Venting! Drs office and their staff!!!!!

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weisssoccermom
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Venting! Drs office and their staff!!!!!

Postby weisssoccermom » Sun Sep 25, 2011 2:44 pm

I'm sorry for the vent - just wanted to see if I'm alone in this. This topic is not exclusively cancer related.
Here's some examples of what I deem are incompetent staff:

1. 4.5 years ago, I was seeing this surgeon whom I thought I was going to use. I constantly ran into trouble with his office staff - particularly his RN. She acted as though SHE ran the place and that she knew everything. I remember her telling me to use witch hazel after radiation (absolutely WRONG!!) for rectal cancer. The surgeon was astounded that I was going to use this - when I was talking to him, she shot me daggers as though to say "You had better keep your mouth shut". It was this same RN who wouldn't let phone calls from my onc through to the surgeon and didn't give the surgeon messages from him (the onc) either! It was infuriating. The final blow came when they were going to 'refer' me to this surgeon in Chicago - let's see that was in March of '07 for blasted sake! Never did here back from them!!!

2. On 8/16 of this year - I saw this different oral/maxilofacial (spelling??) for my facial pain. Same office that I had been before - just a different doc. Anyway, this doc wanted to refer me to a specialist at the UWashington. Never have gotten that referral - almost 6 weeks now. Doubt I ever will either! This is the same office (quite small office) that calls me for bill payment when I have secondary insurance! I ask them if they have submitted the bills, etc. to the secondary and they tell me they didn't know that I have any! Then they look and chuckle - oopsie, yep you DO have secondary! Arghhhh!!

3. My onc's office staff is just absurd. Always canceling appointments on me. I get infuriated when they don't have the decency to call and let you know that the doc is running say 2 hours late!! Dang, if I was 2 hours late - well they'd cancel my appointment. If I find myself even 5 minutes late due to traffic, etc. I have the decency to call & let them know - something they say that they appreciate - but do we get the same reciprocal treatment?? NO!

4. Finally - I can't stand the new MA in my GP's office. I left a message for my GP on Friday, Sept. 16 asking her opinion about future onc appts. Never heard back from her. I called again this past Monday and the new MA assured me Dr. McD would get back to me either that day or no later than Tuesday morning. Well, Tuesday came and went - didn't hear anything. Also, left a message with the MA on Monday for a refill on some Voltaren gel - finally by Thursday evening with no response I sent an email. Dr. McD seemed surprised by my requests - she didn't know anything about them. Now, I NEVER had that problem with my old MA - wished she'd have stayed around!!!

I'm just tired of making phone calls and waiting for more than a week for a response. I DO call back and still nothing until I send an email through the system. It's frustrating!! Why do these other staff hold us hostage? It seems as though too many MA's/RN (no offense to anyone here - please I realize that these are very important and busy people) feel that THEY are in charge!

Anyone else with similar situations???

Jaynee
Dx 6/22/2006 IIA rectal cancer
6 wks rad/Xeloda -finished 9/06
1st attempt transanal excision 11/06
11/17/06 XELOX 1 cycle
5 months Xeloda only Dec '06 - April '07
10+ blood clots, 1 DVT 1/07
transanal excision 4/20/07 path-NO CANCER CELLS!
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justin case
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Re: Venting! Drs office and their staff!!!!!

Postby justin case » Sun Sep 25, 2011 3:06 pm

I'm sorry you are having a tough time with the office staff. I'm just betting you don't have that problem with the billing dept.

Warm regards,
Michael
7/11 diagnosed Stage 2 colon and rectal cancer
chemo/rad
lar/temp ilio
Reversal & port removal
21 round of chemo Folfox 9tx, 5fu 12 tx
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Gaelen
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Re: Venting! Drs office and their staff!!!!!

Postby Gaelen » Sun Sep 25, 2011 3:32 pm

I've had problems with one doc's office in the last 10 years - a new gyn that I chose because my old gyn had retired and my sister used this one and liked him. He seemed to have himself together, and ran a research-oriented, very progressive practice.
But then some things happened with his behavior and with his office staff, and I said, no - thank you - I'll find someone else.

