Star Trek Voyager was the first Star Trek show to feature a female captain. Capt. Janeway and her crew are stranded in a distant universe and it takes them all seven seasons to find their way back to earth.
My Janeway is a cutting edge leader and expert in her field. She administers a relatively new procedure called IORT and people from as far away as Saudi Arabia come to see her. She thinks outside the box and can connect the dots in a way that impresses me. She is also candid about her views on the medical system including its pitfalls. Good leaders are not afraid to express views that might not be popular. I like her forthrightness and her willingness to share her opinions with me especially when it comes to my treatment.
She demonstrates leadership the way I teach it: good leaders know how to be vulnerable at the right time in the right amount. In one of our first meetings she tells me that her sister had cancer and father passed away from cancer. When she tells me this last part, she gets emotional. She adds, “and this is why I have dedicated my life to what I do.”
Here’s a doctor who is not afraid to feel. Here is a doctor who’s committed to saving lives for personal reasons. As a career coach this makes me quite happy: people who are passionate about their career are the best at what they do because it is more than just a J-O-B to them. And with breast cancer, I want the best.
The doctor/patient relationships I have will last anywhere from 5 to 10 years easily. I will see them more often than I see my primary doctor. These relationships may last longer than a relationship I have with a significant other. Since they will be a major influence in my life, I want a team that will be a positive influence on me–something else I teach: good leaders know how to be a positive influence.
I start my four weeks of radiation treatments right before Christmas. My Janeway is taking two weeks off from Christmas through New Year’s but she comes in to see me that second week while she is still off. I am so glad to see her because I had seen another radiologist the week before as I’m supposed to be checked on every Tuesday. The radiologist who covered for her kept interrupting me and wouldn’t let me finish my sentences.
Good leaders know how to listen. My Janeway is a good listener and empathizer. She doesn’t speak until I am done talking. Is it really that hard for people to wait until the other person stops speaking? You would think that this is just common sense. But all too often this is a skill that needs to be practiced.
On my last day she tells me to come by for healing hugs. I take her up on her offer every once in a while especially if I have made a fresh batch of kale chips because Tuesdays is Kale Chip Tuesdays.
I recently had to see her again for “radiation recall.” This is what can happen if after radiation you get a spider bite or have been exposed to extreme heat. I had both: I got bit twice after hot tubbing and then a week later I went on a hike on a very hot day!
I ended up developing a severe rash on my left breast where I was treated. I was itching so much that she suggested I take benadryl. I asked her what I should do if it didn’t go away after a week. Her response was that I would need to go see a dermatologist as “this wasn’t her area of expertise.” Good leaders know their limitations and aren’t afraid to admit them.