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Frustrated with the medical system

Posts: 372
Joined: Aug 2006

Well I'm 18 months after treatment and may still be NED from Stage III. I went in for the usual 4 month blood draw on Wednesday. Onc said my white blood cells were just about normal but that the platelets were still down but not so low to be of a big concern. Red blodd cells normal. The tests I was obviously concerned about CEA and PSA results would come on Thursday. Onc said if they don't call then call them on Friday. A normal practice since they never call with results. I called early Friday and was told the nurse would call back with the results. They usually return the call but not always. This time they didn't. So we spent a pleasant Easter weekend wondering if the tests were bad so the nurse wanted the Onc to call or they were normal and had little significance to them. It really bothered my family not knowing and of course nothing I could do about it. My next CT-scan is in June unless the blood tests indicate something else. Sorry to vent but we have a large family get together on Easter and everyone knew about the tests and the no results. We lost Dad to colon cancer about six years ago. It's too bad there are so many semicolons that we can become just a file on someone's desk.

StacyGleaso's picture
Posts: 1250
Joined: Mar 2003

You're right, it IS frustrating. The way I look at it, it's either one of two things....

(1) You're ok, and "no news is good news"

or (2) They didn't want to ruin your Easter with bad news.

Personally, I think it's the first one....doctors' offices are quick to let you know if something needs attention....so maybe just be happy you were ignored, since everything is fine!

You're doing everything in your power to stay on top of things, and as you know, that is KEY TO SUCCESS!

You'll do just fine....folks like us tend to linger as we're maybe not quite "good enough" for heaven and not quite "bad enough" for hell!

Have a great week!


Betsydoglover's picture
Posts: 1256
Joined: Jul 2005

Hi Louis -

Like Stacy says, it is probably the first - you're OK.

However, I understand your frustration. I'm Stage IV and my oncologist used to call me the day after scans with my results. The last two times she has not done that. I get the impression she is so pleased with my progress that she doesn't feel yet another good scan report requires a phone call. Well, that may be the case for her, but for me - I still need to hear ASAP. This Wednesday I have PET and CT scans - can't see the onc until next Monday since she is off on Friday.

Hoping she contacts me with results on Thursday, but otherwise know I have to wait until Monday. Right now I am thinking that 1) the scans won't affect results, just report them and 2) we can't treat what we can't find. So, while I am anxious, I am also realizing that the scans, blood tests etc. will only report information, nothing more (she said bravely!). And, when I see her next Monday I am going to ask (tell?) her to please call me from now on!

Wishing you the best,

Monicaemilia's picture
Posts: 455
Joined: Nov 2006

Lou: I totally understand how you would interpret the lack of phone call, but I have found that as much as I'd like to believe otherwise, I am just another patient/phone call that needs to be made before the end of the work day. I would suggest that you speak to your oncologist about not getting return phone calls in a timely manner and the effet it is having on you and your family. Just remind her who the sick, anxious person is (hint, not the secretary/nurse). Monica

KathiM's picture
Posts: 8077
Joined: Aug 2005

Oh, my dear....it's the old glass empty/full thing.

I'm 2 years in May on the rectal cancer....I don't start worrying until my doctor calls and says there's something to worry about. Worry is bad for your health!!!!

I know, the end of treatment is like graduating high school...."Congrats you are free to live your life...without a net...enjoy!" Scares the pee out of us that have been carefully watched, and told to report any sign of anything...
I have to agree with Monique...my beau is a doctor, I have seen his office at the end of day...sometimes (this doesn't excuse it, just explains it...sigh) the end of day comes before the end of work...and they are 'Just doing their job'. It's important to them, just not as important as it is to you....

I always try to see the glass half full...no news is good news...although, as an engineer's daughter, I should see it as a design flaw...the glass is twice as big as it has to be...heheheheehe!

Hugs, Kathi

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