Basically, I brought with me to my first appointment my originals of my surgical and pathology reports from my first surgery in 2005. They had my hand-written notes from the surgical followups written on the back of the reports. Normally, I never give a doc's office originals of another doc's report, but the office copier was down, I was running late, and I figured I could take the chance.

Bad idea. At my next appointment, a week later, they handed me the envelope with my original reports. For some reason in the waiting room, I opened it to check - and they were (badly) scanned copies of the original reports. I went to the desk, and asked for my originals. The receptionist told me that the nurse would speak with me. When I was safely escorted to the exam room furthest from the front desk and waiting room, the nurse told me that the secretary who'd been charged to scan in my reports had accidentally SHREDDED MY ORIGINALS.

I was floored. Worse, what they'd tried to hand me was barely readable, and they just gave me the envelope (maybe hoping I wouldn't notice that the reports inside were no longer originals and no longer readable.) I told them to call MSKCC and get the originals replaced (because MSKCC would charge me $1/page, but they'd send copies to another doctor for nothing.) They said "of course" - but it turns out they called my LOCAL onc, who asked me why the gyn's office needed copies of my reports. Luckily, I had one clear scan at home that I could print out and use to produce readable copies - but my original surgical followup notes are gone forever. Lesson learned - never give ANY doc's office original reports. Ever.

They just handled it really badly - oops, well, mistakes happen. And when I asked the doctor about it, he actually blew it off with "well, mistakes happen." Yeah. And they cost you clients.

That office also once accepted my sign-in five minutes late, and then told me after I waited a half-hour to see the PA that they had to cancel because I'D BEEN LATE. Um...what??? I was late because it was the dead of winter, the doc's office was in a little village on the southwest end of the county, and the back country roads you had to take to get to the village from my house were all twisty-icy-not plowed.

But the last straw was when he couldn't do a pelvic in the office because I was in too much pain to dialate, and wanted to do a hysteroscopy, an outpatient procedure at the community hospital. Not only was the procedure more expensive (day surgery copay = $250) but I needed a driver because I was being put under, and the only person available was my mom, 77 at the time. I specifically told all of the nurses and the doctor not to discuss anything discovered during the procedure with my mother. The doc promised to discuss things with me in recovery.

After surgery, he went to the waiting room, told my mom stuff she mixed up and didn't understand (and that alarmed her beyond all need), and never came to talk to me in recovery. I left the hospital knowing only my mom's interpretation of what he'd told me...and then he didn't return any of my calls until Wednesday of the following week, when he finally told me what he'd found.

Then I found out from my urologist, who needed to place a uretral stent, that BOTH the stent and hysteroscopy could have been done together in the same out-patient procedure, and that my urologist could have done the hysteroscopy, or would have split procedures with the gyn. At that point, I decided I didn't need this particular jerk.

However - staff and procedures at my home oncologist's office, PCP's office, counselor's office, urologist's office, and neurologist's office, and the office staff at all of the MSKCC's docs and the hospital, are terrific. Superlative, in fact. My CRC surgeon's "office goddess" actually stopped into my exam room to meet me during one of my follow-ups. We'd been talking for three years and never met face-to-face. She wanted to put a face to the name.

Except for this one gyn, I can't complain about the staff or procedures at any of my docs.
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4/04: dx'd @48 StageIV RectalCA w/9 liver mets. 8 chemos, 4 surgeries, last remission 34 mos.
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Ashlee H.
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Re: Venting! Drs office and their staff!!!!!

Postby Ashlee H. » Sun Sep 25, 2011 3:45 pm

I have very little patience for people who don't do their jobs well. I've learned when I have a problem person I have to be annoying (always with a smile) just so they will deal with me. Sometimes this means a phone message every few hours...or faxes. I'll do that every day until I get the result. I put the time and date on everything so hopefully it is obvious to them I am keeping track. If I'm able, I'll go to the office and sit and wait until someone talks to me. I'll tell their boss, whether it be a doctor or someone else - that it is not professional not to get a return call in a timely matter - just not acceptable. Thank goodness this doesn't happen all the time, but does happen more than it should.
Just is terrible that we are trying to hold ourselves together with this disease and have to deal with idiots sometimes. Very exhausting.
Stage IV w/liver met dx 7-1-09
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keepcalmcarryon
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Re: Venting! Drs office and their staff!!!!!

