Friday, January 18, 2008

Mayo Dazed

The house is all picked up and shiny with all of the lights on, just like I never have it. While I wait for my departure time, I thought I would update you on my medical situation.

As you may recall, my oncologist and I decided to cease the chemotherapy that I have been doing every four weeks for the past year because it appeared to be no longer effective. The last CT-scan I had showed progression of my lymphoma.

Because I have been doing this for so long, I have run through all of the standard treatments available for this type of cancer. Each one gave me positive results for a period of time, but the disease always came back, which is its nature. So, at this point in time, I have few options. My oncologist did some research and we have decided to send me down to the Mayo clinic for a work-up and to see one of their cancer specialists. Apparently they are doing some things there that are not available to the general population.

I approach this with mixed feelings. I went down to the Mayo one other time early on in my battle with cancer and it was probably the worst experience I have had with the medical system. This was a surprise to me as I went into it with the expectation that I was going to the "Mecca" of the medical world.

My wife took the day off from work to join me at the clinic bright and early. I had come down the day before to get a CT-scan that the specialist I was going to see could analyse. We were a bit early for our appointment as we always try to be. Then we sat. And sat. And sat. We waited for three hours before being called back to see this doctor.

I have never before met such an egotisical, cold, boastful man in my entier life. And that is saying something because not only did I grow up in the medical world (my father was a physician), but I also worked in it on and off as a surgical technician. I have met my share of medical egos. This guy was in a different league.

Apparently, he was just back from some medical conference in Europe and was dying to tell about it. Not to us of course - we were specimens - but to his colleagues over the phone which rang every five minutes and which he picked up and used while we sat there. When he did feel the need to speak at us (not "to" us, but "at" us), it was in clipped directives.

In the end, all he said to us was that if I did not start some kind of treatment soon, I would die. Then he showed us the door.

I have never seen C so mad. She walked out of there with steam coming out of her ears. And then in the end, we had to pay out of our own pocket to be mistreated and insulted by the finest medical institution in the world because our insurance wouldn't cover it.

All of this came rushing back as I sat on the other end of the phone from my oncologist (who is one of the kindest and most caring doctors I have ever met) as he was telling me that he had arranged an appointment at the Mayo, AND because I had been there before, they set me up with the same doctor as previously. I am not kidding.

I politely told my oncologist that actually, I would NOT like to see that person again and as it turned out, the original appointment was set for a time when I would not be in town so he had to call them back anyway. A short time later he called me back with a new day and a new physician, a woman who he did not know personally, but who came recommended.

So, sometime early next month, I will let you all know if the Mayo curse stuck with me or whether it is a whole new world.



Blogger lime said...

am glad your current oncologist understood your concerns. i hope perhaps he can continue to be an advocate for you through whatever goes on at the mayo. praying the curse is broken with this new doc, that there is something they feel may be helpful for you AND that it doesn't have a boatload of yucky side effects.

great big hugs. all your friends here will be with you in spirit.

4:16 PM, January 18, 2008  
Blogger Moosekahl said...

I can't find an email for you. Shoot me a line at I work at "THE" Mayo and I get that frustrated with "THE" system so don't feel bad. Like I said, if you need anything while you are here please let me know. There are days I want to bang my head on the wall and tell people that the mecca of health care is still "just" a hospital and clinic. Take care of yourself between now and then.

12:13 PM, January 19, 2008  
Blogger Cheesy said...

Oh baby... getting touched by a lady Dr.~~... maybe a silver lining baby! Wink wink.. hugs sweetie..

10:39 PM, January 19, 2008  

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