Talk About Change
Please Note: To protect our clients’ privacy, we have not used actual names. However, the excerpts and circumstances are exactly as presented. Client references and writing samples are available on request.
Times of transition are the occasions when we tend to see our lives and ourselves most clearly. It is the time to talk. If there is someone in your life facing a challenge, the chance to look at life as a meaningful whole and speak openly about their feelings is a caring gift.
“Patient Conversations” was initiated by Camden Writers at a cancer center in New England, and provided an important opportunity for people facing difficult diagnoses to speak openly and clarify their thoughts. In another project undertaken for a major hospital, we documented the narrative of hemophilia patients who had received blood transfusions tainted by HIV in the 1980s. A 2019 history addressed the challenges of caregiving in these difficult and painful situations, including a network of friends who gathered around a widowed mother of two as she fought her own battle with cancer.
Barbara was waiting for surgery. When her doctor came to say hello, he found her lying on the gurney, wearing her operatic helmet and braids. “I just wanted to get a smile from him,” Barbara recalled. “I wanted him to notice me, to think about who I am as a person.”
Lydia, pictured here, invested in these conversations to the fullest extent when, with characteristic honesty and courage, she addressed her past, present and future. From the start of her struggle with cancer, Lydia wanted to set an example for others. “Patient Conversations” explores the stories of people encountering medical challenges.
Patient Conversations is tailored to people facing a wide variety of challenges, as well as the caregivers who tend them. Clients include a number of doctors who talk about their work, a gentleman diagnosed with Alzheimer’s who gave the gift of his history and reflections on his diagnosis to his family, and a number of men who have talked openly about their struggle with prostate cancer and the way in which it has affected their lives.