Postby keepcalmcarryon » Sun Sep 25, 2011 5:35 pm

All of the onc people (med onc, rad. Onc, surgeons (!) , nurses, p.a.'s. ) at the U of Pa are superlative, very, very patient oriented. They remember your name, make appt, always call/email back, AND listen to what you say and are even open to learning from you.

But then there's the urology dept. Very bad at answering calls, very difficult to make apps with (to the point that my wonderful onc's n.p. was freaking out) and very unsympathetic.
I finally see the urologist in the hallway. He says to email him. (I'd figured outbhis email as they all use the same naming convention. So he had been getting, and ignoring, my emails)
So I email and asked about my problem with urinary incontinence. He replied 'i have no idea why you're leaking. If you're in pain go to the E.R.'!
I had a ureteric stent place in a vague hope of helping my left kidney, which functions at 8%. I was having side effects from the stent so called several times to see if it would be better to lose the stent. I finally got an email from the urologist saying he'd talk to me the day of the next scheduled stent change. And he did come talk to me...as I was on the table starting anesthesia! And of course I didn't get to ask if a renal scan would be useful, just 'do you want the stent or not?'
Then my PET scan shows mild hydroureter of my RIGHT kidney. So I freak, try again and again to call to see if a stent should be placed to protect my sole remaining kidney. I finally just park myself in the uro. Dept and a resident finally comes out and says they'll schedule me for kidney function test. In a week I show up for my scheduled appt only to be told it was canceled since I was seen last week!
So I try another urologist. He talks to me for 2 minutes and then starts dictating to his device. It was almost comical:
Dr dictates "the patient is in no pain'
Me: no, wait, sometimes I have pain.
Dr. Ignores me, continues dictating.
Dr finally addresses a question to me: 'would you take pills?
Me: ok
Dr dictates 'prescribe Ditropan'
Me: no, I've had that, it doesn't work.
Dr dictates 'phone in tx for Ditropan to pharmacy.

Aaargh.
So I finally see a human, caring urologist. Unfortunately she's due in 3 weeks and then will be out on maternity leave :roll:
9/07 t3 n2
exc. biop, Xelox, Rad
06/08 NED
03/09 PET-pelvic LN
06/09 rad tx
10/09 exp.lap; can't find LN
05/10 Stage IV, lung nodes
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smartestone
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Re: Venting! Drs office and their staff!!!!!

Postby smartestone » Sun Sep 25, 2011 5:58 pm

weisssoccermom wrote:I'm sorry for the vent - just wanted to see if I'm alone in this. This topic is not exclusively cancer related.
Here's some examples of what I deem are incompetent staff:

1. 4.5 years ago, I was seeing this surgeon whom I thought I was going to use. I constantly ran into trouble with his office staff - particularly his RN. She acted as though SHE ran the place and that she knew everything. I remember her telling me to use witch hazel after radiation (absolutely WRONG!!) for rectal cancer. The surgeon was astounded that I was going to use this - when I was talking to him, she shot me daggers as though to say "You had better keep your mouth shut". It was this same RN who wouldn't let phone calls from my onc through to the surgeon and didn't give the surgeon messages from him (the onc) either! It was infuriating. The final blow came when they were going to 'refer' me to this surgeon in Chicago - let's see that was in March of '07 for blasted sake! Never did here back from them!!!

2. On 8/16 of this year - I saw this different oral/maxilofacial (spelling??) for my facial pain. Same office that I had been before - just a different doc. Anyway, this doc wanted to refer me to a specialist at the UWashington. Never have gotten that referral - almost 6 weeks now. Doubt I ever will either! This is the same office (quite small office) that calls me for bill payment when I have secondary insurance! I ask them if they have submitted the bills, etc. to the secondary and they tell me they didn't know that I have any! Then they look and chuckle - oopsie, yep you DO have secondary! Arghhhh!!

