Meeting with Specialists Initially

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Mrs_H
Mrs_H Member Posts: 102
Hello, My name is Jen, 29, married, no kids. On Friday 21st April I had scans for a lump in the right breast. On Monday 24th April, I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in the right breast, left breast and right armpit lymph nodes. I saw the surgeon specialist on Wednesday 26th who has recommended a double mastectomy to take as much breast tissue as possible. I had CT scan and bone scan today which thankfully has found no further spreading. I met with the Oncologist today. Recommendation to start Chemo asap.

I'm sure I will have many questions, a lot of which will be answered by going through previous posts but I wanted to know about your experiences with specialists in the beginning.

My meeting with the Oncologist today was 25 minutes with a rush to commit to Chemo on Thursday. The oncologist wants me to attend an information session on Chemo at the hospital tomorrow to get familiar with things. Did anyway else have a similar experience with their first meeting?

I just got the feeling the bedside manner if you will could be improved. I don't want to commit to working with an oncologist that seems to lack something so vital throughout this experience.

Thanks for sharing,

Jen.

Comments

  • primek
    primek Member Posts: 5,392
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    Not all Drs are warm and fuzzy. I guess if he wants you to start chemo Thursday they feel it is very important it is started sooner rather than later. The info session will give you a lot more info and the chemo nurses are the ones giving it to you. We all feel it is just happening too quickly but it is such a relief to start treatment knowing that it will hopefully be stopping that cancer progressing. It also gives you a bit if time to plan surgery and possible reconstruction whilst still under treatment. 

    You could seek a second opinion but it may delay the start of your treatment. Hope all goes well. Kath x


  • LMK74
    LMK74 Member Posts: 795
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    Mrs H, welcome. My first experience was the same. Rush rush rush. No time to digest things. I did the chemo education on a weekend. It's still always rushed . It's your body and your decision what treatment you decide. I'm not sure I even like my oncologist but that's just me. Good luck with everything.
    Lisa.
  • Kat09
    Kat09 Member, Dragonfly Posts: 269
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    Hi @Mrs_H, I too had a whirlwind of a 1st appointment with my Oncologist but 4 months on am really glad that my treatment was started so quickly and is progressing well and also that my cancer is doing the right thing and shrinking away! I was diagnosed with stage 3 locally advanced BC just prior to Xmas last year, my appointment with my Oncologist was scheduled for 9am on the 3rd Jan. During this appointment I was told what would be the best course of treatment for me and also the importance of starting as quickly as possible, this was Tuesday and she wanted to start Chemo ( AC ) on the Thursday. My head was spinning as I needed to get into a Dentist, have a heart echo cardiograph and also have surgery to have a portacath inserted ( something she organised for that afternoon ). So my Tuesday turned into a 12hr day of appointments etc, Wednesday was the dentist where I had a tooth pulled and then Thursday we started treatment. My chemo information appointment was done over the phone in amongst everything else. I was given the opportunity to take a week or so to digest everything but as my cancer was aggressive we just wanted to get things moving and get on the road to being well. Looking back it was tough emotionally at the time but I am really glad that I took her advice and started when I did, I have complete trust in my treating Drs and know that they are doing what is best to help me beat this. I did 'click' with my oncologist right from the start though and love her ' let's get it done ' attitude.
    Wishing you all the best 
    Kat x

  • melclarity
    melclarity Member Posts: 3,524
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    @Mrs_H Hey there!! Welcome!!! 

