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get a second opinion

Patteee's picture
Patteee
Posts: 950
Joined: Jul 2009

My story:
The colorectal surgeon my doctor referred me to? It took 2 weeks to get in to see him. This was on a Thurs. He only does surgery on Wednesdays (kinda a red flag there, do I really want a surgeon who only works at his skill one day a week?) and his first opening was 6 weeks away.

I made an appointment at Mayo that afternoon for the following Monday. They explained all testing would be done on M-T-W, and I would meet with the colorectal surgeon on Wednesday. Surgery would probably be done then on Thursday. WHOA did I hear this right??? WOW what a fine oiled machine at Mayo- all testing done, including a repeat colonscopy with no less than 10 doctors observing. Surgery was on for Monday June 9th. I left there confident and felt as those I would be in great hands. My bowel obstructed late Friday night in Mpls. The local ER pumped me full of morphine and transported me to Mayo 100 miles away. The entire surgery team was waiting for me when I got there and went right to work. I don't like to think or talk about this experience, it was pretty horrific. But the alternative, if I had not gone for a second opinion at Mayo- I would have had an oncall surgeon here in the cities operating on me and it would not have been my choice!

So here is my question
Did you get a second opinion on your cancer dx or treatment. How did it help or support what you ended up doing?

Buzzard's picture
Buzzard
Posts: 3073
Joined: Aug 2008

I actually took the diagnosis that my gastro guy gave me and he set me up with a surgeon here in my town...I did go to see this surgeon but the more I spoke with him I never saw him ever smile and he never talked favorably about my prognosis, only to say that a permanent colostomy was inevitable and that he recommended rad/chemo before surgery which in the end was the right protocol for me. But, I had this erie feeling about the whole ordeal...this was my "LIFE" we ere talking about, not some game. I thought about the whole ordeal and had the same thoughts as you did or do. Im sitting here about to let a man that is probably thoroughly confident in what he does operate on me for colon cancer. He is an abdominal surgeon and probably (is) a first class surgeon but it was abdominal not cancer related. So, my thoughts was as yours I have to have a Dr that does this more than once or twice every month or so, so my second opinion was Vanderbilt and I found a surgeon that specializes in colorectal surgery along with a team of other Drs that specialize in all types of cancer fields so that they all work as a team to determine the best route to take to return the patient to as normal a life as possible. This was the people I went with and have never regretted it. As soon as I walked in to speak with him it was as if we had known each other all of our lives and the first words after he introduced himself was " Mr Powers, we fully expect you to die of old age, you are the type that gives us satisfaction in what we do, because we know that we can return you to as normal a life as possible with the least amount of concern of reoccurence. I went from thinking I wasn't going to live the rest of the year to now thinking that if a truck don't hit me Im living til Im at least 100.....

I think it is very important for anyone with any doubt at all to get a 2nd,3rd, or even 4th opinion until they themselves are completely satisfied with the route that their Drs are going to take. Its your only body and health on this earth, treat it as if your life depends on it, cause in this game it sometimes does......Bless ya and Good luck making your decisions...Clift

PhillieG's picture
PhillieG
Posts: 4912
Joined: May 2005

"So here is my question
Did you get a second opinion on your cancer dx or treatment. How did it help or support what you ended up doing?"

I did get a second opinion, it was at Sloan Kettering. It totally changed the path I was about to go on. I'm very glad I did, the other "plan" was not much of a plan, they were not even talking about curing me, just buying a little bit of time. While I am not cured, I am close to being cancer free.

Just another note, it is not uncommon for surgeons to have a separate day set aside for surgery only. I don't think most of them are out golfing the rest of the week but I don't know your doctor so who knows what his golf score is.

Hope this helps
-phil

angelsbaby's picture
angelsbaby
Posts: 1171
Joined: May 2008

But now that i look back it would of been a good idea i don't know if the outcome would be different but then angel didn't really like going to the drs so for him to do all that he did was all i could ask for and was thankful for that. He did fight so hard and i will be proud of him forever. And all of you who are fighting so hard you are the ones that are the bravest people i have ever known and i fell blessed to have all of you there for me.

michelle

Sundanceh's picture
Sundanceh
Posts: 4408
Joined: Jun 2009

And now I can answer a post like this one.

I've been going to the same cancer center since I was dx'd. My oncologist there was a veteran with 30+ years of experience. I thought he was taking pretty good care of me and we consulted and I did my research and went to his office prepared to talk about treatments or waiting and a variety of things. Were some mistakes made? Probably, he even admits that. Maybe we did not do things the way they should have been done...it's behind me and we move forward like we all know...you make the best decision, roll the dice, and live with the results good or bad. It is an inexact science.

Well, back in May of this year, my last PET and CT revealed 2 tumors in my pleura of my lung and showed uptake activity to one of those spots prominently. He requested a needle biopsy but I declined, based on my failed biopsy of my liver where they said there was nothing, but instead I had a tumor in there the size of an orange...how do you miss something like that?
They wanted money up front and I already had a 6-month payment plan set up for the PET. Now they would want $250 more for my end of the CT + how much ever for the biopsy part...and the spots are about 1.4 cm, so it was a hit and miss proposition. If they did the biopsy and said negative, how could I really believe that? And if it was cancer, then I needed the surgery anyway.

