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UPDATE: Chest Surgeon Visit Went Badly

Sundanceh's picture
Posts: 4408
Joined: Jun 2009

Hi, Gang

It looks a little slow out on the "newsroom" today, so I thought I would post a follow-up on what happened when I had my appointment with the chest surgeon this week.

To begin with, they bungled my appointment in a big way. We each took a half day off with no pay to be there for one thing. When we got in, a series of nurses came in for the usual stuff, and then the PA to the surgeon came up and I updated her on the whole 5-year history. The sad thing about that is the 2nd opinion onc had written up a nine page document outlinging everything, but I had to go and give her the readers digest version.

Next, in came four medical students with a couple of nurses along with us in a small cramped room. There was an "exam" where she examined me and everyone got to see all of the scars on my once nice little body. Then, she told me the surgeon would be in next. Ok, I thought.

Then, the door flies wide open - this guy looks at me and says, "What are you doing here?" I told him in a frank manner, "I'm wondering that myself." Right away, I got a bad feeling about this man - just had this arrogance and cockiness that just was not right.

Right away, he begins barking commands to his PA and the nurse under her and they are literally shaking in their boots. The PA was so mixed up she could barely form a sentence, this guy must be the really intimidating type. I had to help steer her so she could give this guy the answers he was asking.

Only that was only part of it. He was so hurried, he was not listening to any of his own assistants and certainly not to me. He was going off on tangents and not taking the time to absorb the information. Combine with the fact that his pager was constantly going off and he was returning them one after another, seemingly oblivious to any of us in that room.

I thought what arrogance this guy has and I began to dislike him a little more. I know he is busy but he wasn't even polite in the protocol he was using with us in there on a pretty serious matter.

So, then he began ordering scans - we explained that we had already brought down all of the scans and all paperwork when we first got the 2nd opinion with the new onc. But he did not "hear" that. We finally convinced him we had the scans he wanted to see. He then said we would have to go back to our facility and "hand deliver" them to him. We explained again that we had done that, but that the onc had not uploaded the images to their server, so they could be accessed and viewed.

After all that he says, well we need to take a look at the scans. Well, DUH! That's what this appointment was supposed to be about and why we took a half day off unpaid. They said they would need ANOTHER WEEK to review the scans and get back to us. We left pretty frustrated at that point. I thought we'd still give them the benefit of the doubt.

But it gets better...stay with me...

Today, we find out that the Onc's office "MAILED" back my scans and test results by regular mail - no signing for the package, no delivery confirmation, nothing. Imagine that - your whole cancer history out there floating around like a post card and anyone could end up with it. Well, I'm a little bit "hot" about that and not because it's 103 degress down here in TX either. It's just plain incompetence and a total lack of communication, combined with a total lack of compassion on any of these "doctors."

So, there goes this week finding anything out, we're over 6 weeks of this now. And all of you know how agonizing it is to "wait." I've been very patient, but this is ridiculous.

We're supposed to re-gather the scans and walk them back over to them. I'm not really sure if I trust them anymore, based on that experience to even want to do that. I don't really like the surgeon, because I found his "bedside manner" disgusting. I overheard him telling some people that his patients would not be getting any more pain meds etc.etc.

Do I really want to be in the hands of an institution and a surgeon like this?

I'm going to have to think long and hard about this one. I'm away from the cancer center and my old onc, but not really connected to this hospital, so I'm out there floating around, and all the time, this Cancer could be growing in me while I try to be seen and taken seriously.

Over the weekend, I almost went to the ER, because when I went to bed, I would wake up in the middle of the night with such pain in the back of my lungs and middle of my back. I figured it was "pleural effusion", where fluid builds up between the pleura and the lung itself. Quite coincidentally, the pleura is where my 2 potential tumors are sitting and growing.

I felt a little bit better today, so I am going to wait and see which direction I need to go now. I will probably begin trying to find another surgeon. I don't need my butt kissed, but this guy bordered on rude and insensitive and even if he is the best surgeon, I'm not sure I want him anymore. Who could blame me?

