Saturday, July 19, 2014

My Come to Jeus Meeting with the Oncologists or How I Went All Samuel L. Jackson on the Physician

For sometime now, I've felt like a medical record number at Texas Oncology.  Most of the techs, phlebotomists and nurses have somewhat of a cold detachment and my oncologist, while a nice friendly guy, has a tendency to skirt over answers or completely" ignore answers to questions I've had, particularly about side effects of Lupron and possible treatments for same.  For months, I was too devastated with my diagnosis to be very assertive in getting these answers.

This changed Thursday as Derrell and I descend upon Texas Oncology after the office had received a sharply worded letter from me the day before.

"On my last visit with you, I expressed concern over and, per your request, listed out the numerous side effects I’m experiencing from Lupron. Of these, two were addressed: ..........none of the other symptoms I mentioned were addressed."
"Additionally, there was initially no discussion of painful breast growth. I had to ask about this THREE times at different appointments over almost as many months before anyone discussed treatment for it…what gives with that?
" While I like you personally, in this life and death battle against prostate cancer, I need a practice that is going to do everything they can to explain treatments, offer assistance when negative side effects present and are vigilant in testing for side effects that might present. "
"...please advise what Texas Oncology is going to do to address these concerns.  Lupron has significantly diminished my quality of life. I am unsure that I can do an “indefinite course” of this controversial and often poisonous drug.  We need to discuss the advantages/disadvantages of intermittent therapy in addition to addressing the side effect concerns."
" Now I have a bill for $55.00 that I don’t owe.  As a cancer patient, I must now deal with not only trying to do my full time job, I must deal with becoming a knowledgeable expert on prostate cancer treatment, as well as becoming a patient responsibility payment exert.  I have to argue with numerous billers about incorrect billing.  It’s all quite stressful and time consuming. Must I now also add the stress of arguing with my oncologist office to my, at this point, uncertain lifespan"
Derrell and I had to convince the nurse that I wasn't there for a checkup and didn't need to be in an exam room.  She finally relented and we were placed in a conference room.  Dr. Kasper showed  and, to his credit, he listened to every concern I had, including all the side effect from Lupron and what could/couldn't be done about each. He also listened to me explain my experience with the staff and remarked, "Well I obviously need to speak with my staff." Finally, he addressed median life expectancy.  This was hard to listen to but something I needed to hear (see below).
Every day is a gift.  Oh and everyday presents opportunity to rain down Samuel L. on those who need it. 


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