3. My onc's office staff is just absurd. Always canceling appointments on me. I get infuriated when they don't have the decency to call and let you know that the doc is running say 2 hours late!! Dang, if I was 2 hours late - well they'd cancel my appointment. If I find myself even 5 minutes late due to traffic, etc. I have the decency to call & let them know - something they say that they appreciate - but do we get the same reciprocal treatment?? NO!

4. Finally - I can't stand the new MA in my GP's office. I left a message for my GP on Friday, Sept. 16 asking her opinion about future onc appts. Never heard back from her. I called again this past Monday and the new MA assured me Dr. McD would get back to me either that day or no later than Tuesday morning. Well, Tuesday came and went - didn't hear anything. Also, left a message with the MA on Monday for a refill on some Voltaren gel - finally by Thursday evening with no response I sent an email. Dr. McD seemed surprised by my requests - she didn't know anything about them. Now, I NEVER had that problem with my old MA - wished she'd have stayed around!!!

I'm just tired of making phone calls and waiting for more than a week for a response. I DO call back and still nothing until I send an email through the system. It's frustrating!! Why do these other staff hold us hostage? It seems as though too many MA's/RN (no offense to anyone here - please I realize that these are very important and busy people) feel that THEY are in charge!

Anyone else with similar situations???

Jaynee


IMHO, think you're nitpicking. be grateful and happy you beat your cancer at the 5 year mark..many people would love to be in that situation. Live life, enjoy it be happy.. The system, for all its flaws, must have been good enough enough if it cured you.
Dx colon cancer in 2010
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KarMel
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Re: Venting! Drs office and their staff!!!!!

Postby KarMel » Sun Sep 25, 2011 6:50 pm

smartestone wrote:
IMHO, think you're nitpicking. be grateful and happy you beat your cancer at the 5 year mark..many people would love to be in that situation. Live life, enjoy it be happy.. The system, for all its flaws, must have been good enough enough if it cured you.


Dear Smartestone:

a. Although Jaynee probably had great physicians who treated her cancer, it's possible that she has reached the 5 year mark because her cancer was caught in an early stage, which accounts for the "cure." I expect and hope she'll be a success story, regardless of any flaws in the system.

b. I wish I were as accepting and grateful for lack of good service as you seem to be. When I am shelling out big bucks for any kind of professional care, I get very demanding. I embarrass my sisters all the time if we're at a restaurant, cause I send my food back if it is not cooked properly. And that's for a $15 meal. When I'm paying a doctor a couple hundred bucks for his or her services...watch out!

c. Is she really nitpicking? Here's an example of what delays in communicating can lead to. I work in a medical office. A couple years ago, a woman was admitted by her family doctor to the hospital for shortness of breath. ( We are an OBGYN office ). Her CT report showed ascites, an enlarged liver, and a right ovarian mass. The family doctor says to go see a GI doc. After we looked at the report, it screamed ovarian cancer to us. And that is what we told her. But the patient did what her FMD suggested and sees the GI doc who tapped the fluid. While waiting for the results, patient decides maybe she should see a gyn. We set her up with a gyn oncologist. She had her hysterectomy and ovaries out with 10 days and was home from surgery for a week before the GI doc called her and said the fluid show malignant ovarian cancer cells and she ought to see a gyn oncologist.

If any of those situations she described happened at our office, we need to know. We would want to know. Because if one patient is unhappy, probably many of them are. And we'll lose business. My two cents.

Peace
Last edited by KarMel on Sun Sep 25, 2011 6:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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jmarie
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Re: Venting! Drs office and their staff!!!!!

Postby jmarie » Sun Sep 25, 2011 6:52 pm

smartestone wrote: IMHO, think you're nitpicking. be grateful and happy you beat your cancer at the 5 year mark..many people would love to be in that situation. Live life, enjoy it be happy.. The system, for all its flaws, must have been good enough enough if it cured you.


That is very insensitive IMHO, and I can't believe it is coming from a fellow cancer patient. Besides the fact that "The System" didn't cure her. Many doctors, drugs, years of research, God and some swinging chickens :P , healed her but "the System" had nothing to do with it.
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florencedollar
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Re: Venting! Drs office and their staff!!!!!

