Ultrasound and Imaging Course
This afternoon, I was the final speaker on the final day of a three day course titled Ultrasound/Women's Imaging. This was a conference for physicians, primarily radiologists, and others who work with mammograms, breast ultrasounds, and breast MRIs. Since I have given a lot of talks in my life, I have been assigned some difficult time slots (e.g. right after a big lunch), but being the very last speaker seemed especially daunting.
Since it has been sunny and beautiful today in Boston, and since the city is especially alive with Patriots' Day and tomorrow's Boston Marathon, I was amazed that anyone stayed in the large windowless ballroom to listen to me. The course took place at the Long Wharf Marriott, right on the harbor, so there were many competing activities nearby.
To my surprise, everyone, who was there when I arrived, stayed. Very frankly, physicians are not always eager to sit and listen to a social worker's presentation. I had been asked to speak about psychosocial issues for women with breast cancer and had prepared a talk with Powerpoint slides. The slides had been submitted some weeks ago and were in attendees' binders. At the very last moment, I decided to give a completely different talk--figuring that they were unlikely to yank me off the stage once I was standing there
So, I spoke instead about my own experience with two breast cancers, continuing to work with other women with breast cancer. It was a talk I have given before, but usually to breast cancer survivors--not to tired doctors. Here is the really good news for us all: they were visibly moved, many to tears. I don't say that to compliment my own speech, but rather to reassure us all that our doctors, even the radiologists who read our mammograms and MRIs, really care. Many spoke to me afterwards, thanking me for the reminder of the women behind the films. It is beneficial for us all, doctors and patients, to remember our shared humanity and feelings.
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