the patient side of cancer and ivf: video shoot for ucsd medical students

Photo credit: Wet Paint.
I recently sat down with Charles Goldberg at UCSD Medical School to create a video as part of a new curriculum for first year medical students, who many times read about case studies only on paper.

By taping me telling my story, Goldberg hopes to put a face to the patient at a critical point in these young student's learning: "I’d further bring to life and highlight the patient’s perspective on IVF."

The plan was to humanize the whole experience and make students aware of the physical, emotional, and financial costs. He's done similar videos for other cases, and they've "had a very powerful effect."

Though I've told the story dozens of times, sitting in their intimate studio, with the 3,000 watt heat of the lamps on me, was different. Goldberg had provided the questions ahead of time, so I had a good idea of what I was getting into.

I now know how folks feel during the confessional portion of those reality shows, where they talk to the camera and (in their case pretend) pour their hearts out.

We covered what lead me IVF, what the process involved (frequency of injections, symptoms associated with treatments, frequency of visits to my doctor, frequency of ultrasounds, embryo harvest process), how the whole process affected my life (and my family’s life), dollar costs associated with the process (covered by insurance?  Out of pocket? How finances affected your decision making process?), whether the process was successful, how many cycles I went through, how I decided the number of cycles to try, the emotional toll (how I managed the ups and downs, the role of support from family) and finally, aspects that the medical establishment handled well and aspects I wish were done better.

I'm grateful to Goldberg and his videographer Michael Sterner (who awesomely had tissues at the ready when I got to the part of my story "Rainy With A Chance of Baby") for making me feel at ease and doing such a great job on their part.

I look forward to hearing what the students have to say this fall!


Michelle said…
What a FANTASTIC idea...kudos to him for putting a face on it! I know some practicing docs who could stand to watch that video. If you are ever able to give him feedback, suggest he do one for multiple miscarriages/later term miscarriages. Some of my docs said awful things--especially after the first one, which was the latest and worst of them all.
Michelle said…
PS - and kudos to you, of course, for being the kind of chick who is willing to share...that goes without saying of course :) You already know I think you rock!
Kara DeFrias said…
Thanks, Michelle! One of my discoveries on this journey over the past year was that I'm meant to be an advocate for fertility preservation and awareness. I'm glad that things are starting to come together in a way so I can tell the story.
Sarah said…
I just happened to stumble upon you blog :) What caught my eye was "DeFrias." I'm a DeFrias too! :) Well, after marrying my husband I became a DeFrias, that is :) Wishing you luck with your journey, as I see you've kicked a lot of cancer and IF butt so far :)
CaliforniaKara said…
Thanks for the support, Sarah! My husband's family is Portuguese...they all live in New England (Mass. and NH).

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