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1st Oncology visit

Posts: 4
Joined: Sep 2012

Today I have my first oncologist appt, hopefully he will be able to tell me what kind of ride it will be. My wife just has to go and hear it all first hand but I am one of those who doesn't like a peanut gallery. Is it normal to want to digest the news before you share it?

Texas_wedge's picture
Posts: 2798
Joined: Nov 2011

[Duplicate of post below - sometimes posts stubbornly refuse to go, other times they're over-eager and you can't hold them back - pesky things!!]

Texas_wedge's picture
Posts: 2798
Joined: Nov 2011

I'm a foreigner to whom the expression "peanut gallery" is unfamiliar but it sounds pretty disrespectful to your Wife. I can understand wanting to digest the news and deciding how to break it but I also think it would be unfair to your Wife. Also, it's no bad thing to have both of you hear what's said, to get the most accurate record of all that transpires - no harm to take notes too.

I've just had a consultation, this afternoon, and there was no question of my Wife being there. She acted as my amanuensis - I had a high-speed 45 minute discussion and my Wife checked off all of the questions I had listed to ask, glossed all the answers and threw in a few questions of her own. It was helpful that she has studied anatomy and physiology (and taught med students for 20 years) and that she is probably brighter than all the experts whose care I'm under but even if this weren't the case I would have wanted her to be there to get the info from the horse's mouth.

Unless your Wife is a hysterical type or a drama queen and likely to disrupt proceedings, I think you should have her with you. Others may feel differently but that's my opinion and I'm sticking to it!

I am alive
Posts: 315
Joined: Jul 2012

My onc actually prefers patients come in with a spouse, friend, etc. Truth is it's easy to NOT hear everything that is said. Some docs don't mind if you record the conversation to play back at your leisure. It's an emotional time and easy to only hear what you want to hear or, conversely, grab onto the one thing that you fear most and not digest the good news. Definitely write down your questions.

alice124's picture
Posts: 899
Joined: Mar 2012

By the time you see this, you've already seen the oncologist and hopefully had your wife at your side. My guess is you are like every cancer patient and cancer patient caregiver, you're afraid of that first meeting and what the oncologist might tell you. And probably you are trying to shield your wife from whatever worst case scenario you are imagining. I hope you let her join you; you'll get strength from each other. Promise!

Stros2013's picture
Posts: 31
Joined: Aug 2012

A part of me really, really gets what you're saying. At 42, I was shocked to hear that I not only had cancer but it was the size of a potato. I immediately shut down and honestly just wanted to hit reset. The idea of isolating and getting away so I just get my hands around what Everything meant was important for me. And i desperately wanted to go there.
The reality is that had my wife not been there I would have missed 90percent of what was said after 10cm. Actually I did miss it. My wife brought me up to speed later. Having her there so we could work as a team was huge. Another reason spouses offer so much is they'll ask the questions that we guys either ignore or don't want to ask out of fear. My wife has blurted out many times something to the effect, "what does that mean?." and "is that significant.". Questions that I being so smart would not have asked.
Left to my own devices I'd have left MD Anderson with zero clue on follow up, diet, how to handle being in a different city from urologist....etc,etc,etc.
Our spouses want to help and despite my want/desire, I've found having her there has turned out to be a blessing.

Best wishes. CC

icemantoo's picture
Posts: 3351
Joined: Jan 2010


My wife was scared even more than I when I was diagnosed. Having her there when I met with the surgeon calmed Icewoman down a little and made it much easier for us to discus this together.


Texas_wedge's picture
Posts: 2798
Joined: Nov 2011

Well Morgan, you were heavily outvoted - were we right? [Iceman spoke of "Having the wife there" - call me old-fashioned but I think that should be private :) ].
Hope it went off well with the oncologist. Please let us know the outcome.

foxhd's picture
Posts: 3183
Joined: Oct 2011

I vote for wife. It really helps to have a wife who is smarter than me and who is a nurse. She was with me for my initial diagnosis and when I was offered the MDX trial. Good move. Although I needed time to digest the info on my own afterward. Took a few long walks. I've gone to all my treatments alone. Except biopsies. One's spouse is supposed to be the most important thing in ones life.

NewDay's picture
Posts: 273
Joined: May 2012

Hi Morgan,

I have mixed feelings about having someone with me. My sister was with me at my first appointment with the Oncologist and I held back information because I didn't want to worry her any more than she already was. I had to schedule another appointment later to discuss those concerns. I'm sure it is much different with a spouse, because it is hard to hide things from them. On the other hand, when I saw my Nephrologist this week, I remember him saying "Now, listen to me carefully. This is important...". I now have no idea what he said. I was sitting there with a pen and paper and didn't write it down. All of this has been so overwhelming and I now have so many "...ologists' involved it's getting hard to keep straight. Bottom line is I think having someone with you is usually the best way to go.


Posts: 50
Joined: Aug 2012

I guess this is a personal thing, dependent on each persons own constitution.

I can see merit in both accompanied and not.

In my own case, I haven't got to that first follow up visit yet and I must admit I have reservations about allowing my eldest daughter to attend. She wants to go badly. I am kinda torn between that "Dad must have the indestructible illusion" and letting the kids know all. Being a single guy, I don't have the wife decision to make.

I just don't know what to expect in that first meeting. Things like prognosis, cautions, any difficult decisions that might be brought up. I just don't know how I am going to react let alone how my daughter will. Ironically, I share more on this board to strangers than I do with the kids. That kinda bothers me as well.

So I can relate to your wrestling with the decision there Morgan. Best of luck with it.

Stevewmass's picture
Posts: 37
Joined: May 2012

I was by myself when I heard the news that they found a mass in my right kidney, after all it was just a follow up appointment on a MRI on my lower back. I remember hearing myself telling the doctor that my mother died of kidney cancer. After that the rest if pretty blank, I heard when I had to be at the hospital for more tests but not much else. All said and done the rest of my appointments there was someone with me, because my mind would just shut down when it became all too much for me. This was just my story you have to do what you are comfortable with, but it is nice to have a second set of ears to hear the things I miss.

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