Stay local or travel for Surgeon?

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Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Sep 26, 2018 11:54 am

Re: Stay local or travel for Surgeon?

Postby Pdxj » Wed Oct 17, 2018 10:56 pm

Thank you all so much for replying. We've decided to head to MSK. I really appreciate everyone's input and help to make this decision. LAR surgery is scheduled. Now it's just the waiting game :|

Posts: 116
Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2014 5:29 am
Location: MN/FL

Re: Stay local or travel for Surgeon?

Postby hawkowl » Thu Oct 18, 2018 12:03 am

Just to play devil’s advocate...Not every excellent/skilled/capable surgeon chooses to practice at a major teaching hospital (many choose to live and work in smaller communities for the same reasons the rest of us do)...but then again not every board-certified colorectal surgeon is equally capable. If you trust your oncologist and/or primary care provider, ask them what they would do if they were in your situation. In my case, I was fortunate to have a truly wonderful colorectal surgeon locally so I didn’t feel the need to travel to Baltimore (based on my research I would have opted to go to Hopkins over MSK, MDA, or Mayo...even though Mayo is closer). I really appreciated being close to family and friends when I recovered, and it was reassuring to know that I could easily pop into the clinic for a follow up visit whenever necessary.

You have to do whatever feels right to you, but traveling across the continent doesn’t always guarantee a better outcome and can make life very difficult if you experience even minor post op complications. Good luck no matter what you decide to do!
Dx 12/2014 T3N2MX (iliac nodes) low rectal
12/2014-4/2015: FOLFOX (8 cycles)
4/2015-6/2015: 28 cycles of chemoradiation with xeloda
8/2015: Robotic APR with iliac node dissection; path showed ypT0,ypN0 (complete pathological response).
11/2015 scans clear, CEA 2.1
11/2015 parastomal hernia repair
3/2016 CEA 1.7
10/2017 CEA remains in normal range (1.4), scans stable.
6/2018 CEA still normal.

Totally disabled due to oxaliplatin induced neuropathy and dysautonomia

Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Sep 26, 2018 11:54 am

Re: Stay local or travel for Surgeon?

Postby Pdxj » Thu Oct 18, 2018 1:02 am

Thanks again and trust me this is not a decision I've taken lightly. I've been wanting to stay local for this because of all the reasons described by everyone. I've met with 4 surgeons total. Two locally, one in Seattle and one at MSK. All are board certified and have had fellowships at major teaching hospitals. My primary care doctor has recommended a local surgeon whose clinic I just visited yesterday. After that visit I have no doubt that MSK is the place for me. Not because it was a bad visit, the care would have been great as well, it's because of how the doctor in Portland spoke of the surgeon at MSK and their extensive knowledge of rectal cancer surgery. (He did also say they could do a great job as well) I know that recovery may be hard in a different city but what I've seen so far from the doctor, fellow, nurses, assistant, social worker, etc.....that has contacted me to make sure I'm ready for surgery has made me almost certain that MSK is right for me. I'm not expecting a better outcome from one place to the other but if there is even a slight chance that it's possible I want to take it.
We are planning a 3 weeks stay for the first surgery and another 3 weeks for reversal. (With backup plans in case it doesn't work out to head home)

Thank you all again, it may not be what others would do but I believe it's the right one for us.

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