Avoiding Regret as a Healthy Survivor

Healthy Survivors minimize the chance of regret--that sad feeling linked to the belief you made a poor decision that led to your predicament. It can be a decision about whom you trusted, which treatment you received or which action your took (or didn't take).

In The Power of Regret, Dr. Jerome Groopman and Dr. Pamela Hartzband highlight how "the possibility of regret shadows almost every medical decision a patient makes." The first step of Healthy Survivorship--obtain sound knowledge--helps you avoid the regret of "I wish I knew then what I know now." 

You may pay a price of increased distress while...

  • learning upsetting statistics.
  • discussing potential complications (that may never happen).
  • hearing conflicting opinions.

While making informed decisions, many people find it difficult to discuss their options in the context of what they value most. Talking openly with your doctors and nurses is essential. In addition, you may benefit from seeking the guidance and support of counselors (such as social workers), clergy and/or well-informed co-survivors.

Good news: The distress associated with informed decision making is temporary. The benefits are forever, even if things don't turn out as hoped--especially if things don't turn out as hoped. 

You cannot escape the uncertainty about the future and the possibility of experiencing the unwanted possible outcome. Nobody can. As a Healthy Survivor, you can minimize the burden of regret about your decisions. You can take comfort in knowing you did your best.  

We welcome YOUR comments!
For email notifications of new posts, subscribe here
For archives of older posts, click here.