I'm not a big fan of doctors anyway - to me they are just people in "white coats" whom we've been taught to revere and put on a pedestal and treat with "God like" status. And surgeons are inherently the worst offenders of the bunch. My liver surgeon was a nice guy though and very humble, so I guess there are all kinds. I think you have to go with your gut feeling though and if you don't feel comfortable with someone, you have to move on. So, I'll just have to take my own advice.

There is a reason they call it "PRACTICING MEDICINE."

Thanks for allowing me to get this off my "chest", no pun intended. See, I still got my humor about me!

So, right now we're back on hold and I will try to get this straightened out and see what I need to do to get it right.

I'll send up a post when I know something more definite. Right now, the VATS and my life are still on hold - you hear that sound? That's ME flapping away in the breeze....

Take care Family and continued best to each of you. I'm still on the air and here to help you and be with you again.

NEWS FLASH, this just in...the surgeon must have heard me cussing his name under my breath, because he just called wanting to know where the scans were? I told him that you guys mailed them back to me. Of course, he wants to see them, because no decisions can be made until he sees them.

So, I am thinking we get the scans we want to see and give him a 2nd chance and see if the next appointment will be any better. He's an Associate Professor at a teaching hospital, so maybe I just caught him on a bad day.

Hate to flip flop like that, but at least I got my feelings out and that helped. Stay with me on this, I need you guys support. That's the first time, I've ever had to ask, but there is always a first time, isn't there?

You guys are great - stay tuned, you know I can't ever tell a story quickly.


I'm going to pray tonight and for the next few nights for the right direction that will lead me to find out if the Cancer is back on me again. If you would like to join me, then I WELCOME your prayers as well.

Posts: 1736
Joined: Jul 2007

i will pray with you that the cancer is not there and its something else that can be easily fixed and you will be feeling better before you know it..

BTW what part of Texas are you in?


Sundanceh's picture
Posts: 4408
Joined: Jun 2009

I'm in Arlington, Texas. New home of the Dallas Cowboys...

Right in the middle between Dallas and Forth Worth.

Thank you so much for your post and prayer - it does mean alot to me, all of you mean a great deal to me. I'm glad I'm getting to talk with more of you. Just takes time to get to know someone I suppose.

Take it EZ...Craig

Fight for my love
Posts: 1530
Joined: Jun 2009

Hi craig,I am sorry to hear that your surgeon visit didn't go too well.You are in my prayers and I send you my best wishes and very good luck to you and your family.You know,there is always good surgeons somewhere,keep looking. Sometimes we run into something unexpected,maybe it is just a bad day,tomorrow is another day.Take care.

tootsie1's picture
Posts: 5065
Joined: Feb 2008

I just don't think I'd trust that rude doctor with any aspect of my healthcare!


lmliess's picture
Posts: 331
Joined: Dec 2008

should you maybe see a different doctor? I am not sure I would trust that dr?? Remember, these doctors work for you. You are building a team of doctors to work for you and make you comfortable and healthy.

Sigma34's picture
Posts: 207
Joined: Jul 2009

You are already in my family prayers, I even have my three year twins praying for you and your family.

Much Love,


idlehunters's picture
Posts: 1792
Joined: Apr 2009

Hi Craig

I said a prayer for you before I even read all your post. I felt one was needed immediately. Please keep the faith. If you don't find what you need there.... get out... fast... and find what you need. We ain't got no time to wait on dumb a** doctors. As far as a "off day" goes.... what????? not at your expense. At any rate...Don't worry... things will work out and I will be praying extra hard for you my friend.


eric38's picture
Posts: 588
Joined: May 2009

First of all, your Doctor sounds like a real gem. I would not get surgery from a Doctor I don`t trust. It sounds like from the nurses reactions that he is preety much an *** all the time. The whole thing has been handled wrong and it makes me irritated for your sake. You don`t need anymore delays but if it was me I would get a different surgeon unless it was going to cost you too much time. It may be hot here in Texas but you don`t need to spend any more time flapping in the breeze. Hopefully it will all work out and you won`t need surgery. I will definitely be joining you in prayer. Your story is already remarkable and there is more yet to come. By the time the dust settles you will be a battle scarred miracle. Your just working on your testimony.

