Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Ann Fonfa responds to "When Doctors are Patients..."


A Reader and Author Respond to "When Doctors Are Patients: Is There Such a Thing as 'Posttraumatic Bliss'?"

Ann Fonfa; Roger J. Bulger, MD

Medscape J Med. 2008;10(8):187. ©2008 Medscape Posted 08/11/2008

To the Editor:

Dr. Bulger found an unusual way of stating the circumstances of our lives, but it works.[1]

As a 15-year "survivor" and a patient advocate whose philosophy is presented on, I have long suggested that how we deal with every day is the meaning of our lives. We have an opportunity each day to deal with "dying from cancer" or "living with cancer."

I chose to live, by enjoying each and every day. I know many like-minded people. We will all die at some point, but it is how we live that really matters. This is not new of course.

Ann Fonfa Founder and Volunteer President The Annie Appleseed Project


1. Bulger RJ. When doctors are patients: Is there such a thing as "posttraumatic bliss"? Medscape J Med. 2008;10:146. Available at: Accessed July 30, 2008.

Author's Reply:

I couldn't agree more with Ms Fonfa and many others who expressed similar views in response to my editorial.[1]

One respondent, a nurse, reported that 20 years ago, while holding her first baby, she imagined what her life might be like if that baby were to die at a very young age, and that from that moment, her life and perspective changed and has remained so, in a manner entirely consistent with Ms Fonfa's and mine.

That it took a bout with a fatal disease to shake me into a better perspective is one thing, but the other is to be able now to offer some counsel to others depressed by a diagnosis of a life-shortening disease. I congratulate Annie Appleseed for doing something about it.

Roger J. Bulger, MD President (retired) Association of Academic Health Centers Washington, DC


1. Bulger RJ. When doctors are patients: Is there such a thing as "posttraumatic bliss"? Medscape J Med. 2008;10:146. Available at: Accessed July 30, 2008.

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