Thursday, October 7, 2010

Great Marketing Gimics

Since I know that it really raises breast cancer awareness I won't complain too much, but you can find just about anything from a appliances to tampons with that pink ribbon on display this month.  If you are making an effort to purchase these things thinking you are giving back to the cause, make sure that they are actually donating a fair amount back to some reputable organization. mmm-k?!

Speaking of marketing....wouldn't it be great if the medical community worked the same way?  If you were handed your cancer diagnosis along with a consumer reports magazine of all the local doctors in the area, their brag sheet and then patient reviews?  I think I may have found my billion dollar idea!
I have always said that I felt very blessed to have had the medical team that I did.  I was fortunate enough to have friends of friends that connected me with my oncologist Dr. Medgyesy here in Fort Collins.  When I was first handed my diagnosis from my GP (general practitioner) it became a whirlwind of decisions that needed to be made yesterday and referrals to whom ever could fit me in first.  Now, I am not saying that my GP didn't have my best interests at heart but I had no personal experience with cancer so was just doing as I was told.  My first appointment was set up with the brand new doctor at the local surgeons office because he had the openings and could get me in the fastest.  He was to prepare me for surgery ASAP to get my tumor removed.  Of course the first thing I did was google the doctor and found out that he had no real specialty or prolonged experience with the needs that I had and was, as I said, fresh out of med school.   
I was lucky enough to have a dear friend, Courtnee, who was friends with a NP (nurse practioner) at Front Range Cancer Center.  After expressing my concerns with being overwhelmed and not knowing what to do with Courtnee she immediately called her friend the NP, Lisa, who recommended that I come and speak with an oncologist before making any big decisions.  Dr. Medgyesy offered to stay after her normal schedule the following day to see me.  After looking at my scans and charts she recommended that instead of doing surgery right away that we do Neo Adjuvent chemotherapy (chemo before surgery) because the tumor was growing very close to my chest wall.  It was her opinion that if we did not do this then there was risk of having to also remove parts of my chest wall to get all of the tumor.  She took the time to sit with us and explain the pros and cons of each situation and then give her opinion as to treatment.  In the end it was left up to me.  I ended up choosing to do the Neo Adjuvent Chemo and do surgery afterwords.  After meeting with her I also decided to call around and look online for a surgeon that would better fit my needs as a patient.  I was going to need a general surgeon fairly quickly to put in my port.  This is used for administering chemo and other drugs and also drawing blood samples rather than having to start an IV or get poked every day.  I found my surgeon Dr. Chiavetta here locally too that was wonderful through other patient recommendations and online research.
Through my entire cancer process I was under the care of lots of different doctors but more importantly lots of different opinions.  I saw 5 surgeons to consult about reconstruction between here and Salt Lake City.  I believe it is very important to obtain opinions from several docs and be able to choose the one that is right for you.  I also believe that getting several opinions to weigh your options is very beneficial.  Any good doctor will not be offended or threatened by you getting a 2nd, 3rd, 4th opinion.   

Lesson Learned:
Doctors work for you and not the other way around.  Don't be afraid to take charge of your health care and do your homework about your situation.  Any doctor that has issues with you getting 2nd opinions is not the right doctor for you.  Don't be afraid to ask questions and question what is going on with your care.  You are the best advocate for your care and you know your body better than anyone else.

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