stage 3

All posts tagged stage 3

Cancer Care Further Delayed

Published November 5, 2018 by lynn k scott

Friday, I was supposed to have an appointment with a new oncologist.  The insurance, without my consent, chose my doctor and told my primary doctor to have me call for an appointment.

I did and told them I don’t see male doctors (which of course, that’s who they selected because they can ignore my preference; by law).  I let the office know I needed a female oncologist.

After the new patient coordinator made a condescending remark about, “I should be able to understand her”, the appointment was booked.  I updated my phone number so they could call my cell phone if they needed to reach me.

Five minutes before I was to leave work for the appointment, a 45-minute drive from my job, I received an email cancelling the appointment.  They called the home number as my cell number was never updated (sigh + eye roll + not surprised).  They told me the staff wasn’t aware of the special conditions of my appointment.

After I called them unprofessional for pulling this stunt at the last minute, the Office Coordinator was nice enough to put in writing some clarification points.  Apparently, only one doctor agreed to see me.  It’s common practice all doctors in an office will see a patient and are backup to the primary oncologist.  Not in this case.  It would seem because of my ‘history’ only one doctor would agree to see me.

My ‘history’ turns out to be one of non-compliance.  I didn’t let that one go.  I am not non-compliant; it doesn’t exist.  What exists is a patient’s right to choose his/her treatment.  I have not completed several tests ordered because the doctor left out crucial information that negated my right to informed consent.

I couldn’t complete the CT scan that had been ordered because the facility, that is able to start an IV and add a contrast dye was unable (more like unwilling) to numb the arm before the IV was inserted.  It takes anywhere from two to four attempts to start an IV in either of my arms.  I will not be a pincushion because it’s easier for them not to inject an additional needle in my arm.

I still have no care.  I requested yet another oncologist to see me.  Now, I have to wait an additional 7 to 10 days for that approval to be reviewed.  Then I have to see if the oncologist I chose  (an hour away and a bridge toll) will see me.

Patient care, especially with a life-threatening disease, should be taken seriously and doctors should only receive the patients file with diagnosis and current treatment.  All other matters are completely subjective.  This subjective documentation has cause a lapse in care.

If you  have a moment, please click HERE, sign my petition and share it.  So many people are affected by cancer and we need to stop the health care industry from villainizing patients for choosing that best suits them.

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Kicked out of Sutter Oncology/Hematology

Published October 12, 2018 by lynn k scott

I just learned today, after following up, again, on an oncology referral, that I have been dismissed from Sutter Health Oncology/Hematology. I never received the original dismissal from my first oncologist. Apparently, after I saw my PCP for another referral, because my existing oncologist was bought out by John Muir (which they failed to advise), I was blackballed by Sutter.  I only learned of this today, over the phone that I am not allowed to see any doctor in oncology/hematolgy.

Sutter is refusing to treat a stage 3 colon cancer patient because I couldn’t understand my Russian-born oncologist. They are collecting premiums and denying care.  I went through the steps of seeing a PCP for a referral for an established disease that Sutter knew of for the previous 10-months.  Sutter told me I had to do this to see another oncologist and they knew full well I couldn’t be seen by anyone in Sutter who could treat my cancer.

My only option is to my PCP or go to urgent care; neither of which can treat my disease.  I can go to the Emergency Room but they can’t refer me to an oncologist, whom I’d have to see for follow-up care.  I am only allowed to see someone out of network and they have no one for me to see.

I am allowed to choose my doctor. It is not out of the norm for a female patient to want a female doctor. Based on the medical terminology, it is not out of the norm to insist on a doctor whom I can understand, without the aid of her staff.

Have I been challenging? Yes! Have I been rude and sworn? Yes. Why? Because I, ME, am in charge of my care. I, ALONE, determine my treatment!!!!

Doctors take an oath to treat patients. Yet, they pick and choose who they will care for. The ones who blindly go along with their godlike mentality are their preferred patients. How dare the patient question them? I am the one living and battling cancer – NOT THEM!

Please share this. Let the world know how cancer patients in Northern California are being treated.

 

Not Subjecting Anyone Else

Published July 20, 2018 by lynn k scott

Another failed attempt by Sutter Health Plus to do their job; help patients get treatment.  My journey has taken me to the point that I no longer give a damn what I say or how I say it, because when it comes to dealing with doctors, their staff and the insurance agencies, they have little disregard (in my experience) to actually assisting the patient; in the manner that works best for the patient.

I filed a complaint against my current oncologist’s staff for failing to do their job.  Of course, every complaint is done the same way.  Patient complains, grievance department calls doctor’s practice, “file review” and then issues a form letter that ignores half of what the actual grievance was about, dismisses patient concerns (as if they have been handled) fails to contact patient for clarification on information obtained from doctor’s office and refers patient back to PCP (Primary Care Physician); which patient has never seen.  The PCP is supposed to help with the oncology referral.