Postby florencedollar » Sun Sep 25, 2011 6:53 pm

IMHO, think you're nitpicking. be grateful and happy you beat your cancer at the 5 year mark..many people would love to be in that situation. Live life, enjoy it be happy.. The system, for all its flaws, must have been good enough enough if it cured you.


Are you kidding? We have every right to demand, and expect professional treatment from the people we hire. Whether it be a roofing contractor, or an Oncologist.
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Bill5107
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Re: Venting! Drs office and their staff!!!!!

Postby Bill5107 » Sun Sep 25, 2011 7:00 pm

weisssoccermom wrote:I'm sorry for the vent - just wanted to see if I'm alone in this. This topic is not exclusively cancer related.
Here's some examples of what I deem are incompetent staff:
...
Jaynee


Vent away Jaynee!

For the most part I've had good luck, though admittedly my "roids" clearly weren't (or at least not only thing wrong) and waits sometimes can be on the long side for my primary. They have actually been working on wait times.. .

My surgeon's office had some mixups in not having scans at the right office, but they were duly embarrassed and honestly lmy tumor was so large and low, it kinda didn't matter (they did have the reports). Overall my GI guy, Onc, surgeon and radiologists were all good to me. I did get "feedback" from my onc once when he didn't get a scan as early as he'd liked...he had to go asking for it and mentioned it would be helpful if I made sure he was included in the future. I didn't see anything wrong with his suggestion and how he handled it.

Sooo..can't comisserate too much with you, but I hear ya! I have similar thoughts on other situations...so I can understand the frustrations.
2010-07-02 Dx rectal cancer (Stage 3)
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Bill5107
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Re: Venting! Drs office and their staff!!!!!

Postby Bill5107 » Sun Sep 25, 2011 7:08 pm

jmarie wrote:
smartestone wrote: IMHO, think you're nitpicking. be grateful and happy you beat your cancer at the 5 year mark..many people would love to be in that situation. Live life, enjoy it be happy.. The system, for all its flaws, must have been good enough enough if it cured you.


That is very insensitive IMHO, and I can't believe it is coming from a fellow cancer patient. Besides the fact that "The System" didn't cure her. Many doctors, drugs, years of research, God and some swinging chickens :P , healed her but "the System" had nothing to do with it.


Hee hee..I specifically didn't reply to that one jmarie...I really like Jaynee and my initial reaction was not this polite ;-p.

Jaynee even said she was going to vent, so all claims of nitpicking or whatever are already out of line.

Smartestone, it looks like you are new here, so I'll say I hope you have some internet flame-retardent garb for the evening... on the other hand, keep reading around here. You'll see how we roll and perhaps find other topics to participate in.

Just please do think before posting. We're here to help anyone who is here, and Jaynee is one of the ones who has helped me a TON early in my Dx.

I hope get to know you and see you on other threads soon.
2010-07-02 Dx rectal cancer (Stage 3)
'-07-21 Chemoradiation
'-10-13 APR surgery, 10/18 nodes still active
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Re: Venting! Drs office and their staff!!!!!

Postby CRguy » Sun Sep 25, 2011 7:26 pm

...anyone consider the possibility that we are being "trolled" again ??? Just asking, cos' there have always been a number of infrequent posters here, who share virtually nothing of their own situation and post into other's threads with comments which apparently elicit the desired effect of "stirring the pot." This poster may in fact be one, given the nature of their other comments which I have reviewed. Also possible that this may be a legit poster having a bad day and simply doesn't agree with...(fill in the blank...whomever....fill in the topic..who cares ?)
Me no Know...Me no Care ! If they are really trying to be a part of this community...going about it the wrong way. If there is a contribution to be made, guess we'll have to wait and see.

Hey folks it is the internet after all ...when mommy and daddy leave the keyboard unlocked...anybody can stay up past their bedtime and post whatever they want :shock:

Jaynee can rant/vent all she wants...BTDT myself...and she doesn't need anybody's permission. If you don't want to read it..don't. Hell, if we can't rant here.. then where ???? Besides, if the poster is being virulent the Mods can log their IP addresses and toast them.. I know it is natural to jump in to defend your buddies here, but Jaynee can take care of herself and so can jmarie, who gave the perfect response to this same poster in another thread. WHY waste our valuable energies worrying about somebody we don't even really know and obviously doesn't give a shit about us ????

