Geoff McLennan, Prostate Cancer Patient and Advocate

As the leaves fall and a chill in the air prompts us to reach for jackets and scarves, a sense of warmth and gratitude fills our hearts. It’s a time for hot beverages and gathering around crackling fireplaces, cherishing the simple joys of life.

Amidst the seasonal changes, our thoughts turn to the holidays, with images of football games, hockey matches, and parades. During the celebrations, it is equally important to reflect on the people who have been there for us throughout the year—the medical professionals, or as we affectionately call them, “Medpros.”

As we compile our lists of holiday gratitude, let’s remember to include the healthcare professionals who have played crucial roles in our lives. From genetic counselors providing insights into our family histories to the dedicated urologists, nurse practitioners, radiologists, oncologists and our general practitioners, they’ve been pillars of our well-being.

In the years to come, we may add more specialists to our rosters, ensuring that we continue to thrive in our journeys through life. As we express our holiday gratitude, it’s important to recognize that the lives of Medpros are far from easy. Recent articles in medical journals and the media shed light on the challenges they face – high rates of mental illness, long, grueling hours, the heart-wrenching experience of losing patients, harassment, and premature retirements. These are real people facing real struggles in their tireless commitment to our health and well-being.

Our Medpros not only care for us but also carry the weight of these demanding roles on their shoulders. As we gather with friends and loved ones this holiday season, let’s raise our glasses to these unsung heroes who dedicate their lives to our care. Their commitment and sacrifices deserve our gratitude and appreciation.
Having access to healthcare nearby is a blessing many Americans, unfortunately, do not enjoy. For them, seeking medical attention often involves long journeys, including mass transit, plane rides, or train trips. It’s a sobering thought that reminds us how fortunate having transportation is.
Reflecting on the care and support I’ve received in 2023, I extend my heartfelt thanks to those who have played a pivotal role in my medical journey:

  • To the radiologist who processed my MRI, your expertise provided me with the clarity and insight I needed on my health journey. Your keen eye and precision are deeply appreciated.
  • A special shoutout to the genetic counselor at Myriad who helped me navigate the complex world of genetic testing and results. Your guidance and explanations were invaluable in understanding my test results. It’s heartwarming to know that Myriad regularly recognizes its employees, a testament to their supportive and professional work culture.
  • Thank you to the lab technician who processed my Prostate Specific Antigen tests with care and efficiency. Your diligence ensures that I receive accurate results, and I’m grateful for your contribution to my well-being.
  • My urologist—you’ve been my rock throughout the year, diligently overseeing my prognosis and medical needs. Your expertise and compassionate care have brought me peace of mind and confidence in my health journey.
  • Thanks to the urology nurse practitioner who went above and beyond, reminding me to complete pre-visit questions and insurance information. Your diligence ensures that every aspect of my care is well-managed.
  • A round of applause for the IT professionals who keep the online medical systems accurate and accessible. Your behind-the-scenes work is often unsung but is vital in providing efficient care.
  • A special mention to the oncologists who treated two of my friends battling prostate cancer. Your expertise and care not only saved their lives but also allowed me to continue cherishing their friendships.
  • A heartfelt thank you to the men’s cancer support groups and other groups that offer online and free updates on care, and to simplify complex medical science, and featuring superstar Medpro presenters. Your resources have been a source of education, inspiration, and support.
  • Finally, my sincere apologies if I have unintentionally omitted anyone who contributed to making my 2023 medical journey more pleasant and manageable. Your dedication and hard work have made a significant impact on my life, and for that, I am truly thankful.

I encourage you to consider a simple yet meaningful way to express your gratitude. If you are inspired to send a note of appreciation or extend other forms of recognition, think about including a donation on behalf of your Medpro. Whether it’s a research institution, university, medical school, local hospital, or addressing inequality and social injustices, your contribution can make a difference.

To make the process easier, we have included links at the end of this post to cancer organizations such as the American Oncology Society, the American Cancer Society, and the American Urological Associations that accept donations. Don’t forget the invaluable support groups for prostate cancer, like  Active Surveillance Patients International, which deserve our thanks and support. These groups, often led by local healthcare volunteers, some of whom are cancer survivors or have experienced the loss of family and friends, are true champions in the battle against this disease.

Lastly, let us embrace the holiday spirit with a heart full of gratitude, knowing that the care we have received over the past year or years has given us the promise of a renewed life and a brighter future. As you gather with loved ones and indulge in the holiday feasts, I leave you with one piece of free medical advice: Perhaps, this holiday season, consider skipping that extra dessert and savor the gift of health.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. I hope it has ignited a sense of gratitude for those who have been instrumental in your healthcare journey, instilling in you the confidence to look ahead to a brighter, healthier future. Happy Holidays!

Geoff McLennan, MPA

Additional donation sites for cancer care:

American Cancer Society

American Urological Association

American Oncology Association/Cancer Net

Read more like this: Biomarker Testing: Empowering Patients in Prostate Cancer Management

Geoff McLennan, MPA, Prostate Cancer Patient and Advocate

Author Bio:

Geoff is dedicated to helping families and friends support a prostate cancer patient. He joined the board of Active Surveillance Patients International (ASPI) in 2018 and is an 11-year PCa patient. As a PCa patient advocate, he envisions providing a broad understanding of how patients can collaborate with clinicians for realistic medical care. He enjoys meeting and learning from his clinicians, cancer researchers, providing free online programs for patients, and reminds us that “to live, learn and thrive with PCa” is the motto of ASPI. He is glad he took science courses for understanding a healthy lifestyle that includes exercise and diet.

Geoff also volunteers as a board member and past chairman of the Placer County Mental Health Advisory Board where his interest includes therapy and resources for AS men, and a broad oversight of community mental health programs and innovations. He is married to Constance McLennan, a fine artist, has a grown son, and lives in Northern California.

*Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author, and do not represent the views or opinions of Myriad Genetics or its affiliates. It is important to consult with your healthcare provider.