Chemo or not--terrible day @ oncologist

Tinabug
Tinabug Member Posts: 158
edited March 2014 in Breast Cancer #1
Thanks to everyone's advice about whether or not I should have chemo. After reading your replies, I have decided chemo is definitely the best choice. My sweet husband keeps telling me "You've gone 90% of the way, might as well go the other 10%...can't stop now." We had an appt with the oncologist today, but I didn't actually see him. After a 2 hr wait, I asked the nurse if it is normal to have a 2 hr wait each wk & her reply was "yes." I politely explained he isn't the one for me. I am not going to wait for 2 hrs before chemo treatments every week. I do wish I would have been patient enough to listen to his suggestion so I could compare it to my 2nd opinion. However, I was about to explode. Is it common to have to wait so long each week? I have no idea what to expect, but I just feel that is extremely inconsiderate. It sucks having cancer, it sucks to have to have chemo, & waiting 2 hrs is something I don't feel like I should also have to endure. I constantly keep using the word "overwhelming." The diagnosis was overwhelming, the decisions I am having to make are overwhelming, the treatment is overwhelming, the emotions are overwhelming & luckily, the support I have rcvd has been overwhelming. Please give me an idea of what to expect on my visits to the oncologist. Thank you in advance. I am so thankful for this site, my friend, a bc survivor, recommended it.

Comments

  • Noel
    Noel Member Posts: 3,095 Member
    Hi Tina
    Hi Tina! I am glad that you made your choice and your hubby sounds very supportive of you, and, that means a LOT. Was there a reason for the 2 hour wait? If he had a good reason this ONE time, I might let it go, but, if this is standard, no. Your time is precious and you deserve to be given your treatment or to be seen in a timely professional manner. And, 2 hours of waiting isn't that. Is there another oncologist you can see?

    Having bc just plain sucks Tina. That is it in a nutshell. But, we choose how we deal with it. I chose to fight it and to stay positive and to get thru all of my treatments as best as I could. I am blessed to have a great husband, family, friends and co workers. Without them, it would have been a lot harder.

    Just take one day at a time. Try not to stress out and take charge of your life and your treatment. We have to be our own advocates a lot of the time.

    I will be praying for you and sending you lots of good, positive thoughts!

    ♥ Noel
  • fauxma
    fauxma Member Posts: 3,577 Member
    While I am sure that all
    While I am sure that all oncologist have occasionally run late and had patients waiting, no one should be waiting two hours and be told that will be the norm. I don't care if they are the best oncologist in the world. If their practice is that full, get an associate, take less patients. If their quantity of patients is so large that there is a two hour delay each appointment then I think that the quality of care is going to be diminished. I think you are right in looking elsewhere. I did not have chemo but I do seem an oncologist for my arimidex and she does see chemo patients and I have never been kept waiting beyond a few minutes and I have never seen anyone waiting for that length of time. When I walk in for my appointment and then come out thirty minutes later, there is no one sitting in the waiting room that was there when I came in. This is all, as you say, overwhelming enough without having to wait way beyond reason to be seen. I know that the other ladies will fill you in on what a first visit might be like. Keep in mind each visit can be different because we are all consulting them for different treatments but you will get a general idea. I'll keep you in my prayers that you find a just right oncologist and that your treatments go as smoothly as possible.
    Stef
  • Tinabug
    Tinabug Member Posts: 158
    Noel said:

    Hi Tina
    Hi Tina! I am glad that you made your choice and your hubby sounds very supportive of you, and, that means a LOT. Was there a reason for the 2 hour wait? If he had a good reason this ONE time, I might let it go, but, if this is standard, no. Your time is precious and you deserve to be given your treatment or to be seen in a timely professional manner. And, 2 hours of waiting isn't that. Is there another oncologist you can see?

