Getting a second opinion is something that you may not think of when you are recently diagnosed with cancer or any medical problem. But when the time is right it is a great tool and asset to use. I decided to trust my doctor a year ago when he talked to me about what he thought we should do. I felt that since he did the surgery he knows what was going on inside me and know how to address it. So for about 10 months I did that. But then my doctor decided to leave the practice he was at, and for me that just happened to hit when I had a recurrence.
I was shocked and surprised that he was leaving, and also scared about the future without my doctor. But looking back now, it is one of the best things that could happen.
Because of what happened, I used my anger to get second and third opinions at the top hospitals in the country. Was this easy? No but know that it is done I am so glad I did it.
So how did I do it? First I looked at U.S. News and World Report and what they ranked as 1-5 for cancer hospitals. I then started calling the hospitals but quickly learned I just needed to call my insurance company and ask them if I would be covered by the hospitals, and I was, from there I got in touch with MD Anderson in Houston and Memorial Sloan-Kettering in NYC.
Once I got information from them, I then had to give my permission and get my current hospital to send different medical records that the hospitals wanted. That involved a form that I had to fill out to get the information to the medical records person and then where to send things.
After that I had to wait to hear back from the hospitals to see if they could get me an appointment with a doctor. Once I got the call that both had doctors I could see and dates on when I could see them I them had to get my surgery slides sent to both places. That involved some flexibility but I was able to get it figured out thanks to someone from Pathology.
The next step was figuring out travel, something that should have been easy but was not, there were differing opinions on how we should travel to MD Anderson.
Finally it was time to go and see the doctors. I went to Memorial Sloan-Kettering first and that trip was more of a sightseeing trip with a doctors visit included. And then with MD Anderson it was more of a medical visit with a little sight seeing.
Once at both offices I had to register, sign HIPPA, and any other forms and then wait to see the doctor and hear their thoughts.
Both oncologists thought that I had been getting the right care and felt that since I did not have any symptoms and felt good that I could wait until August 27th to get my next CT, to see what it shows. Hopefully it will show that I am stable and that my current medication is doing the job of keeping everything the same. But if not I will have three options on what I can do.
So now I wait for my CT in August, bloodwork the following week and a doctors appointment with my possible new oncologist to learn the results and what I will do in the coming months.
It has been a busy two weeks but a very beneficial. I suggest if you want to please do get a second opinion. No matter what you will learn something, and it just might give you peace of mind.
I am now getting ready to go to a leadership conference as staff. I will be gone for two weeks, and will not have any chance if much of one to get on tumblr. But I hope and promise to get back into the swing of things when I get back in mid-August.
My Mom and I in NYC
Dad and I in Galveston.