Well at the same time, the cancer clinic began to look like a ghost town...parking lots were empty, nobody in the blood labs, radiology and infusion practically empty. I did some digging and talked to a few nurses I knew. The place was beginning to dry up and wither away...many people had been laid off, people had stopped coming out of town and people could no longer afford to pay for their tests and infusions. This place began demanding your co-pay right up front before filing your insurance claim, so that out of pocket expense was forcing many people to stop going there.

I told them then, I would update your resumes because you will be out of business in 6 months. I've been back once to flush my port and see my old onc one more time, but it just looked like my days there were over...you began to wonder if you were going to get good treatment there.

So, I made the decision to seek a 2nd opinion on the mets to the lung. I met with a new oncologist, a bright fellow, who is very dialed into Cancer...he had me figured out in ONE hour what the other guy almost seemed not to in a 5 year relationship. He was studious and contradicted several things about my treatment that had been done.

I met with him last week just before I posted my update about the return of my cancer. We talked intelligently about all the possibilities and I am feeling more comfortable with him, this just my 2nd visit.

The meeting with the chest surgeon was a fiasco...but I've talked with him since...and I just chalked up to he was having a bad day...I'm now waiting to meet with him again after he confirms that surgery is the recommendation. He's an associate professor who specializes in thorasic and cardio surgery...so he's been called a very competent surgeon.

So, to answer your question, it was good for me that I got this 2nd opinion and have ended up at a new facility in which to further my care and hopefully take better care of me. I think it was worth the peace of mind and the hospital is so far advanced with the latest machines and a nice infusion area...and everything looks so good in comparison to where I was.

I think it's like anything...we can get one option or many...we'd all receive different opinions. Like everybody, we just do our homework, talk it over with the oncs / surgeon and just hope that all of us are on the same page...and that we feel comfortable enough in that relationship...and that if it calls for it...to walk away from a relationship.

I took another fork in the road on the journey and I try not to 2nd guess it...surgery is looming for me in just a few weeks or so.

Take care of yourself and nice post
-Craig

Buzzard's picture
Buzzard
Posts: 3073
Joined: Aug 2008

Never second guess anything.....or apologize for anything you feel adamant about. Its what makes us different and progresses the race..........Clift

PhillieG's picture
PhillieG
Posts: 4912
Joined: May 2005

Buzzard, I don't quite understand your comment to John.
"Never second guess anything.....or apologize for anything you feel adamant about. Its what makes us different and progresses the race".

I don't want to second guess the meaning of second guessing or apologizing about anything. Also, the race thing, not like the boys in brown I hope?

luv3jay's picture
luv3jay
Posts: 534
Joined: May 2009

Well, as a citizen of brown town, it didn't even occur to me that he could have been talking about *race* in that way. I was thinking the HUMAN race...right?

Anyway, I have been going to Lombardi at Georgetown since the beginning. Since this latest recurrance in the lung, my mother has been wanting me to seek a 2nd opinion on treatment from Johns Hopkins or Cancer treatment centers of america. So I'm gathering all of my info to get that moving along.

PhillieG's picture
PhillieG
Posts: 4912
Joined: May 2005

I didn't mean that all all. I don't know what to make of "makes us different and progresses the race". What race?

I'm glad to hear you are going for a second opinion. You have to sort it all out and go with what you feel is the best plan. It's not easy but you have a plan.

PhillieG's picture
PhillieG
Posts: 4912
Joined: May 2005

Craig,
It sounds like you did not get a second one in the beginning. I think that once the onc told me he felt like mistakes were made, I would have thanked him and said goodbye. It almost sounds like you were a learning lesson for him. I would make sure you feel comfortable with your chest surgeon too. My onc is not a warm and fuzzy kind of doctor but she is possibly one of the best in the country. She has incredible credentials and has done plenty of research and written many papers on various cancer related topics. Another thing that my brother did for me when we were looking for an alternate onc when I wasn't covered at SK was to see when they graduated and where they went to school. We didn't want someone who is older and stuck in their ways nor did we want someone too young a green. Also, if they went to school in Grenada (the country that we went in to liberate under Reagan) they were off the list too. Those were some things that I felt were important.
I hope you are comfortable with everyone and that your surgery goes smoothly with a fast recovery.

-phil

Buzzard's picture
Buzzard
Posts: 3073
Joined: Aug 2008

Human race as in the complete human race....as in moving forward and never stalling ..This progresses "civilization"...that may be a little more politically correct......sheesh..LOL

PhillieG's picture
PhillieG
Posts: 4912
Joined: May 2005

That's clearer...hey, there's chemo brain over here too at times.
Believe me, you don't have to be PC with me Mac
It just seemed odd (to me) in the context of your entire post
-p

PGLGreg's picture
PGLGreg
Posts: 741
Joined: Jul 2006

I did not get a second opinion --- It didn't occur to me. I didn't know that was an option. My gastroenterologist, who found my rectal cancer by colonoscopy, seemed confident in his recommendation of a surgeon. He mapped out for me what I would be doing when we talked in the hospital recovery room, immediately after he told me I did have rectal cancer. I just did what he said, called the surgeon's office for an appointment the next morning, got the LAR and some preliminary tests done, and by the end of that week, woke up in the hospital sans rectum and cancer. (But with anus spared.)

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