Advice from a single mom dying of cancer
Adima Shirky (1994 –)
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A family physician who was raised on the Bruderhof and serves at one of its Pennsylvania clinics, Sharon is married to Rob, an electrician, and has three sons. Having worked at a large university hospital, she is familiar with the “normal” world of medicine, and says that practicing at the community is very different in several ways:
First, my colleagues are my brothers and sisters. Second, I live in community with my patients, so I can address their problems. No one’s competing to get ahead. Third, I can address my patients’ problems in a more comprehensive way than I could in a non-communal setting. For example, since I usually know my patients’ families and what their home life looks like, I feel free to ask questions or make suggestions that might enhance their care. Do they need a recliner? A hospital bed? If a person is dying, can we – the community – help arrange for someone to be with him or her at night? What about their spouse’s work schedule? Can we lighten their responsibilities so they can focus on their loved one?
I always knew that if I prayed, I could trust that God, in his own time, would bring everything right again. And then I could get on with whatever work lay around. I found that peace can be had by putting away whatever is against Jesus and turning to him.
I have time to fight insurance companies on my patients’ behalf, and I have time to really go the second and third mile for patients. That might just be professionalism, but it also has everything to do with my faith: it allows me to do what I think is the most important part of medicine, which is to love others.
Regardless of where I’ve practiced, one thing is the same: I always carry my patients in prayer. Especially in a case where the best medicine proves ineffective.
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With photography by British photojournalist Danny Burrows, this 300-page hardcover book celebrates what is possible when people take a leap of faith. It will inspire anyone working to build a more just, peaceful, and sustainable future.
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