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Battling Negativism Among a Treatment Team

todd121's picture
Posts: 1449
Joined: Dec 2012

There's a particular PA that works with my oncologist that I've only dealt with once 2 years ago when I first started going where I go. She communicated a very pessimistic attitude to me about this disease that I took a really strong disliking to her right away because of that.

Fortunately, the program I was on I only dealt with the doctor and a research nurse and never had to deal with her much. It appears now that I've had this setback, I'm in a different group of patients now and may have to deal with her more often.

I found myself today dressing myself for battle with her. In fact, I found myself already rehearsing the speech where I tell my doctor that I don't want this woman anywhere near me. I have a hard enough time keeping myself positive and imagining a bright future for myself with me alive and cancer free, without having a caretaker who is so pessimistic and seems to have given up already. Now maybe I was oversensitive last time. On the other hand, I want people on my team that are positive. That plan for success. I don't want someone who is going to "try" even though all hope is already lost.

Can anybody understand what I'm talking about? Anybody successfully "fired" a member of a doctor's team without leaving the doctor?

Or perhaps instead of taking it up that way, I just look her in the eye and challenge her on her opinion?

I'm thinking it might be a good idea for me to go shopping for opinions (and perhaps a different doctor) again. It's been 2 years and alot has changed...


Posts: 337
Joined: Nov 2014


It is absolutely your right to seek out other options for caretakers.  That's unbelievable.  She works for an ONCOLOGIST?  Seriously.  Some people are just in the wrong business, for Pete's sake.  And, I'm sorry I need to question the doctor's choice of assistants.  I'm nearly speechless.  This isn't like hiring a bad cashier who gives bad customer service.  This woman's job is to work with cancer patients.  It's her whole life.  Having a negative attitude is completely unacceptable.  Other patients HAVE to have said something about her.  But you need to keep her as far away as possible, in my opinion.  It's not your job to challenge or worry about Negative Nancy.  You should be focused completely on your health.  I would speak to either the doctor or, if there's a practice manager, and tell them that you'd prefer not to have contact with her.  When they ask why, tell them.  Leave it at that.  If they tell you that's impossible look for a new practice.  

Terri065's picture
Posts: 81
Joined: Dec 2014

Todd, the first oncologist we went to gave us very little hope. We left his office knowing we would never go back. When we got to Sloan not only did they give us hope but they removed the tumor. 

It's upsetting to think about how she must have made you feel.

I don't think dealing with her is to your benefit. 

Wishing you all the best,  Theresa


Jojo61's picture
Posts: 1310
Joined: Oct 2013


I agree wholeheartedly with Jason. For your sake - and for the sake of other patients - I think something needs to be said to the doctor. Cancer patients have enough to deal with, and each of them are at a different level, depending on their state of mind. A Negative Nancy could be the final blow to them. Maybe the doctor isn't aware. And if he is, then move on!!

Or, have a biting statement on the ready for her. Oh, I would love to be a fly on the wall!




APny's picture
Posts: 1998
Joined: Mar 2014

The last thing you need is the added stress of dealing with the PA so ITA with everyone. Talk to the oncologist. As for her, I'd simply look her in the eye and tell her when I want her "expert" opinion I'll ask for it. Until then, keep it to herself.

Skagway Jack's picture
Skagway Jack
Posts: 224
Joined: Oct 2013


I hope you just caught this person on a bad day and that they are not normally like that.  I had an oppinion early on from a Family friend who was a nephrologist who upon hearing my condidtion basically told me some really negative prognosis.  In anycase he wasnt part of my Dr.s group so I was able to put it away....but it bothererd me for a long time.  You need only positive thoughts... Hang in there we are all pulling for you.  I would not hesitate to let her know how you feel about things if she goes down a negative path again. 


Limelife50's picture
Posts: 476
Joined: Nov 2011

In time you might end up liking her

Footstomper's picture
Posts: 1238
Joined: Dec 2014

She might just be refreshingly open! I remember the first time I was sent (undiagnosed) for an MRI the radiologist said "Good morning. Take your clothes off. Is this your first cancer?"

Pardon? Is that your foot I see in your mouth?

todd121's picture
Posts: 1449
Joined: Dec 2012

I'm in a wait and hold position. It was over 2 years ago when I had this interaction with her. She's young. Maybe she's learned something.

So far, so good.

Could be she had a bad day. She might've been new. I might've read her wrong (my mind reading capabilities come and go...)

But I also agree, if she's not optimistic about my treatment/options, I'll do what's needed to get a team that is.


Billy's Wife's picture
Billy's Wife
Posts: 52
Joined: Jan 2014


I totally get what you are feeling. Sometimes you just want to shake some people !  People who work in an oncoloy office should be reminded of their calling.  In my husband's battle we came across a few of them.  It is so disheartening the effect that one negative coment can have !  Do whatever you have to do to put her and her ignorance or stupidity or whatever makes her tick behind you, she isn't worth your time.  Not everyone is sensitive or compassionate and that is all you deserve so try to find it.  All good thoughts, prayers and wishes!


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