The Other Side

A true story of one doctor's journey as a patient coming to terms with a terminal cancer diagnosis. The hope is that by reading it healthcare professionals will be better able understand exactly what being the patient is really like and how their behaviours, no matter how small can impact massively on the people they look after. It is also a story of personal battles with control, learning how and when to relinquish this.

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All profits from the sale of the book are being donated to the Yorkshire Cancer Centre which is the fundraising arm of St James's Institute of Oncology, where Kate was treated. The charity provides supplementary benefits; specialist medical equipment, research and development and patient 'home comforts'.


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A candid and brave account of experiencing cancer. What makes this book different is that it is written from 'the other side' - the patient is herself a doctor, and is constantly reflecting upon her own experience as a way of thinking about how to make things better for her own patients.
Gobbled this book up in one sitting. Wonderful reading. Highly recommend to doctors (and non doctors) to see what it is like to be on the receiving end of treatment in the NHS. What an inspiring and remarkable person Kate Granger is.
In summer 2011 Kate Granger was a doctor with a highflying career, a loving husband and a caring family. What started as a few aches and pains during a holiday to the US quickly became a diagnosis of a rare form of cancer with a zero life expectancy within 5 years. This book charts Kate's first year as a patient and her eventual decision to suspend chemotherapy treatment as the side-effects were making what little time she had left unbearable. This is not a smaltzy book, it is not a 'misery memoir' or a 'poor me' sympathy book. Kate isn't like that, she is brutally honest and quite unflinching in descriptions of the treatment she receives, both medically and personally. The book was originally written to help medical professionals realise how their communication with patients could be improved and therefore is heavy on technical jargon - a glossary at the back helps laypeople understand this. What comes across is how Kate has applied her experience of working in geriatric medicine to her own situation. She says that patients need to be treated with dignity and not be patronised, kept in the dark or viewed as lumps of meat. Her final premise seems to be that quality of life is more important than prolonging life by unpleasant medical interventions, again a view of geriatric medicine.
Life changing all staff working in the health service should read #hellomynameis enlightening courage wit fortitude life from the other side of the sheets
Awesome book that has really got me thinking about quality care in the NHS. A must for anyone working in healthcare.
An amazing book from an amazing woman. Every doctor or future doctor can learn so much from this amazing book.
I think throughout our lives people help us to prepare for different stages, and I know when I come near the end of my life I will be helped by the things you have taught me. This is a precious gift, because not many people share these things, and it makes it so much harder to face something unknown if it is not discussed either. I think there may be few people throughout most of our lives who will be open about death, so you have done a brave and generous thing, as I'm sure you know.
I have just read your first book, and I wanted to say thank you for teaching me so much about the patient perspective. I also wanted to thank you for breaking the taboo of discussing death, which is still bizarrely discussed so little.
Well written, pacy account of a doctor's journey through cancer diagnosis and treatment, the kindle version would have benefited from the possibility of accessing the glossary via contents or extra sections. This is a must read for those who treat and care for patients and despite the potentially sombre topic, it is upbeat.
Kate Granger suddenly crosses over from being a doctor to a patient, this challenges her view of herself and brings into focus health and healing. Sometimes medical intervention does more harm than good, sometimes the healing is in accepting your terminal condition and working through a joyful bucket list. A wonderful, challenging and inspirational book (sorry Kate I know you hate that term, but still true) I will be using it when teaching young doctors. This should be required reading for all health care professionals, all carers and all patients (is that everyone?!)
What an amazing book. A courageous Patient and doctor, with the ability to explain herthoughts, feelings and rationalisation to both medics and non-medics. I have no links to the medical profession and thought it an amazing insight. When my late Mother-in-law was diagnosed with terminal cancer, no one told her or her husband it was terminal. Despite being a non-medic, I researched on the Internet and worked out how long she had and the sort of treatments she would have. Unfortunately she did not have Kate's outlook and she simply withdrew from friends, family and every side effect affect her. She was depressed but no medics recognised it. I hope that this book is read by everyone in the profession to get an insight into 'the other side' so that they understand what a patient is going through on the inside. I hope that Kate is able to enjoy completing her bucket list many times over. An inspiration to us all.