The patient is being seen by someone and wants a different doctor.  I didn’t go to medical school, but I’m smart enough to realize that the existing doctor, who already has some knowledge of the patient, should be making (and can make) the referral.  Why should the patient pay more money in copays to see an unfamiliar doctor, have to recount (AGAIN) why they need a referral, to a doctor who has no vested interest in that patient?  I mean, as an HMO, the PCP already gets a monthly stipend for accepting to see that patient; if and when that ever happens.

I’m a ‘bad’ patient, so I have to speak with a “case manager”.  I was already told by Sutter Health Plus, last year, they don’t have those.  The “case manager” is merely a person in the grievance department, who is assigned to deal with me when I call customer service.  Why?  Because I’m not allowed to be upset at their half-assed attempt of treating my disease.  After all, we have to protect the fragile ears of customer service reps, from upset cancer patients, asking…no begging….for support.

The twist in all this, is this person is on the team that reviews my grievances.  They rule the same way, EVERY TIME!  I am not allowed to have someone else review my grievances.  I am only allowed to speak with Carla (my “case manager”) or her supervisor.  I have asked repeatedly to speak to the manager who is above Carla and her manager.

Today, Carla had the nerve to say, “we will not subject anyone else to you and your behavior”.  Hmmm….make me continually deal with people who are part of the problem instead of passing the issue to someone who  1) might have a different perspective on the situation, 2) someone who would be a fresh start and 3) someone who might have the ability to see that my issues are addressed.

I’m such a detriment to the medical community, that I’ve been blackballed by the insurance agency itself.  Could I be nicer?  Perhaps.  Am I going to….NOPE!  Why?  It’s simple, I have had to fight for my basic rights, that I PAY for, just to be treated.  I am holding people responsible and I will not be a doormat because I refuse to let them make any further money off of me because they think they are god in deciding if I live or die.

Sutter Health Plus is in need of major reform (as are most insurance carriers).  Carla in claims needs to be retrained (as does her manager -with whom I will not speak with again).

At this point, I will be utilizing the UC Davis emergency room going forward.  I’ll incur the annual maximum charge and then they can run every test they want, but I’ve hit the maximum.  No patient should ever feel like they are being dismissed or given up on.  Sutter Health Plus (Sacramento, CA) has done just that!

Cancer Journey: Part 2

Published November 6, 2017 by lynn k scott

I’ve been on oral chemotherapy for a week now.  I have been lucky not to experience many side effects.  The worst, so far, has been nausea and fatigue.  Those who know me, know I am always on the go or doing something.  Friends ask me if I know what the word relax means.

My anger has subsided a bit.  I am still less than pleased with my oncology team.  However, I am doing my best to see the positives in all this.  Positives with cancer?  Seriously?  Yup!

I truly believe God has a plan for me; for all of us, really.  I have known so much suffering, loss and tragedy.  What’s a stage 3 cancer diagnosis added to all that, right?

I was speaking to our pastor’s wife yesterday and shared how I recently thought of a positive to having cancer:  it’s brought my oldest and I closer.  One could say we’ve had a tumultuous relationship.  We were having a rough patch prior to my diagnosis.  We had only recently started speaking again.

Once I told him about the diagnosis, our relationship improved.  It reaffirmed how precious life is and how it’s not promised to anyone.  So, if cancer brought us closer together, than I am grateful.

Another positive is, as a friend pointed out when she heard the news, this disease would bring me closer to God.  She was right.  This struggle is not mine alone.  He is with me through this.  It’s my job to trust in Him and give Him control of the situation.  He has guided me to a church with very supportive and caring people.  He will stay beside me on this journey.

I am also learning to rest and pay attention to my health.  Currently, I have energy for about half a day.  I am still working a full-time job, homeschooling my daughter every evening and running a household.  Is my house as clean as I want it?  Heaven’s no!  Truth be told, it’s driving me nuts to have clutter and not having certain areas spotless.  Will we survive?  Yup!

My daughter and husband have taken on a few of “mom’s chores”.  They are aware I just can’t do it all or that it might be postponed if i need to take care of it.  I am taking time to spend a extra hour or two in bed on the weekends.  I am going to sleep hours before the clock approaches midnight.

Today was the first day I had to wear a mask at work, as my immune system becomes more compromised.  I was NOT happy having to do this.  Yet, a friend suggested having my artist daughter (who’s 11), draw happy faces and butterflies on my masks for me.  I’m going to give her a few to try out.  She’ll get to be expressive, I get to count this as art for homeschool and I should have some “designer” masks to make this journey a bit more bearable.

So as much as I hashtag, #cancersucks, there are silver linings to be seen.  You just need to know where to look.

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