Your fellow cancer fighting soldier,

Eric (:>)

Sundanceh's picture
Posts: 4408
Joined: Jun 2009

Hi, Christine

I was deeply touched by your post this morning. We've never even spoken yet and I'm already in your family and your twins are praying for us? Let me first say hello and thank you very much.

You must be a wonderful parent who is obviously raising their children with solid beliefs and principles at such a young and tender age...they are going to turn out to be such good people because of you and how you teach them...for 3 year olds to be that kind of involved speaks volumes...that's an amazing story.

Please tell them THANK YOU from me.

And thank you too!


Sigma34's picture
Posts: 207
Joined: Jul 2009

Oh my goodness!

I was shocked to see you had written something to me. It is me that is touched. I feel so blessed to have found this site since I was diagnosed.

You will continue to stay in our prayers.


Posts: 266
Joined: Jun 2009

Hi Craig,

I am so, so sorry you had to go through that. It is enough that you have struggled with all you've had to deal with, let alone a doctor being rude to you. I know I have read on this board people say that they don't go to their doctor for their personality, but I am not sure about the treatment you received. Like you said - they aren't gods - just human beings like you and I, and in this cancer business, they should know that the emotional care and compassion is just as important to people fighting for their lives from this brutal, vicious disease.

I know you said at the end of your post that he called ,and your were feeling a little better and would give him a second chance. Whatever you decide you have my support and prayers. I will be praying right along with you that God leads you in the right direction, to the right person, and that you will be healed. You definitely have the support of all the people whose lives you have touched here and all our prayers too.

Thank you for all your kindness, compassion and helpful info to me and to everyone else. I wish you peace in your heart.

Be well friend,

Julie 44
Posts: 479
Joined: Oct 2008

Hey Craig,
Hang in there buddy.I know it really sticks to have all the medical problems you have but you seem like a strong person with a good head on your shoulders that you can and WILL get through this too...Remember one step at a time...As far as the doctor goes I would have walked out on him but not before I told him what I thought of him..You really need to find someone else because this is difficult enough that you don't need any more problems..You need to have GREAT faith and likability in your doctors to come through this ordeal...Good luck and keep the faith I will be praying for you and your family....JULIE

Annabelle41415's picture
Posts: 6697
Joined: Feb 2009

Craig I'm so sorry that you have been through all this. I, too, would be very hesitant with having this doctor be in charge of my care because it almost seems the hospital is not very responsible with the records either. When I was first diagnosed my hospital seemed to lose records and appointments and that made me very frustrated. I can imagine you are even more frustrated. You are in my prayers for a great outcome.

Hug! Kim

shmurciakova's picture
Posts: 910
Joined: Dec 2002

I just want to wish you good luck. I know what it can be like being treated at a large research facility with the surgeons and their entourage, etc. I haven't experienced exactly what you did, but the fact that the man took the time out of his "busy life" to call you personally on the phone is a good thing. Maybe he realized that the appointment didn't go well and that he didn't have the scans, etc. and took it out on his nurses...maybe by calling you was his way of apologizing for the poor care you received before.
I would give him another chance. You don't need to delay treatment because the doctor acted like a jerk. If this man BELIEVES he can help you, then that is what is important. You want to have a confident surgeon. So if this guy has a good reputation then I would try to not worry too much about his bedside manner. It is the doctors who spew negativity like "you are past the curve" or act like you have no hope of being cured or surviving that you have to worry about.
I was treated at MDA, so if you do need another thoracic surgeon I can recommend mine to you. Just PM me and I can tell you his name if you like.
At any rate, best wishes and I hope all goes well for you.
-Susan H.