Many thanks to Kate for writing The Other Side. Was the best preparation for starting my Haematology F2 job I could have had.
This is such a sad book. A young doctor in the prime of life has her life turned upside down when she is diagnosed with cancer. Kate Granger writes about her diagnosis and treatment in hospital in technical terms, but she notes early on that her aim in writing the book is not to merely tell her story - she wants to other doctors and medical workers to find out how it feels to be on the 'other side', the receiving end of treatment. Kate has done a wonderful thing in putting down the worst weeks and months of her life on paper for others to read and learn from. Well done!
This book is an inspirational read. Truly brilliantly written by a doctor who has been on both sides of the hospital bed. The aim of this book was to inspire and challenge the thinking of doctors in the way that they treat and communicate with patients. The book is written by a courageous, inspiring, hardworking and loyal doctor and the book has already touched the hearts of many and raised a considerable amount of money for charity.
Having just sat the first part of FRCS Urol I put the textbooks down and finally read your book.... in one sitting. Such an inspirational read. Lovely to see the Urologists treated you well, nice to be thought of as an approachable bunch! However, still made me think about the way I deal with things at work in general and certainly will result in changes at my end.
The book is an incredibly good insight into the mindset of an expert patient. Honest, open and at times painfully vulnerable.
The Other Side really is one of those "practice changing" books - a must read for all healthcare professionals.
I was impressed with your book on so many levels. I passed it on to our Communication Skills team at St George's University in London and they are planning to add your book to their reading list as they felt it was such a useful insight . Such a personal insight into the importance of good communication is just one thing we can take away from your book. As a doctor yourself, it has so much more impact, particularly because you wrote so honestly about the good and poor communication. I am in complete awe of you and what you have achieved.
When you look after patients you forget that they are dealing with it all every day, as nurses etc we get days off to go home and forget about stuff but the poor patients are still there, still going through it all. The book has really made me realise that.
I downloaded this book to my Kindle and found I couldn't put it down. The Author herself a young Doctor describes her experiences, physical, mental and emotional from when she first learnt she had cancer and through the various stages of her treatment. It was her intention in the book to try to relay her feelings and treatment experiences to other Doctors and medical staff in the hopes that they may be able to see things a little clearer from a patients point of view. To get her message over to other people in her profession she does use medical terminology but that doesn't take away the interest of the ordinary reader. Well done Dr Granger and best wishes to you and yours.
Thoughtful, incisive and reading it should be a prerequisite for getting your MBChB.
Thank you for sharing such personal thoughts, feelings and fears with us. I feel very honoured to be able to have read it. Your story moved me to tears. It made me feel angry to read of your bad experiences of being on the other side, as I know from personal experience what a empathetic, patient-friendly Dr you are who takes the time to listen and gives that extra little bit that has such a impact that as a patient you always remember I know I will. This is a "must read" for all medical/nursing staff as we all at times need to just stop and think, "What if it was me?", "what if it was my mum?", "How would they want to be cared for?" Kate you are so brave and you are somehow managing to turn your pain and suffering into something positive to try help others. You are a true inspiration. Keep smiling, good luck with your bucket list. x x x x p.s. I will not be lending my copy to anyone as I will be telling them to buy their own as it is for such a worthy charity ! :-)
Dear Dr Granger, thank you for the book, it was something that I simply had to read after seeing you on Calendar. I could not agree more with your account and how things are seen from a patient's view point particularly on the hospital ward. I read the book over a period of hours because I found that I could not put it down. My mum has read the book now too and she agrees with me in that clear communication is something which a patient would need. I am not a doctor but am studying with the OU and so appreciate your book very much. Your book has made me realise that having empathy with people is an essential quality. You are an inspirational woman and I take my hat off to you and hope that others will read your book as I have.
Dr Granger really pulls you into her world. As a medical team member at Leeds hospitals I was further pulled in as I could visualise even further the rooms she was describing and corridors etc. a poigniant, thoughtful book that anyone dealing with patients should definitely read.
