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First CT scan results

GaDonna
Posts: 9
Joined: Jan 2010

Hi friends. I just joined this site a few days ago and have been reading all of the wonderful interaction and helpful information shared by the members. Now I need your help.

My boyfriend who finished treatment in September just had his first CT scan yesterday. His doctor emailed him with the results. In the email which was all of 2 sentences long, there were typos and some confusion. He says everything looks good, which is GREAT, but why am I first outraged and furious that his doctor emailed him with this information, and secondly, why am I so guarded and don't feel as relieved as I thought I would be.
I know part of the reason for being guarded is because I just lost my dad to lung cancer this past Thanksgiving day. He was diagnosed 3 weeks prior to my boyfriend. I am still grieving the loss of my dad and I think I am making matters worse for my boyfriend. I don't know what to do!!!!!

soccerfreaks's picture
soccerfreaks
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

Some people seem to like getting results via telephone. I have not heard of results via email before your example, but why not?

My friends who boast of receiving results by phone are happy about that because they get their results faster, or so they think. I'm not sure the same can be said for email results, but if the doc likes to 'visit' by way of email and if your significant other is cool with it, then I don't see TOO many problems.

To wit: I don't think that email delivery of news is necessarily a red flag with respect to the doctor's competency. If BF ASKED to get the news that way, or if BF AGREED to get the news that way, then I don't see a red flag. (Obviously, BF provided an email address to doc.)

If BF did NOT agree in writing or face-to-face to receive news this way, I would say that you are completely justified by your anger and concern. It is NOT the way to deliver news, good or bad, if the recipient is not prepared to get the news that way.

Beyond that, and regardless of BF's 'culpability' in the matter, I would advise that it is a poor way for them to exchange information if it is the only way they exchange information. The problem with email is that it is, first, a non-starter in terms of evaluating body signals from the sender (i.e., doctor), and, second, provides an awkward method for asking vital questions. I would say that almost all of the time a face-to-face will be the most beneficial way to learn the most and to have the most possible success.

That said, I happen to know my doctors very well by now. I HAVE communicated with at least two of them via email. It has never been about diagnoses, but I think I know enough about them by now that I would accept a diagnosis by email if we previously agreed that I could get them that way.

The thing is, they would refuse. They want to see me to evaluate where I am with this, to see if I am losing weight or gaining it, to find out if I am adhering to dietary restrictions, perhaps. They want to be in front of me, gathering data. I cannot begin to enumerate the number of tests I have received -- routinely -- over the past several years, all meant to let these guys (and ladies) know how I am doing.

I would find it unacceptable too. If I were BF I would like it, trust me on that. But if I were GF, I would be upset.

Take care,

Joe

GaDonna
Posts: 9
Joined: Jan 2010

I appreciate your input and from reading your bio, you are unfortunately, a seasoned vet at this. It helps to hear another perspective especially from someone who's been there.
I will focus on the fact that the results are good and let my BF sort out the technicalities of how he and his doctor communicate going forward.
God bless you!

Hondo's picture
Hondo
Posts: 5608
Joined: Apr 2009

These days you just don’t get what you paid for anymore.

Two ways to look at it, number one, if you do have any concerns at all contact your doctor and reschedule a visit.

Number two, if the doctor gives you the report over the phone or e-mail it is because they don’t see anything to worry about, it’s when they call you and say we need to see you in our office tomorrow that is when there is a problem.

Take care and God be with you.

cwcad's picture
cwcad
Posts: 117
Joined: Nov 2009

Emails are my best friend when it comes to communication. They are quick, informative, and easy. With that said my doctors have never emailed me anything other than confirmation of my appointments. I do have a relationship with my Onco doctor that does allow some communication by phone since I am three hours away by car. We have discussed things on the phone but no decision were ever made during our phone conversations. I guess all I didi was tell him how I was feeling and he listened. I liked that part.

delnative's picture
delnative
Posts: 452
Joined: Aug 2009

Because I had my most recent PET scan at Johns Hopkins instead of at my local hospital, whose facilities aren't exactly world-class, I was able to have the scan at 9 a.m. and see my doc for the results at 1 p.m. (100 percent clean, BTW)
That was the ideal method for me, but e-mail or a phone call would have suited me just fine.
Heck, they could deliver that sort of news by carrier pigeon and it wouldn't bother me.

--Jim in Delaware

Chefdaddy
Posts: 164
Joined: Dec 2009

Great report on the 100% clean delnative!

Keep up the good work my friend

Chefdaddy

Glenna M's picture
Glenna M
Posts: 1580
Joined: May 2009

delnative -

Happy to hear you scan came back clean, now it's time to celebrate.

I also wouldn't mind receiving an e-mail from any of my doctors if it meant I got the results faster. Having to wait to see my doctor can be nerve wracking, it always takes a week to get the results.

Stay strong and keep smiling,
Glenna

Hondo's picture
Hondo
Posts: 5608
Joined: Apr 2009

Jim you are so right, I have been waiting 8 years now for a clean PET scan report, like you said carrier pigeon, Donkey, or Pony Express would not matter to me, I would be a happy camper no matter how it came.

micktissue's picture
micktissue
Posts: 432
Joined: Dec 2009

I can understand your reaction. When it's bad news it is difficult to hear so impersonally and cannot ease the sting. When it is good news maybe we like to look into the eyes of the bearer of the news for that extra bit of validation.

What I am curious about is your boyfriend's reaction. Was he upset with the way the news was communicated? If he is like me, I cannot imagine that it was upsetting. I am wondering if the Dr assumed the fastest way to get the info to him was email?

The reason I ask this is because my relationship with my Drs is different that my wife's relationship with them. I am ok getting news any way I can get it and my Drs understand that. BUT my wife's reaction is like yours. When I explained this relational difference to her, she was better, but still a bit peeved.

I hope that helps.

Best,

Mick

GaDonna
Posts: 9
Joined: Jan 2010

Thanks to all of you for responding! And yes I see your point, good news is good news and that's what I'm happy for.
My boyfriend's reaction was relief and happiness with just a little reservation. With this being his first scan, he is having a hard time being completely convinced it's gone.
I think that's my problem too. With just having lost my dad and every scan he had was bad news, I don't know what to do with this good news. I would rather have been face to face and been able to ask some questions. I have to seperate the two circumstances.
We are celebrating and moving forward with hope.

Kent Cass's picture
Kent Cass
Posts: 1746
Joined: Nov 2009

Glad to hear of the positive results, but I would caution you on the matter of Cat Scans. The Pet Scan is the most reliable in detection of C. Has your boyfriend had any PS? If C is the subject matter, I would suggest he requests a PS. And even with the PS, as in my case, something "might" show-up, but even then it is not conclusive. My Oto said he was not concerned with such in my last PS, so soon after treatment, and being in an area prone to false-positives. So, even if a possible positive shows on a PS, perhaps that doesn't even mean the dreaded C has returned.

I do hope and pray all will be well, GaDonna.

Believe.

kcass

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