    Having bc just plain sucks Tina. That is it in a nutshell. But, we choose how we deal with it. I chose to fight it and to stay positive and to get thru all of my treatments as best as I could. I am blessed to have a great husband, family, friends and co workers. Without them, it would have been a lot harder.

    Just take one day at a time. Try not to stress out and take charge of your life and your treatment. We have to be our own advocates a lot of the time.

    I will be praying for you and sending you lots of good, positive thoughts!

    ♥ Noel

    Thanks Noel
    Hi Noel,

    Thank you so much. I wasn't for sure if it was the norm to wait that long since that was our 1st visit. To begin with, I am not patient, but I thought 2 hrs would have bothered anyone. I have hoped that breast cancer would help me become someone who doesn't sweat the small stuff. However, it hasn't happened. At least, not yet. I may not be patient, but I have remained positive throughout this entire ordeal. I got married on Oct 14th & was diagnosed with IDC on Oct 26th. I chose to have a bilateral mastectomy, which happened on Nov. 23rd. Like you, I am blessed with a wonderful support group. I couldn't survive without them. When the nurse told me it was common for the wait to be 2 hrs, I knew I couldn't do it. I would be stressed each time I had a 2 hr wait. We were put in an exam room & never checked on again. We never rcvd an apology or explanation. I want a great doctor(& he is), but I also want one that understands common courtesy. My 1st visit to the oncologist was bad enough without the wait. Thanks for letting me vent.
  • Noel
    Noel Member Posts: 3,095 Member
    Tinabug said:

    Thanks Noel
    Hi Noel,

    Thank you so much. I wasn't for sure if it was the norm to wait that long since that was our 1st visit. To begin with, I am not patient, but I thought 2 hrs would have bothered anyone. I have hoped that breast cancer would help me become someone who doesn't sweat the small stuff. However, it hasn't happened. At least, not yet. I may not be patient, but I have remained positive throughout this entire ordeal. I got married on Oct 14th & was diagnosed with IDC on Oct 26th. I chose to have a bilateral mastectomy, which happened on Nov. 23rd. Like you, I am blessed with a wonderful support group. I couldn't survive without them. When the nurse told me it was common for the wait to be 2 hrs, I knew I couldn't do it. I would be stressed each time I had a 2 hr wait. We were put in an exam room & never checked on again. We never rcvd an apology or explanation. I want a great doctor(& he is), but I also want one that understands common courtesy. My 1st visit to the oncologist was bad enough without the wait. Thanks for letting me vent.

    Not normal
    No, 2 hours is not the norm, and if it is, then you should move on. That is beyond rude and very unprofessional. I have always felt that we, as cancer patients, deserve extra special treatment, and, if I don't get it from any of my doctors, then I am moving on. It is normal to sweat even the small stuff now Tina. You are anxious, upset, worried and scared. That goes hand in hand with it. But, you will eventually calm down and not sweat the small stuff so much. You are still fresh out of the diagnosis and surgery. I have a friend on here who hates her oncologist, so, she has her rads oncologist do everything for her. See if you can find another oncologist to help you. I don't think this one is good for you.

    Oh, and vent anytime!

    ♥ Noel
  • RE
    RE Member Posts: 4,591 Member
    You can do it!
    Hi Tina, I too am glad you are opting for the chemo. In regards to the 2 hour wait, heavens no I never ever had to wait long. My onco has always felt we were going through enough without adding time to get ourselves all riled up. Keep us posted on how things go, we are here for you.