Thanks Kate for the book and I very much appreciated your effort in documenting your experience and your motive to improve the services provided by the medical profession. I had recently administered to a hospital in Japan and went through various tests and treatments, as well as the ups and downs of having a life threatening illness. I understand thoroughly your feelings and thank you for sharing it with us. Japanese hospitals are no different than the UK, doctors and nurses are busy and sometimes all a patient need is some time to talk through the illness and get the reassurance of treatment. I also feel that hospitals are now built so efficient that it resembles a factory with manufacturing cells (torture chamber) than a home for people with illness. I wish you all the best and looking forward to reading your new book.
Firstly can I just say to you that I hope very much that despite your prognosis and your difficult decision around the nature of your treatment that you are continuing to enjoy a quality of life and chip away at your bucket list? Also I so admire the fact that you are able to utilise your experience to benefit and enhance the experience of other sufferers. Kate your book provides a superb basis for the development of policy and practice on what constitutes medical care for patients and importantly how we change focus throughout the NHS and other healthcare providers to effectively really make a difference to the seriously ill and their friends and family.
I feel that part of all medical training should include an understanding of what it means to be diagnosed with cancer. Hopefully your book should help to address this issue, and I greatly admire your courage in writing this book which should certainly be compulsory reading for all medical trainees.
Thanks so much for writing this Kate and I hope you get your wish that it helps other doctors to do their job better. Life is so unfair, and your determination in the face of what happened to you is very moving.
Thanks for the book. An incredibly inspiring story - it had me in tears... and plenty of smiles at some of your experiences on the wards! I know your book will change my practice for the better.
The Other Side is a book describing a doctor's struggle with a devastating diagnosis and her journey through treatment. Interestingly it concentrates on the relationships she has with the healthcare professionals looking after her rather than with her family and friends and this is a viewpoint I have rarely seen written from in the past. It is compelling reading and moved me to tears in places so have your tissues at the ready.
I would like to say a huge thank you for sending me a copy of your book, The Other Side. I read it in a matter of hours and couldn't put it down, the evening meal was quite late to the table! The glossary was invaluable as I have no medical knowledge but feel I learnt so much I cannot explain. The book has made a huge impact on me and you are the bravest person I've ever known.
I think you have done a wonderful service to medicine by writing your book - in fact I'd go so far as saying that you've touched the lives of many patients you'll never ever meet, because hopefully by reading your book, their doctors will alter their practice considerably. Thanks again for gifting the profession with such a beautifully written yet hard hitting account.
What a special person you must be, Kate. Thanks for turning your own suffering into a huge learning experience for us all. I think many, many patients will benefit from many doctors seeing things from your perspective, the other side.
Just read the book. Enlighting and inspiring. You have a true talent for writing and I am in awe of you bravery and honesty of your experience. I'll recommend to all I know.
This really was the most beautifully written book I have ever read. I was utterly gripped and read the whole thing from start to finish without moving. Thank you so much for sharing your journey. Your message is heartfelt and your very precious legacy will stay with me forever
I just read your book today and thought I'd email to say how captivating and moving I found it. This probably sounds very crass but I literally don't know how you do it. You really are an inspiration. Im now a renal reg but when I was a haem SHO I used to think how utterly unbearable any of that treatment would be - I think id fall apart. We have so many people with nephrostomies - I've never thought about how difficult they must be, but now I'll never forget this. And I'll never order a scan without telling the patient! I'm sure you're next book will be just as inspiring.
I read this in one sitting and cringed inwardly with recognition at many of her experiences - a really important book for people to read. I'm just working up to a re-read.
I recently read The Other Side it was such an amazing read. I think it is a must read for all junior doctors and specialist trainees. It nicely shows how it feels to be a patient within the NHS. How sometimes due to service pressure we forget to be patient centred.
Many thanks for sharing your personal experiences of your journey as a patient. I have just finsihed reading 'The Other Side'. Please accept my sincere gratitude and appreciation for an honest and well-written book. I will reflect on your observations about the healthcare professionals involved in your care and I will endeavour to be a good, competent and caring doctor.