    My Surgeon is a little that way, not personable, very matter of fact, to the point and clinical. It stands to reason these professionals are that way, you see it everywhere. I love my Oncologist he's lovely, but my initial visit wasn't warm and fuzzy, it was confronting, shocking, to the point probably tough too as I went alone as I have done the past 6yrs really, very rare I take anyone. My Oncologist said at that meeting, I give you 48hrs to email me and give me an answer on Chemo, he said if I still didnt know at 48hrs then I absolutely shouldnt do it. He was right about that, I emailed within 12hrs, I didnt want to do it but felt I had to. Unfortunately they do need to get it happening and organised asap once you have diagnosis. Certainly didnt have any information session though I met with the Nurse in Charge like an appointment prior who stepped through everything. I agree you want someone compassionate and caring, but most professionals aren't. xx Melinda 
  • Amazonia
    Amazonia Member Posts: 40
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    @Mrs_H
    welcome and sorry to hear. 
    We have all been through this whirlwind but in myriad different ways.
    Its great that your bone scan and CT are clear.
    I had surgery first (mastectomy) and then chemo very soon after.
    I think I was lucky that my GP had a network of specialists she studied and worked with and the breast surgeon she referred me to was warm and engaging, also Plastic Surgeon and Onco.
    I was concerned about Oncologists as I'd heard many are cold and impersonal. I understand how you'd have to be in this specialty though..
    Thankfully, I felt a rapport and trust very early on. Not sure that I could continue for the extended time this process takes with a specialist I didn't warm to.
    But, my main priority was to get started, and if there were any issues I figured re-evaluation could follow down the track.
    Good luck and best wishes..
    A.
  • Afraser
    Afraser Member Posts: 4,392
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    Urgency doesn't make for manners sometimes. That said, you need and have a right to trust your team. I felt immediately very comfortable with my surgeon ( even when he was giving me bad news) but was a bit (a lot!!) taken aback by my proposed oncologist's matter of fact rendition of my planned treatment, including all the possible side effects. I felt as if I had hit the side of a bus. But I soon learned to value his honesty, his willingness to discuss things in detail and that his manner was about ensuring I  knew what was happening, and why, not about being cold. So give your team a shot to earn your trust - you can make changes when you know more about what's happening and what you want. Best wishes.
  • melclarity
    melclarity Member Posts: 3,524
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    @Afraser I have to agree with you, I think thats what I was trying to say also. I would have liked more compassion, care and to be personable, but to have their frank honesty, Ive known where I stand every step and I value that more especially my surgeon of 7 years. xx
  • Cassina
    Cassina Member Posts: 74
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    i had a great female surgeon, I really like, however, I get quite upset with the waiting time at the Breast Cancer Institute, usually 5 hours! by this time any one will do! I feel upset that many women have to sit in silence and wait this lengh of time each week, and often only to hear bad news. Considering it is a major teaching hospital this is a disgrace. Not sure how to change or improve this as everyone waiting is in the same boat, frightened and anxious. More staff needed, more Drs and nurses and a total revamp of the waiting area, ( Westmead ) is needed 
  • primek
    primek Member Posts: 5,392
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    @Cassina ...a 5 hour wait each time?! I've  had a 3 hour but that was unusual at the Royal Adelaide. I'd write a letter of complaint about that. ..how it impacts on you etc. You can throw some praise in there too. Surely they can work their appointment times better and just leave vacant spots for the urgents.... it's shocking poor management and just leads to upset clients. Without complaints it doesn't get better. 
  • Zoffiel
    Zoffiel Member Posts: 3,374
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    Hey Jen. Over the years I've come to the conclusion that oncologists tend to be more like stereotypical scientists than the doctors we are used to before the whole specialist train arrives. Bed side, or desk side, manner often isn't great.

    That is really hard to get used to, and in a perfect world it shouldn't happen. Given pressures on the public health system, if you are going that way, or a perception of greed in the private it is really hard to get a satisfactory amount of time with them.

    My advice to anyone new to this is keep records of everything. Ask for copies of blood tests, reports, and get scans recorded to disc. Get cards from everyone you see, write their names down and keep the whole lot in a segmented folder. Treatment can take a long time, things get lost and you forget stuff.

    Good luck, Jen. Breast cancer means learning a whole new language and getting used to a new headspace which is challenging enough without dealing with the treatment of the disease. Ask questions as things come up and, once again, good luck. Marg xxx

  • Mrs_H
    Mrs_H Member Posts: 102
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    Thanks everyone for sharing your experiences with me. I've come to the conclusion that perhaps some specialists are just that way. I have lots of information but my expectations on delivery were different. I trust they know what they are doing. Having now done an education class for the Chemo I'm not as petrified as I was. Just have to ride out the journey. Thanks again, Jen.
  • melclarity
    melclarity Member Posts: 3,524
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    Jen, glad you are feeling a little more settled, its such a shock so it takes a little time to catch our breath. Let us know how you go when you begin. Hugs Melinda xo
  • primek
    primek Member Posts: 5,392
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    Hope all goes well for you. 
  • Di
    Di Member Posts: 50
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    @Mrs_H reading your comment brings back so many memories of when I first was diagnosed in November 2012 . It is such a whirlwind of tests and appointments and is very scary. I t was 4 weeks between the time of my diagnosis to the time of starting my chemo. When I first met my oncologist I felt the same about him as he was very matter of fact. I guess he had to give me the good and bad. I still see him 6 monthly and have built a good relationship with him. I can ask him any question and he is very honest . I guess it is important that you feel comfortable with them.
    Good luck in your journey. 
    Di xx