few words:
- Respect the indication: “management of adverse effects linked to treatment and the disease”, and understand why to use this tool rather than another!
- Be careful with food supplements during chemo, there are many drug interactions!
- Do not confuse with alternative oncology, I have seen patients arrive in catastrophic states because they started to be treated with plants…
- Know the therapists to whom we refer our patients; for me it's the experience that counts. For example, for massages, the therapist must have experience in oncology and request the biological assessment of the patient he receives. Let me explain if he has severe thrombocytopenia (decrease in platelets with risk of hematoma) it is a contraindication to massage!
If so, which do you think are the most suitable to accompany the K fighters?
It depends on the indication which depends on each patient so I will say all of them.
What preventive screening advice could you give us for certain Ks?
Respect existing screenings
Do you know useful links to recommend to K fighters, associations, sites, specialized centers?
Each service often has an association that already has plenty of advice, so don't hesitate to ask your oncologist
For food, the government site is well done: EAT MOVE!
For sport: SPORT & CANCER!
For information on food supplements, herbs and phytotherapies: MSKCC !
To find a certified meditation teacher: ASSO MINDFULNESS !
Free reign, tell us what you want, which would not be found in these questions:
A little practical advice: choose the center or service where you wish to receive treatment; continuous monitoring is always easier than changing cancer specialists 5 times!
Thank you Cloé for sharing your precious testimony with us.
The pros also have their say on Mister K fighting Kit, if like Cloé you wish to share your story (whether you are an oncologist, surgeon, radiologist, nurse, caregiver), meet here , send me your questionnaire and 1 photo of yourself so that I draw you ;) to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note that I do not retouch any Interview, they are completely free, it is your freedom, your story, I just add my personal touch with the illustration, they are delivered as they were sent to me ;)
Many of you send me your testimonies, thank you for your precious trust, for this same reason, the broadcasts of your interviews will sometimes be broadcast in several months, but know that I keep and transmit absolutely ALL the testimonies that are sent to me, Thank you for understanding.
Lots of beautiful positive thoughts to everyone!!