Dr Ashley Bourgeois shares the hardships of being a cancer mom and how this inspired her upcoming Fetch Kansas City keynote address
As a mother of a 4-year-old son who was diagnosed with leukemia, Ashley Bourgeois, DVM, DACVD, “The Derm Vet,” recently was put in a position no parent wants to face and forced to put into perspective what truly matters in life.
In a dvm360® interview, she reflects upon this journey with honesty and bravery and how it has encouraged her to be more empathetic inside and outside the veterinary clinic. This will be the focus of her keynote address on day 2 of the dvm360 Fetch Conference in Kansas City, Missouri.
The following is a partial transcript of the video.
Ashley Bourgeois, DVM, DACVD: This is going to be completely new and different than anything I've done before. And [the biggest takeaway of the keynote address] is to find that empathy for your clients, and we absolutely must have boundaries, that is key in our field. But sometimes we tend to be on the defense rather than the offense. If someone's running 5 minutes late for their appointment, [it’s easy to think], ‘Well, how could they? Don't they respect my time?’ If someone is delayed for their recheck, [it’s easy to think], ‘Oh, they didn't come when I told them to.’ If they look on Google for something, [you may think], ‘How could they look for Google instead of asking me?’
And what I can say with dealing with my son's issues over the last year, is that I did all those things. I was late for appointments, didn't recheck when I was supposed to for things with my daughter because we were in the hospital with our son getting chemotherapy. You better believe I was on the internet looking for things and looking for support, because you are in this really weird headspace and you have to balance that with obviously listening to the experts. You do just start to feel like an advocate for someone you're caring for, whether it's a child, a parent, or a pet, you are just trying to collect as much information as possible.
So, when owners now come in and say, ‘You know I read this online,’ or ‘I was talking to my friend who did this,’ even if I'm not so much in agreeance with what they said, I'll listen [and say], ‘Well, what did you read? What are your concerns?’ It’s really changed my perspective, after doing all of those things myself when you are in that crisis mode and just trying to do the best you can for this living [being] you're taking care of.
The Fetch Kansas City will Conference will be taking place from August 25-27, 2023. Register here.