Red Flag Care

Sometimes we know what it takes, or we think we do, when it involves walking into unknown territories. Oftentimes it's more than the obvious, it can also take the inner core of that adrenaline and that gut feeling that signals that maybe you need a minute to settle and as I always say marinate on that idea for a second.

Being told you have blood cancer, multiple myeloma, or cancer, in general, is a shock that, for many, is not easy to absorb. Over the last few months, after speaking with a variety of people with similar walks, I found some of their stories quite shocking regarding what they received in care.

Red flags mean go cautiously

I want to speak on these red flags that some people genuinely don’t recognize. Let’s think of it this way- not only should doctors pay attention to red flags when we tell them the course of our symptoms and how we’re feeling, but we should also take heed to signs that we miss when discussing our care with the right team.

The doctor makes you think: "Say what now?"

I think it’s fair to say most people comprehend when their doctor tells them that something is not right. The response is usually high anxiety, shock, and grasping what was uttered.

Things usually get murky when details are expressed while the patient is grasping the news in stages. What I mean by that is...Don’t have me sign over my last rights when I’m an emotional mess.

Red Flag No. 1


Though the job of a doctor is to diagnose, treat, and administer care; the human aspect of it for some (not all) goes out the window. When your doctor, or quite frankly anyone in that room other than the doctor, utters statements like:

  • “I don’t know what more to say,  holding back your treatment is a dumb thing to do”.
  • -“Look, I’ve had many years of experience and I believe I know what is best for you”.
  • -“Why take time to decide, time is not on your side and you must start treatment like today”.

Red Flag No. 2

You will know if compassion is missing

As I always say each situation is so very unique and different; however if it quacks like a duck…then it’s a duck!

The delivery of a diagnosis is key, and perhaps the way some physicians go about it is of course from a textbook, but it really comes down to compassion. You’ll know if your doctor is missing that, just listen to him or her and how they react if you ask a simple question, yet you get abrasive feedback for any or all queries.

Red Flag No. 3

Who am I?

Though I detest the “Please state your DOB”? This can be a trial when going through the many steps when spending often than not a short period with an overbooked healthcare unit; however, with the T’s crossed and the, I’s dotted we may still run into confusion about which patient is which, how does that happen?

Wrong Yolanda? How does a doctor you’ve been speaking with for some time still forget who he/she is speaking with? It happens and should you feel confident that little mishaps like this only happen every now and again, should you be okay with that?

The bottom line is sometimes we know in our gut whether this union is going to work or not. We want to trust the establishment of care, but weirdly enough every experience will not be the same; more than likely you'll have to weigh the pros and cons in moving the mark of these conversations. So what does this mean?

Follow your gut. Follow the Red Flags

 The time to fight is now, with integrity, grace, hope, and a smile….when you feel like it

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