JMO.
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surfingon
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Re: Venting! Drs office and their staff!!!!!

Postby surfingon » Sun Sep 25, 2011 7:47 pm

No, Jaynee, you're definitely NOT alone in this:

#1. Oh yeah. The entire oncology dept. in our HMO was being run by the staff (nurses, med techs, excluding the oncs) for the benefit and convenience of the staff with no consideration of how that might adversely affect the patients themselves. Result: fake "rules" like : family absolutely cannot be in infusion room with patient, blood draws before onc appointments could never be done immediately before the appointment but had to be the day before the appointment... The oncs were old guys and just totally cowed by the bullying women, therefore mostly just deferred to them. This was all compounded by the receptionist's inexplicable habit of referring to the med techs as "nurses", thereby investing them with a vastly greater power than they actually had. I solved all of this by laying it out to the VP in charge of consumer satisfaction, who was dumbfounded and disbelieving at first, but when he investigated and realized it was all true, was so grateful that we had pointed this out to him-- he fixed it all, immediately. (a victory scored for patient advocacy!!)

#3. Oh yeah. How about being checked in, put in the examining room and told that the onc will be in in a few minutes, waiting for over half an hour, opening the door to ask the med tech "WTF?", seeing her very shocked face, and then being told that the onc has gone to a meeting in another part of town and won't be back at all that day? She had forgotten to tell him that we were waiting, he had forgotten to look at his own schedule, and then failed to notice on his way out that there was an audible conversation going on inside his own examining room and a chart hanging on the door. Never even got an apology for that one, but if it had been us that hadn't shown up, we would have been charged the co-pay plus a fee (!!)

Oh, yeah. Been there. How to deal with this kind of stuff? My strategy was to do my utmost to try to make sure that it didn't happen to anyone else in the future (which I think would have been virtually impossible had we not had the VP's ear, via his professional association with my best friend and his recent one-year training in compassionate care.)

I'm betting this is going to be a long thread, with many many others chiming in with similar experiences.

Aloha, Rachel
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Terry
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Re: Venting! Drs office and their staff!!!!!

Postby Terry » Sun Sep 25, 2011 7:59 pm

I worked in the medical field for years and Jaynee is NOT nitpicking. Maybe smartestone should understand that no matter what stage you are waiting is still hard. Maybe at eight yrs. or 10 it won't be, who knows. I know your statement was not very kind, understanding or smart.

It sounds like your mad at Jaynee because she's beat this beast. Beat it or not, stage I or stage IV anyone has a right to be here that has had this cancer.
Last edited by Terry on Sun Sep 25, 2011 11:33 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Venting! Drs office and their staff!!!!!

Postby florencedollar » Sun Sep 25, 2011 8:11 pm

When my sister was first diagnosed with stage 4, she was told she would get a phone call to have her chemo started... It was about a week and a half, with her calling them, before she finally had anything scheduled!!

Prior to that, she found out that she had cancer, when the staff was discussing it amongst themselves, and she was still groggy from the colonoscopy. A nurse told her, in tears, something she already knew, because she was half-awake.

She went into the hospital a few days later, and the intern.. or whoever she was, comes into the room and says, "What are you here for?". Sis was just days past her diagnosis, and it was as if the person hadnt even read her records before walking into the room!! As if she was there for a fever or something!

My sister contacted another Oncologist and Surgeon at a different hospital and it was like "night and day". The entire team met with her the next day, returned her calls, and were always available by phone. What a difference!!
Sis to 'lil sis (pict in avatar)
DX'd stage IV CC w/liver mets -age 45- 8/26/2010
Port Folfox started-9/8/2010
Colonic stent-9/30/2010
10/13-Team agrees-postpone chemo after 2 rounds
10/26 colon/liver resection
12/14/2010-Folfiri/Avastin
NED NED NED!!!!!


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