All medics should read this book. It highlights our failures in communication especially when dealing with other members of the medical profession, which is often challenging for any doctor. With time we become fatigued and cynical and this book reminds you that for our patients, this is their one time. Therefore, it is important we get it right this time and every time in the future. Having experienced some of what Kate describes during "my time" I am glad to be reminded because it's easy to forget when you're busy and being pulled in 10 different directions. Reading this book will probably make you cry and possibly cringe as you read something you may have done yourself, but it will make you a better doctor. Many thanks to Kate for being so honest and sharing her experiences.
What an amazing book and what an inspirational author. I was given this book by my GP registrar this afternoon, and had to read it in one sitting. This book should be compulsory for young doctors, to help them understand that EVERY small thing we do or say to patients has an impact, be it positive or negative. You are a truly inspirational young woman Kate and may god bless you x
I read it in one sitting Kate. Really got a sense of your unfurling horror/realisation of what was going on. What a thunderbolt. I also identified with you trying to shield your non-medical Husband as long as possible. It left me reflecting on many things, especially on how I approach an initial consultation (as GP) with someone who has had bad news.
Kate, this is a very moving read. Your experience of investigations & treatment at times made me cringe. I wonder how often stoical patients are left without adequate analgesia. You are inspirational - back at work & doing all this to raise money.
I found your book truly compelling and like many others, read it in one sitting. I am an FP2 currently working in haematology and your book gave a valuable insight into life as a patient. I have learnt many things from your book, especially the true importance of communication skills and breaking bad news and getting it right. I hope that the things I have learnt will make me a better, more empathetic doctor. Thank you for sharing you experiences with us and I wish you all the best in achieving your bucket list.
Kate has been very brave in telling this story. It is quite a tough read. As a fellow medic, I am afraid I recognise things I have done in the actions of some of the medical staff Kate encounters. The standards she expects are quite rightly high and are not infrequently disappointed. We often excuse these things in our own working lives as a consequence of workload, shift patterns or unreasonable expectations on the part of patients. Of course we will never be perfect and providing really good care and communication to all our patients is an almost impossible task. What really came across to me was how much of a difference getting it right makes and the harm you can cause getting it wrong. This book will change attitudes in everyone who reads it. I am sure it will improve me as a doctor and a human being. So thank you Kate.
This book by a courageous young doctor is an important account of the true story of Dr Kate Granger's life since the diagnosis of an aggressive cancer. It is instructive to doctor's as we all are going to be patients one day ourselves.
I'm an oncology registrar who should be studying for the FRCR exam, but your book arrived today and once I opened it I couldn't seem to stop reading. Thank you for having the strength to write this book Kate; it will be an education and insight to many and I'm sure it will improve the care of the patients seen by those who read it.
A very erudite account of how medicine can seem very perfunctory when dealing with patients. Kate that your knowledge gave you the ability to be your own advocate shines through this book. I truly hope that doctors reading your the account of your journey will be minded to consider that they have to be both doctor to and advocate for their patients. Stay strong and good luck to you.
This is an incredible book. It does exactly what the author says it does - gives us a glimpse into the world of what it is like to be a doctor who is suddenly a patient. For all those involved in caring for patients, it's immensely valuable to realise what it's like for patients who hear our words and experience the care that's provided. It's also very well written - I couldn't stop reading it and finished the book within a couple of hours. It's very, very sad in places - but also funny in places and I put it down feeling a huge amount of respect for the author - Kate must be a remarkable person, and, without sounding too corny, it is inspirational. For those who aren't medical, I still think it would be well worth reading - and there is a glossary to help with the jargon!
I've long felt that every doctor should have personal experience of serious illness. For everyone fortunate enough not to have that experience, there is this book. Thank you Kate.
I have just finished reading Kate's book. Brilliant and has done more for patient choice and palliation than anything I've ever read. Good luck Kate, stay strong, you are my hero!!