    RE
  • Sher43009
    Sher43009 Member Posts: 602 Member
    Hi Tina
    I've been through

    Hi Tina

    I've been through chemo and never had to wait more than 10 min. to get in to see the doctor or to get "hooked up" in the infusion center. I'm also not a patient person so the 2 hour wait would have sent me over the edge. You have to be comfortable with the medical team treating you. It is all about you now and it's the way it should be. I'm glad your hubby is such a support.
  • pitt
    pitt Member Posts: 387
    Tina, I actually had the
    Tina, I actually had the option of going to see the oncologist and do my labs the day before my treatment. That way on treatment day, I just walked in to the treatment area and got started right away. Perhaps that is an option at your doctor's location? But at any rate, a two hour wait is NOT okay and should NEVER be the norm. If it is, you are right to go elsewhere. And as for the small stuff, you are nervous right now. You wouldn't be human if these things didn't bother you. Find the place, doctor, system that makes you feel comfortable...then the rest will work itself out. good luck! Pitt
  • jnl
    jnl Member Posts: 3,869 Member
    pitt said:

    Tina, I actually had the
    Tina, I actually had the option of going to see the oncologist and do my labs the day before my treatment. That way on treatment day, I just walked in to the treatment area and got started right away. Perhaps that is an option at your doctor's location? But at any rate, a two hour wait is NOT okay and should NEVER be the norm. If it is, you are right to go elsewhere. And as for the small stuff, you are nervous right now. You wouldn't be human if these things didn't bother you. Find the place, doctor, system that makes you feel comfortable...then the rest will work itself out. good luck! Pitt

    I don't think that 2 hours
    I don't think that 2 hours should be the norm or acceptable unless it would be a one time emergency. That is just rude and not the kind of oncologist I would want. I hope that you try a new oncologist and that you don't have to wait. Good luck Tina!

    Leeza
  • Marcia527
    Marcia527 Member Posts: 2,729
    I never had to wait two
    I never had to wait two hours. I'd wait maybe 10 or 16 minutes (but not more)for the blood check and then wait again for maybe ten minutes or less for the chemo treatment. If two hours is a normal wait they aren't scheduling right. The longest I had to wait was the one time I went back the next day for the neulesta shot. I waited an hour.
  • cindycflynn
    cindycflynn Member Posts: 1,132 Member
    2 Hours!
    Should NOT be the norm. It should only happen in case of an emergency, and you should not accept below-standard care, which includes caring for your time and the fact that while you're sitting there waiting you're usually worrying more than usual and just want to GET THIS OVER WITH!

    You were right to tell them that this is not the doctor for you if they consider that long of a wait "normal". I know it's frustrating to have a setback in your schedule, but it's much more important in the long run to know you're being cared for by the right team.

    Take care,
    Cindy
  • TraciInLA
    TraciInLA Member Posts: 1,994 Member

    2 Hours!
    Should NOT be the norm. It should only happen in case of an emergency, and you should not accept below-standard care, which includes caring for your time and the fact that while you're sitting there waiting you're usually worrying more than usual and just want to GET THIS OVER WITH!

    You were right to tell them that this is not the doctor for you if they consider that long of a wait "normal". I know it's frustrating to have a setback in your schedule, but it's much more important in the long run to know you're being cared for by the right team.

    Take care,
    Cindy

    You MUST feel comfortable at your oncologist's office
    Tina -

    I'm not as angry that you had to wait for 2 hours as I am that no one in the office came to tell you why, or to explain or apologize or reschedule your appointment. Doctors have emergencies, it happens -- but it's the office staff's responsibility to coordinate patient schedules, and respect your time as much as possible.

    You have to be comfortable not just with your oncologist, but with the office environment and staff -- you're going to be spending a LOT of time there! You were right to go with your gut, and I really hope you can ask one of your other doctors or your insurance company for a recommendation to another office.

    By way of comparison, I'll brag for just a minute about my oncologist: At my very first meeting with him, we had been waiting in the exam room for maybe 15-20 minutes. The doctor came in, introduced himself, apologized for running late, and said, "This is a very important visit, so I don't want to rush. Please bear with me for a few more minutes, so I can finish up with this other patient, then we will have plenty of time to talk."

    And he's a CUTIE, too! :-) I feel very lucky I found a good one.

