Dear Patient Experience Community,
I’m Cecilia. I’m 47 years old, married to Ghazel. We have two girls, Maya,17 and Nora, 15. I was born in Swedish Lapland, above the polar circle, and moved to France when I was 16. I have traveled a lot and have lived in three different countries; my family and I are now settled in Aix-en-Provence, France.
In January 2015, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. It felt like a high-speed train had hit a wall; I was the high speed train.I always say that I would do anything to turn back time to 2013 to change that. But now, I’m struck by a feeling that maybe I would NOT turn back time, despite what breast cancer cost me and the pain my family had to undergo. Why? Because I wouldn’t be the person I am today, doing something that matters. Today, I keep focused on what really matters at work and at home.
And, if I turned back time, I wouldn’t be here, blogging!
Cecilia 2.0, my new mission and purpose, has become so real, so profoundly positive. Of course, there are difficult moments; but I use those days to remind myself how lucky I am!
With my team at work, we’re fully committed to helping save more lives from breast cancer. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, reminding us of our common purpose: Women and providing the care they deserve.
It’s hard to transfer my thoughts in writing, but nonetheless I am living a great journey. I’m cancer free; but it will always be present in my life. It’s a great source of inspiration to help drive patient experience to the next level, making a difference for women and contributing to the confidence women need.
I’m so proud of the battles I’ve won and the light I can bring to such a dark world for many. My mission and purpose are stronger than ever before, and my story has become my strength.
I know today what ingredients are needed to improve patient experience within my company, for healthcare providers, for me, but most importantly, how to empower women to fight.
My breast cancer journey embodied approximately 300 medical events – surgeries, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, check-ups, blood tests, hormonal injections and more. As a result, I wrote daily in my diary, penciled down all I felt, heard, saw and smelled. My diary is my goldmine. As a Patient Advocate, I work towards filling the gaps that prevent women from driving their own healthcare journeys. Also, I help them see some of the beautiful things that can come as a result of breast cancer, because they do exist.
Many women believe technology and treatments are what you need to fight cancer. But that’s not all. We need information and education. We need tips and tricks from the start to help us stay strong for upcoming battles.
Hence, I’ll do anything to help improve the care pathway for women. I believe that storytelling and peer-to-peer support reach women in different ways; they have a big impact and influence on the decision to skip a screening and in choosing the best care provider.
That’s exactly where The Beryl Institute helped me fill the gaps to start building the best patient experience. The Beryl Institute is the global community of practice dedicated to improving the patient experience through collaboration and shared knowledge.
Today I’m truly thankful to see my stories being told, including on mymammo.com, a great place to share information and knowledge, made just for women. We have all the ingredients to rethink the entire patient pathway.
I’m committed. I hope you are too.
Cecilia Olsson is a global spokeswoman for Patient Experience & Advocacy for Women’s Health at GE Healthcare. Olsson is 47 years old, married with two daughters. With roots in Swedish Lapland, she moved to France when she was 16 and has since lived an enriched life of travel and working for large international companies. She joined GE Healthcare in 2011 and naturally fell into her role as spokeswoman for Patient Experience and Advocacy after her own breast cancer journey in 2015. Cecilia is sharing her story with The Beryl Institute during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, because she is committed to improving the healthcare pathway for women around the world.