Sundanceh's picture
Posts: 4408
Joined: Jun 2009

Hi Susan

I've been thinking exacty what you posted:

the man took the time out of his "busy life" to call you personally on the phone is a good thing. Maybe he realized that the appointment didn't go well and that he didn't have the scans, etc. and took it out on his nurses...maybe by calling you was his way of apologizing for the poor care you received before.

When I talked with him yesterday, he was much calmer and only interrupted our phone call one time to talk to his PA - and it was to relay to her that the scans had been sent back.

And he did apologize to me and seemed a little more concerned. So as I said in closing my post the other day - maybe I just caught him on a bad day - no excuses for what they did, but stuff happens. I had been waiting patiently for 6 weeks for that appointment - and then my "time" came and then whammo...

So, we're going to get the scans down to him to review and try it one more time to see if it goes any better this time.

He is board certified in Thorasic Surgery and his specialties are Thorasic surgery and Cardio Surgery. He's the Associate Professor and the institution is a teaching hospital, so I'm sure he had his hands busy that day.

Something could have gone wrong in surgery that day and who knows what.

I've invested alot of time in this 2nd opinion and just hate to throw it all away and be back to square one.

So, we'll start again with another office visit after he reviews the scan and go from there. I'm thinking long and hard on this one and am praying for the right decision and many on the board are as well.

I found your comments very insightful and I can tell you put alot of thought into your post. I've ready your stuff and you are very articulate.

Thanks so much for writing and contributing your opinion.

MDA is certainly an option and UTSW certainly does consult with MDA as well. I'm in DFW and so Houston (where I was born actually) would make things more logistically challenging for my wife, she has to stay on the job during my recovery if we get to that.

But I tell you what, I will definitely keep MDA in mind and will PM you for your surgeon's name if this does not work out. I sure appreciate your offer.

Thank you Susan.

And thank you Gang for contributing your ideas and feelings back to me so quickly. It's given me alot to consider. I appreciate you one and all. I will keep everyone posted.


Posts: 9
Joined: Jul 2009

Hi Craig,

I believe in second chances but I have to say I would have been equally as frustrated with that visit and the scan mix up too. I hope and pray your next visit is 100% better. Your going through enough to have to add this to the mix.

Stay well!

luv3jay's picture
Posts: 534
Joined: May 2009

Your chest surgeon sounds like my liver surgeon. He was a real arrogant JERK!! And his staff would definitely agree with that statement! *sigh* fortunately, for me, he was the only doctor on the team that I didn't like...the others, my onc and general surgeon and oncology nurses, are wonderful. So I dealt with his arrogance and neglect. I am praying for you in hopes that you do not have a recurrance and that you win this small battle in this major war! Be blessed!


shmurciakova's picture
Posts: 910
Joined: Dec 2002

Hi again Craig,
You are quite welcome...I guess I can sympathize a little with the fact that who knows what the guy is going through. Maybe it has nothing to do with work and is some problem at home. My brother is a surgeon and he found drugs (needles and some form of white powder) in his sons coat pocket a couple of years ago. Can you imagine having to go to work and operate on people w/ this kind of B.S. going on in your home life? My poor brother developed all kinds of grey hairs! He has never done anything of the sort in his life! He has never even smoked a joint, so you can imagine how hard this was. Then he had to have an intervention and send his son to rehab, etc. etc. all the while having to deal w/ patients and act "normal" at work.
Every time someone acts like an ***, you have to think that maybe it has absolutely nothing to do w/ you. Of course, people have bad days and **** happens. Surgeons are people too! Now, if it happens more than once, yeah, maybe I'd consider another doctor.
If it does, feel free to PM me...otherwise just chalk it up to a crappy day and go on down the road!
Susan H.

eric38's picture
Posts: 588
Joined: May 2009

We can all give our opinions but it is your life and the main thing is if you trust him and have confidence in him. We just care about you and immediately took up your defense. They can`t treat our Craig that way.

Eric (:.)

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