    Traci
  • MAJW
    MAJW Member Posts: 2,510 Member
    Waiting.......
    Tina On my first visit with my oncologist we ended up being there 2 hours...reason.........Once we did meet with him, I understood........He spent over an hour and a half with us.......never felt rushed, he answered EVERY question we had, then some,explained EVERYTHING IN GREAT DETAIL......He explained EVERYTHING there was to know about chemo, side effects, what to expect, etc....we left there, definitely educated on chemo.. Plus I know I am not his only patient... There after I was in and out in less than 15 minutes....unless I had issues that needed discussed. For me, he was worth the wait....

    I understand your frustration, waiting is awful! BUt I have found it is part of the path I have travelled......There were days when I felt like all I was doing was waiting......
    I hope you find an oncologist that is more to your liking........WE need to like and trust our physicians.

    Best wishes
  • mimivac
    mimivac Member Posts: 2,143
    Tinabug,
    I am sorry you had such a frustrating experience at the oncologist's office. A 2-hour wait is not the norm and I totally agree with Traci that the staff should have handled it much better. Not saying a word to you for 2 hours and then just saying that yes, it's the norm when you ask is unacceptable. Majw's point that sometimes the best doctors keep you waiting is also well taken. But you know what? You can often tell the quality of the doctor by the curtesy and efficiency of his front office. If you had to wait two hours but they treated you really well, I would say give the oncologist a try. But it doesn't sound like that was the case. I think you made the right decision. Good luck. You are on your way. It's a tough road, but you are already standing up for yourself. Hugs,

    Mimi
  • Lynda53
    Lynda53 Member Posts: 210
    Hi Tina, I too am on chemo, back tomorrow
    I had a few weeks hiatus due to allergies to the drugs. This gave me time to think, is this what I really want? Well the answer is yes. They will begin a desensitization tomorrow. (slowly induce taxotere and watch my breathing)
    regarding waiting: My appointmants have been great.
    If my blood is scheduled for 12, the latest I waited was 1210!
    This is always followed 30 minutes later w/my onco appointment and the most I have waited was also 10 minutes. A 1/2 hour later I go to infusions, and I have never waited there!
    The one week they were the 10 minutes late, was the only week. I am sure my onco spoke w/them as his schedule is fixed.
    The whole mess sux and adding stress and hours to the day is totally wrong. I have seen the onco 8 times,since Sept
    Best wished for your next!
    Peace
  • Taina
    Taina Member Posts: 166
    you have to like your oncologist
    hi, Tina...
    you must like your oncologist since you will be stuck with him/her for life....
    I didn't waited to see mine for 2 hrs before tx...
    chemo wk i waited maybe 30 minutes before seen him...then he will
    ck my blood counts then ok my chemo tx....
    the next day i went back for Neulesta shot...was only in the office for max 30 minutes...
    wk after blood work no need to see doctor that wk, following wk blood work to max in the office 30-45 minutes....the following wk chemo cycle started again....
    took a break while going thru radiation seen oncologist....
    staff in his office is nice 2...
    i hope you can find one that you feel comfortable with.....
  • lizzie17
    lizzie17 Member Posts: 548
    onco visit
    I actually was at our local cancer center for 6 hours on my first visit, most of the time sitting in the exam room in a gown, with medical folks going in and out. That wasn't for me!
    I was still traumatized from my mastectomy and with all of the meds, kind of "out there".
    My surgeon recommended I see a group not related to the center, and I now love my oncologist!
    When he comes in, I feel like I am his only patient. Crowded, yes, and out of the 5 times I have been there so far, only once did I have a wait.
    I hope you find the right match for you.
  • Mama G
    Mama G Member Posts: 762
    Taina said:

    you have to like your oncologist
    hi, Tina...
    you must like your oncologist since you will be stuck with him/her for life....
    I didn't waited to see mine for 2 hrs before tx...
    chemo wk i waited maybe 30 minutes before seen him...then he will
    ck my blood counts then ok my chemo tx....
    the next day i went back for Neulesta shot...was only in the office for max 30 minutes...
    wk after blood work no need to see doctor that wk, following wk blood work to max in the office 30-45 minutes....the following wk chemo cycle started again....
    took a break while going thru radiation seen oncologist....
    staff in his office is nice 2...
    i hope you can find one that you feel comfortable with.....

