>Finding the Right Fit

>As you know, I’m reading Kris Carr’s Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips. One of her many tips is about finding the right medical team, getting second opinions and not just settling for whatever doctor shows up.

I didn’t seek a second opinion. I liked my surgeon and his team from the beginning. I felt comfortable with them and for me that’s a big thing.

Right up there with needles one of my biggest phobias is doctors in general. After 15 years of Army medical care, where I’ve been laughed at, ignored and treated like one in a large of herd of cattle or just experienced substandard care, I have to force myself to go to make appointments. (My oldest son broke his arm when he was  around 9.  The wonderful Army emergency room x-rayed his elbow. So perhaps you can understand my reluctance when it comes to anything army and medical.)

However, when the Army sent us to Ft. Carson four years ago, we opted to live on the north side of Colorado Springs. We wanted our boys to go to school in D20.  The added benefit was that Tricare (Army health insurance) assigned the boys and I to the Air Force Academy for our healthcare.  What a difference! For the first time since college, a doctor took my migraines seriously and prescribed something other than 800 mg of Motrin.  Everyone was friendly and pleasant.  Of course, I didn’t seem the same primary care provider twice until sometime within the last year – it seems that every time they assigned me someone, they got deployed.   Still, I went from being a file among many to being a person.

One of the handful of things that crossed my mind after the diagnosis was “Thank God, I’m getting my treatment from the Academy and not the Army post in Missouri!”  Seriously, I do have a great medical team (even if the surgeon did scare the bejeebers out of me when he cautioned that the medical oncologist might recommend chemo.)  The surgeon took time to make sure my husband and I both understand the diagnosis and the possible treatments. He let us decide the route we wanted to go and then made sure our questions are answered (and as for the scare about the chemo – remember I was the dingy librarian that didn’t use all of her resources to find out more about that one. I really have myself to blame on that one.) One thing that I’ve not done and as I read Carr’s book I’ve added something else to my to do list – keep a note pad handy to right down the questions I can never think of when I’m sitting in front of the doctor.  My doctor is great about answering questions – provided I could think of and remember them any time besides two in morning.

The surgeon talked to us, not at us or around us. His nurse is fabulous at cutting through Tricare red tape.  The nurses in the mammography clinic have been wonderful as well.  In the beginning, I wanted my husband’s Aunt Jacquie to be here – she works in a mammography clinic in another state. It would have been nice to have her to hold my hand through all this, but still, the ladies in clinic at the Academy are wonderful.  This has been the scariest event of my life (ok being pregnant and having children was pretty scary, too) and I’ve been fortunate so far to have a medical team that has worked to make it as less traumatic as possible. God put us in the right place to deal with this.

My point in all this rambling is that you have to feel comfortable with your medical team. You have to trust them.  And if you don’t  – you should jump up and demand better.  Maybe that means getting a second, third  or even fourth opinion.  If  you are willing to shop around to find the right pair of shoes or the computer that can do all the things you want it to do – shouldn’t you do the same for your medical care?  If your doctor is not comfortable with you asking questions or wanting a second opinion, that should raise a red flag.  This isn’t a small boo-boo.  This is your life.  You are going to be spending a lot of time with this team, it’s important that it be the right fit.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Sue
    Jan 28, 2011 @ 13:59:29

    >I agree that the step in finding the right care for you is paramount. Having confidence that they are right there by your side, listening, comforting and more importantly, healing you is the important ingredient to help you get through this.


  2. Jan
    Jan 28, 2011 @ 19:01:02

    >Ditto what Sue says, you are handling this in such an intelligent manner. It can't be easy, but rolling up into a ball and living in a state of panic or denial doesn't work at all. Also, LOVE the shoes, where can I get a pair?


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