How my complicated medical history has helped me to understand the specific and peculiar marketing needs of doctors

Only a few of us decide to focus our entire career on helping doctors market themselves.  So how did I choose to be one of those very few?

Doctors have been part of my story for longer than I can remember.  I’ve gotten to know them quite well throughout my journey.

I have a high pain tolerance as a result of being poked and prodded in every way. I’ve seen specialists of all kinds and been subject to surgeries, operations, tests, and treatments more than I would ever want to count.



Visiting one doctor’s office after another throughout this peculiar life, I’ve gotten to know them well enough to identify patterns.  These patterns have allowed me to form observations on how they think or don’t think about marketing.

But I’m getting a little ahead of myself.  We’ll come back to what I’ve learned about doctors and their marketing later in the series.  I promised I would tell you my story first as much anxiety as that causes me (and believe me, it is a considerable amount!).  A promise is a promise, so here goes.  I’ll see you on the other side and pick it up again when we’re back a little bit closer to my comfort zone, which is focusing on YOU.  

Here’s the story…

Let’s go back to the beginning when my mother brought me home from the hospital for the first time.  She felt like something was wrong.  During the first five weeks of my pediatric visits, the pediatrician tried to convince my mother that it was typical newborn stuff such as jaundice and would work itself out.  Her intuition would not rest, so she decided to get a second opinion from another pediatrician at our neighbor’s urging.  That visit would set the tone for much of my life.  I was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (“ALL”), given only six months to live due to its advancement stage.

The new pediatrician saved me.  Sloan Kettering was a pioneer of bone marrow transplantation, and the trial was what I needed. He managed to get me into a trial at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center for a new treatment.  The timing was perfect.  No one expected me to live because kids died of this during that time, and for that reason, I know my life is a gift. Doctors are why people like me can live and share the unique skills they have to offer.  

Thanks to this experimental treatment, I went into remission (the first time) about a year and a half later.  The celebration that followed was the first hint of many complications to come.  In all his exuberance, my father decided to take me to his social club’s Christmas party.  It was too soon and too much for poor little me resulting in pneumonia weeks later, complete with a collapsed lung.

Some history of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, including its pioneering work in bone marrow transplants:

This early ordeal set the tone for my life.  I’ve been to more medical appointments than anyone can count.  I’ve been tested and treated for a compendium of conditions related to my cancer diagnosis and beyond: melanoma, low blood counts, high blood counts, infections, asthma from my collapsed lung, hearing issues, vertigo, gallbladder issues, tumor scares, cancerous cells, and more that I cannot even remember.  I’ve been seen by dozens of different kinds of specialists, from oncologists to otolaryngologists, from neurologists to dermatologists.

Since birth, doctors and the medical industry have been a constant presence in my life.  My health remained complicated from the very beginning and still is.  While I wouldn’t wish this kind of life on anyone else, I also realize how many gifts it has given me.

  1. It’s given me an appreciation for just how precious each moment is.  I know it’s cliché, but I can’t say it any other way.  Clichés are truthful, after all.  Every moment past my first six months of life is a gift that I know would be wrong to waste or let go unappreciated.

  2. It’s given me the resolve to live life on my terms.  When you grow up as I did, people tell you what to do and what not to do CONSTANTLY, and generally in a way that limits your potential.  While this is with the best intentions, I have learned not to let it constrain my aspirations.

  3. It’s given me an irrepressibly optimistic outlook on all things.  If you endure what I’ve suffered from, you don’t want to be any more miserable than necessary.  My ability to look for the good in every person and situation I encounter is annoying to some, including my husband, but I don’t care!

  4. It’s given me endless admiration and respect for the doctors who are willing to push the limits of what’s known and strive for innovation to serve their patients, including ones they may never meet, to advance state-of-the-art treatments.  My childhood illness would have ended my life far too early without these uncompromising visionaries and risk-takers.

My story is not easy to share.  I am more comfortable when focusing on other’s needs.  However, I knew it was vital for you to know this about me.  Now you can see why I have such passion for helping doctors promote themselves to do more critical work, especially saving and improving the quality of so many precious lives.  You also see how my experiences have helped me get to know doctors well and understand their particular and unique needs regarding promotion and advocacy.

I will share in posts that follow how my story relates to doctors and how they unwittingly sabotage their promotional efforts.  Doctors unconsciously limit the application of their treatment resulting in fewer benefits for patients.  I’ll see you then!

All the ways that doctors shoot themselves in the foot by not taking control of their marketing and digital presence
Why I don’t like to tell the story of my childhood leukemia diagnosis, and why I realized I need to.

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