Listen in on a Doctor/Patient Heart-to-Heart

Jonathan Adler, PhD, left, Dr. Annie Brewster, Dr. John Trusheim and Michael Bischoff at a healing story session hosted by Health Story Collaborative.

CaringBridge author Michael Bischoff of Minneapolis, a husband and dad of two living with glioblastoma multiforme, and his neuro-oncologist, Dr. John Trusheim, had a heart-to-heart conversation—before an audience of thousands, listening in-person and via Facebook Live—about what it’s like to have, and to treat, a terrible brain cancer.

The conversation, which took the form of a healing story session, was facilitated by Dr. Annie Brewster and Jonathan Adler, PhD, of the Boston-based Health Story Collaborative.

The depth of the what doctor and patient shared was so powerful, and so beautiful. We invite you to watch this video, whether you are a patient, family caregiver, loved one or medical professional.

Here are just a few snippets that should not be missed:

  • Hear Michael talk about the healing power of storytelling, and how it gives hope, and strength. “Even if I die tomorrow,” he said, “I still want to celebrate miraculous healing today.” (Listen from the 8-minute mark.)
  • Listen to Dr. Trusheim,  assistant clinical professor at the University of Minnesota Medical School, medical director of neuro-oncology at the Virginia Piper Cancer Institute and medical director of the Givens Brain Tumor Center at Abbott Northwestern Hospital, reflect on how physicians might be perceived as “aloof” in a clinical setting. He said, “I have always felt that the doctor has to be compassionate, but objective.” (Watch from the 43-minute mark.) And how he describes his role in Michael’s health journey, “The job of the doctor is to be able to step back and say, ‘What is best for this patient?'”  (Watch from the 1:05 mark.)
  • Dr. Brewster, a practicing physician who is also a patient living with multiple sclerosis, talks about how doctors navigate the boundary, and sometimes blurred lines, between compassion and objectivity. (Watch from the 1:06 mark.)
  • Dr. Adler, whose primary research focus has been on the relationship between storytelling and mental health, talks about observing students at Harvard Medical School learn about partnerships between doctors and patients. (Watch from the 1:08 mark.)

Michael said that starting his CaringBridge site in 2015, on the day of his brain tumor diagnosis, was the start of finding ways to tell his story of illness and healing in ways that connect him to others and support his wellbeing. He said, “I’m deeply grateful for how CaringBridge has made that possible for me, and so many others.”

More on the Topic of Healing

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  • Jennifer Stauffer

    This video was amazing. My brother died from glioblastoma multiforme about 20 years ago at 19 years old. I will pray for you Michael for continued healing. Your story has touched my heart.