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Not Confident w/ Dad's Doctor


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My dad received chemo yesterday and was told last week that yesterday would be a full day and that he would be able to talk to the oncologist. I was anticipating this meeting so that my dad could ask him about taking certain supplements. Well, my dad arrived yesterday to take his chemo but had to meet with the nurse practitioner instead of the doctor (who by the way told him to lay off supplements for now).

His oncologist passes through the treatment room sometimes while my dad and the other patients receive their treatments but he doesn't stop to talk or see how they or doing. He just brisks through like he is too busy. My dad has not sat down with him since 11/16 and will not see him again until 1/8. Is this normal?? :?

Maybe I am overeacting but I don't feel confident that he is doing all that he possibly can to fight this disease. How do I know if he is treating it aggressively (maximum dosage possible) or just giving my dad palliative care :( ? My dad is in the middle of his cycle so we are stuck for now. Hopefully, things will work out. Thanks for letting me vent.


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I do have to say that I am a firm believer in second opinions. I know that my dad's success comes in part because we got that second opinion. Be comfortable with the doc. Talk to him/her about your concerns. They are getting paid ALOT of money to do what they do.

God bless,


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Certainly you should have an opportunity to talk with the onc. Just tell them you would like an appointment.

By the way, Nurse Practicioners may be of great value. They tend to allow for a good deal more time with patients and stay current in their field. I would always take a NP if available.


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Lisa is on home treatment Tarceva 150 now but when she use to go in for Chemo we always had an Appointment card which let us know what the plan for the day was.

Her appointments now are every 6 weeks and she gets the blood work and sees the oncologist.

The Appointment card usually has the:







If she was scheduled to see the doctor, MD would be circled.

Lab for blood work was always circled.

If she showed some bad symptoms that day I would tell the oncology nurse ahead of time and they would work her in; but not just to ask questions.

I also had to pay a co-pay to see the doctor.

Bad blood counts will get you in front of the doctor because you will be turmed down for treatment that day and may be sent to get a blood transfusion or at least an injection to boost bone marrow production of blood cells.

Our oncology nurse is good with questions.

It's not always necessary to see the doctor. He has already laid out the plan.

The nurse giving the infussion can tell you if the dosage has changed from the normal.

The oncologist usually only comes in to the infussion room to certify the chart and dosage regime for the next patient and then has to leave to prepare for the next patient.

Our experience was that if we had an appointment after lunch the doctor seemed to have a little more free time to at least wave as he passed through the room.

It's normal, some clinics are busy and some are not.

Hope this chat helps. Chanwit

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I think that if your dad makes a request for a meeting with his onc, he should get one. My onc would see me anytime and gave me his cell phone and was told to call him any time I had a problem. I only used it once so far, but he did answer from the beech in Cape Cod where he was on a short vacation. Maybe I am spoiled, but I thought this should be the way to treat patients. If you go with your dad have all of your questions in writing so that you don’t forget something that is important to you.

Stay positive, :lol:


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I guess it all depends on how the Oncologist's office is set-up. The following will give you a "snapshot" of our situation.

Tony's oncologist is in his own practice, with no partners. Most of the Oncologist's in our area are in multi-doctor practices. The office is divided into the Doctor visit side and then the Nurse/chemo unit. We have regular (every 2-4 weeks) appts. with the Doctor and see the Nurses for blood draws, chemo, etc. Medicare used to require that the Doctor see the patient on the day of chemo, but now he just has to be on-site during the entire time Tony is receiving chemo. (Medicare is trying to drive small one doctor practices out of business.) So we don't necessarily see him during the infusion, but if we have questions for him that day that the nurses can't answer, they will run it by him and call us later in the day with his answer. He usually drifts down to the other side of the office to say hello to everyone anyway, but doesn't make prolonged Q & A sessions during chemo-time.

Our Doctor is pretty dedicated and has come into the office late on a Friday afternoon (his "out of the office day") to check on Tony when we have had some issues and the nurses were treating him. Last week he told us that, while he will be away for two weeks, he will only be doing short jaunts with the family in the area and will be available by phone if we need him.

As for maximum dosages, you can check into that with the nurses. We let our Doctor know right from the beginning that we wanted aggressive treatment. As you can see from Tony's profile, our Doctor really is willing to push the envelope. I too was worried that he wasn't getting maximum doses, but he was and is, and the nurses were able to verify that for me. I also actually check the bags as they drip and note the mg. doses. I'm pretty thorough. My son likens me to a pit bull when it comes to Tony's care. :x

Hope this gives you another perspective to evaluate your Dad's situation.

Good luck,


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We were blessed to find an amazing Dr right off the bat--though Mom did request him (thank heavens the insurance all worked out). He has kids go to school with mine, and he goes to our church.

That said, Mom has an office visit every two weeks--she sees the Dr one visit, then just does labs/chemo the next one. So I guess she only sees him once a month, but he is available to talk anytime with her---even told her to call him at home with questions.

Hope you find some peace in all of this.

:) Kelly

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