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What has been your experiences with your health care providers since you or your loved was diagnosed?

After being diagnosed w/sclc, my first meeting with my oncologist was very positive.  Subsequent visits with the other doctor in the practice proved to be  stressfull and I eventually asked that I be assigned regularly to the first doctor.  This made a world of difference for me and my family.  Am curious as to how this is working for others...all the best..  tonie

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Hi Tonie - My first oncologist I was comfortable with but even though she would never say it to me, I felt she didn't think I would live long. Just a gut feeling I had, whether she did feel that way or not I don't want to know. She did everything right and was nice but after a year I realized I needed someone different. The oncologist I have now is wonderful, very hopeful, has a great sense of humor but also realistic about things. I truly trust him and feel he has my back. Every since I switched to him I don't find myself searching the latest news about lung cancer every week. I feel that I trust that he will have that information and will tell me if there is something out there that I could benefit from. I also like this doctor because he seems to sense when I am having trouble dealing with the cancer but not vocal about it, he will ask me right out how am I doing because it seems to him that something is troubling me. It has helped me because I truly have put my trust and faith in him and I can relax and enjoy life.
Take care,
Maribeth, that is so great that you paid attention to your intution and make the doctor switch. I mentioned earlier I did the very same thing and I too feel that if any horrible information needs to be given to me, I would have this current doctor tell me. No one else. Among other things, the lung cancer has sturdied me up to be more assertive in my care and switching doctors was the first test. Be well and talk soon...Tonie
I have to agree that having the cancer has made me more assertive too in knowing what I want. At first I was wishy washy but the more I learned the more assertive and became my own advocate!
Take care, Maribeth
Of course I would've loved learning the lesson of assertiveness in another way! Tonie
This is a really interesting topic. It has been a while since I was a caregiver, but when my mom was dealing with metastatic lung cancer, I remember that her first doctor treated her with standard therapies (most likely carbo/taxol) and when that didn't shrink it, he basically told her that he couldn't do anything else. Now, that was before these targeted therapies have taken off and there are way more clinical trials now than there were then, but still, he wasn't even willing to look around.

Luckily my mom wasn't willing to throw in the towel. Instead, she went to another doctor at another hospital who was willing to try a clinical trial, then (if I remember correctly) taxotere, and basically worked with her for as long as she wanted to, exploring different things.

I can also tell you that I had run ins with other health care providers (a nurse specifically) that were truly negative, and I hate to think of the impact that their words had on my mom. In particular the nurse who asked my mom if she smoked and then proceeded to chirp "well, I see it finally caught up to you." Really? Not helpful! I was outraged and I told the doctor who was on duty when she came on rounds. She wasn't much nicer about it. The lack of sensitivity was not going to be helpful in my mom's recovery process. But I think I successfully got the nurse taken off my mother's case!

I wish more people could switch doctors to someone who they feel comfortable with. Unfortunately, I talk to a lot of people who are in HMOs or don't have health insurance who are limited in who they can see. Or, they still feel like if they switch, they will jeopardize their own treatment by "angering" their current doctor or offending him/her.

You guys mentioned learning assertiveness and self-advocacy due to your cancer experience. I wish there was a way to teach people that BEFORE they get sick. It would serve all of us well.

Hopefully others will chime in.

My PCP recommended my onc who was part of a group. However, he remained my doctor throughtout. I think this works best as you can establish a relationship that works for you. My onc and I found we had a lot in common, reading, movies etc and we would get into discussions. He worked out a game plan and I have complete trust in him. I'm in remission nearly 7 yrs. I also know that he keeps up with all the latest treatment options. If I didn't think he was good or didn't like his personality I would definitely seek another onc.


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