I bought and read your book yesterday and will recommend it to anyone I come across both medical and non-medical as there is a message everyone can learn from. It's one of the most inspiring books I've ever read. Your courage and determination to deal with something so personal whilst trying to help others learn from it are awe-inspiring. I wish you well with achieving your bucket list.
I am a final year medical student and I'm really pleased I read this book before I graduate and start working on the wards. It has taught me more about the importance of good communication skills and never forgetting to always put the patient first than any of the communication lessions we have had or pieces of reflective writting. Thank you for sharing such a personal story. Best wishes to you and your family
I don't know you, although reading your book (in one tearful sitting) has made me feel like I do. I am an emergency medicine registrar. In my speciality we very frequently care for patients in the throes of post-chemo side effects, poorly controlled symptoms or neutropenia, who have not had the knowledge to advocate for themselves as you have been able to, invariably without the benefit of notes, previously documented discussions, prognosis or previously trialed treatments. I have no doubt at all that your exceptionally clear, honest and well written book will make me a better doctor to these and many other patients, and a more compassionate human being. And I'd like to thank you sincerely. All my best wishes for enjoying your life without the oncologist's poisons and your bucket list.
Thank you so much for writing this book. I read the whole thing in one sitting - I literally couldn't put it down. It is a totally breathtaking book - you write so honestly and with such insight. I am the same age as you and a Reg in paeds - I work in a teenage cancer unit and I certain that your book and your courage in writing it will have a profound effect on the way I work. Reading your book made me determined to be a better doctor - that's amazing! Thank you so much. With very best wishes and very much love
I am very grateful to you that you have taken such time to share your experiences. I think your book will help me as a clinician to remember how hard it is being a patient - the pain, the indignity, the embarrassment, the fear, the anger, the grief. Particularly, I hope it will really help me deal with other medically trained patients; I hope it does. I will certainly recommend it to my colleagues, junior and senior - there is so much to learn from you. It was also refreshing to hear such an eloquent defence of the right to stop treatment - I think like most medics, I would have done just as you did when you decided to call time on the heroics.
The other side story was a moving account of being a patient as well as a doctor. The insights into how behaviour of medical staff impacted on Kate has given me much to think about and will certainly change my practice in the future for the better. I will be recommending all the medical students I teach read this book.
Your book is captivating. It made me laugh and cry and I read it cover to cover without putting it down, a rare achievement for any author. I can only imagine the pain and upset you've been through over the last few months, but I hope the rest of your journey is a happy and fulfilling one.
Your book is an inspiration, I could not put it down and read it in 2 hours. I hear where you are coming from and I understand where you are going. You have my admiration and support.
I read this book in two sittings. I found myself so encouraged and inspired by the raw honesty that Kate writes with, but also amazed at the bravery that Kate, Chris and their family have shown during her treatment. I found myself giggling at the image of the junior doctors drawing straws to see who has to deal with the 'scary med reg' (Kate's own words!). It is a powerful story written beautifully with honesty and integrity. Well done Kate. Amazing read, even for us non medic types.
I finished Kate's book - she's such a courageous woman! I'm full of admiration for her & for you & your families - I cannot begin to imagine how you cope. Those procedures seemed relentless & torturous. Most of the medical stuff went right over my head of course, but Kate's determination to try everything, manage her own symptoms & challenge her own profession is heart-warming. I hope I may get to meet her - I'd love to know who some of the characters are! ...... It's lovely to know that overall her treatment here has been at least readily available and certainly caring for the most part - but who wouldn't be touched?
Thank you so much for your book. It is an inspiring read and I have to say I am a little lost for words, well actually not just a little but a lot! You are truly amazing and if I have just a small amount of the courage you have I would be amazed. Your book should be compulsory to every medical student and doctor!!
I am so tired today because I stayed up late reading it last night! It is a brilliant read and the medical glossary is very much appreciated :-)
I think all medical students should be required to read the book as part of their studies! I couldn't put it down, and didn't until it was completely finished, Kate you are a total inspiration, and Chris you are one of the nicest people I have ever met, and I'm sure u must be so proud of your amazing wife.