oncology

All posts tagged oncology

Medical World = STRESS!!!

Published May 18, 2018 by lynn k scott

I have been patiently waiting for my medical insurance to decide whether they would allow a referral to a provider outside the network I am currently enrolled in.  They had 30 days in which to do so.  That’s the equivalent of molasses going uphill, on a glacier, during a blizzard.  I mean really, oncology referrals should take as long as possible because we’re only speaking of a human life.  Shoot…that sarcasm reared its truthful head again.

Even though I have completed chemo, I had no follow-up with my oncologist because she refuses to answer my questions without an appointment.  There wouldn’t be messaging capabilities if we had to make an appointment every time we needed to ask a simple question.  No wonder it takes weeks to make appointments these days.  Sorry, I digress.

It’s been very peaceful with the new job and not having any contact with anyone in the medical industry.  Yet, today, that peace was shattered.  I answered an 800 number.  The good thing is I didn’t have to go through their carrier’s horrendous hell of a voicemail system to return their call.  The unfortunate aspect was I had to deal with someone who doesn’t understand the proverbial, “you”.

While I am far from the best or even compliant patient, customer service representatives need to understand the tone of frustration compared to yelling.  It’s one thing to be sympathetic to someone’s plight of an insurance nightmare.  It’s a completely different to truly be empathetic.  Then, to add insult to injury, tell me I am yelling when I am merely expressing frustration.  There is no doubt when I truly begin to yell.  As my daughter puts it, “New York Mommy” shows up at that point.

It never ceases to amaze me how shocked people are when I say, “you have no idea” and then try to argue the fact with me that they do.  Unless the person that I am speaking with has filed multiple grievances, prepped their children for the “worst case scenario”, begged for help and to see a provider they can actually understand, DO  NOT tell me, “I understand”!!!  It’s unprofessional; to say the least.  Learn the difference between empathy and sympathy; they are not the same.

Am I overly “touchy” where my health care is concerned?  Absolutely!  Having been neglected after surgery, passed around to provider after provider and generally ignored when I insist on being in charge of my care and letting doctors only advise has me extremely “jaded” to most people.

Healthcare is non-existent.  Health profits is what drives today’s medical profession.  Patients die every day.  I truly believe insurance carriers AND providers are facilitators of this because if the patient doesn’t fit in the “acceptable” boundaries, they are discarded; regardless of how much assistance and/or treatment they need.  Nice to know it’s reached the call centers.  The entire system needs a course in compassion!

So ends another medical rant.  Off to pray for tolerance and healing.

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Cancer Journey: Part 5

Published December 8, 2017 by lynn k scott

I met with a new oncologist yesterday.  Truth be told, I had several mini-meltdowns, at work no-less, trying to get an emergency referral to this new doctor.  I’m on my “off” week for my chemo-cycle and needed the referral, be seen and have the medication ordered and delivered, by today, in order to stay on track.

Prayers were definitely answered.  If you have followed up to now, you know I have received less-than-stellar care for my cancer.  To the point, the doctors should be sued.  Yea, it was that bad.

I walk into this new office; very apprehensive.  Very nice office staff.  They pointed out coffee and tea were available, if I wanted some.  Coffee?  That HAS to be a sign!  The computer system wasn’t cooperating, and the staff was apologizing to me for the wait and having to switch rooms.  Respect?  I’m not used that.  Such a simple thing, yet so many people no longer offer common courtesies.

Then I met the doctor.  She genuinely seemed concerned.  Part of the reason is because I’m technically too young to have colon cancer; without a family history of it.  I told her, what I have told a handful of doctors, there has been a lot of different cancer in my immediate family.  She took note of it.  Then mentioned something no one else has:  Lynch Syndrome.   She thinks I may have this.  From what I have read on the syndrome, it would explain the cancer in my paternal grandmother, my father and my 37-year old sister, and of course, now me.

I have previously declined genetic testing because two previous doctors were focusing on my risk of breast cancer.  They failed to elaborate when I didn’t see a need for it.  Based on other family member’s testing, I am almost certain I have an increased risk of breast cancer.  I didn’t need a test to confirm that.

My new oncologist pointed out, if I had Lynch syndrome, it’s more than just treating me; it could affect my children.  They would have a 50% chance of having the gene that causes the syndrome, thereby increasing their risk of certain cancers.

I am extremely grateful and blessed that I have been assigned to an empathetic, compassionate and caring physician.  This is how healthcare should be.  It shouldn’t be getting patients in and out in record time with minimal information.  Communication is so crucial, yet, often downplayed because too many doctors have their routine and expect patients to conform to it.

Toward the end of the appointment, she said, “you have five children and you need to live.”  That almost brought me to tears.  My chemo has been pushed out (more cycles added).  Extra testing has been ordered.  Vitamin D has been added to my daily dose of pill consumption.  There will be a PET scan and other testing once all the chemo has been concluded.

Overall, my prayers and those praying for me have been answered.  Prayers are still needed (and welcomed) as this battle is far from over.  At least now I feel like I have a fighting chance.

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