    I agree with all the above
    You have to trust your oncologist and definitely like them and the staff. It will make your journey so much more doable! Let us know what happens with the 2nd opinion.
  • carkris
    carkris Member Posts: 4,553 Member
    lizzie17 said:

    onco visit
    I actually was at our local cancer center for 6 hours on my first visit, most of the time sitting in the exam room in a gown, with medical folks going in and out. That wasn't for me!
    I was still traumatized from my mastectomy and with all of the meds, kind of "out there".
    My surgeon recommended I see a group not related to the center, and I now love my oncologist!
    When he comes in, I feel like I am his only patient. Crowded, yes, and out of the 5 times I have been there so far, only once did I have a wait.
    I hope you find the right match for you.

    a two hour wait is is
    a two hour wait is is unacceptble except in case of emergency. Today I had chemo and was waiting to see onc, 30minutes. There is a person who comes around and asks how long you have been waiting. I told her I had a surgeon appt in 15 minutes so she went and told them and the NP finished with the other patient and he saw me. It would have been fine with me vice versa. I am very patient too and not the sqeaky wheel. but as time goes on you get tired and I personally cant tolerate 2 hours each time I drive almost2 hours to get there in traffic.
  • roseann4
    roseann4 Member Posts: 992 Member
    carkris said:

    a two hour wait is is
    a two hour wait is is unacceptble except in case of emergency. Today I had chemo and was waiting to see onc, 30minutes. There is a person who comes around and asks how long you have been waiting. I told her I had a surgeon appt in 15 minutes so she went and told them and the NP finished with the other patient and he saw me. It would have been fine with me vice versa. I am very patient too and not the sqeaky wheel. but as time goes on you get tired and I personally cant tolerate 2 hours each time I drive almost2 hours to get there in traffic.

    A 2 hour wait is rediculous!
    I guess I was lucky to find a wonderful and considerate oncologist. On my first visit I waited 30 mins. She apologized for the wait and spent 1 1/2 hours with me explaining everything in detail. She said that I may have to wait sometimes because of the needs of a patient who needs extra care but she would let me know whenever possible that she is running late so I can wait to come in until later. I ran late one day due to traffic and when I arrived she said, "Don't worry about it. Sometimes you have to wait because of my schedule, so how can I be upset when you are occasionally late." She treats me like an equal. If you can, interview another oncologist. If you have to wait everytime you go, it will be extra stressful.

    I'm sorry you had a bad experience.

    Roseann
  • mimivac
    mimivac Member Posts: 2,143
    roseann4 said:

    A 2 hour wait is rediculous!
    I guess I was lucky to find a wonderful and considerate oncologist. On my first visit I waited 30 mins. She apologized for the wait and spent 1 1/2 hours with me explaining everything in detail. She said that I may have to wait sometimes because of the needs of a patient who needs extra care but she would let me know whenever possible that she is running late so I can wait to come in until later. I ran late one day due to traffic and when I arrived she said, "Don't worry about it. Sometimes you have to wait because of my schedule, so how can I be upset when you are occasionally late." She treats me like an equal. If you can, interview another oncologist. If you have to wait everytime you go, it will be extra stressful.

    I'm sorry you had a bad experience.

    Roseann

    "She treats me like an equal"
    Roseann, this is so great. To be treated with respect and dignity, almost like a business partner, rather than a sick person who is pathetic is so important. So many times I hear that patients are made to feel that they need their oncologist, but their oncologist doesn't need them. So there is a definite imbalance of power. But you and you oncologist are partners for your health.

    Mimi