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Radiologist vs. Oncologist

Rower Michelle

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Warning: long post and I promise it is good news!  Scroll down to the bottom if short on time.


The summer just seems to be flying by.  This week it was time for my semi annual re-staging scans-four scans in total: brain MRI, CT-chest/abd/pelvis and labs.  It's a long appointment at the hospital because I prefer the "one and one" trip.   I wasn't overly worried going into these scans because I've generally been feeling well (minus the typical side effects of targeted therapy).  I had an excellent PT session the day before, acupuncture that morning, and 5mg of Valium on board... totally zen place right?

The labs and CT scans were run through very quickly.  Even though the place was a total zoo, the nurses and techs were moving like a well coordinated team.  There was about an hour delay for the MRI, so while I was waiting in a private room; the CT scan results popped in-15 minutes after the scan. 

Now I was in a quandry, should I peek at the results?  The TV had on the food network of which I had zero interest. I looked around for the remote and it was no where to be found to change the channel... so what the heck.... the big decision to peek. 

I wish I hadn't as a different radiologist (who has never reviewed by scans before) wrote a lengthy report.  For those of us who have been around for a long time; we're accustomed to seeing our reports get shorter; not longer over time.   This doc was completely geeked out on all sorts of technical terminology.   For the first time in four years, it looked like there could be disease progression noted.  I was numb.  No emotion, no reaction.   Time was passing in the waiting room and the nurse suggested if I had a second valium; to take it soon.   No problem there; bottoms up.  So now I had 10mg of Valium on board.  Loopy city. 

The MRI went quickly-out in about 30 minutes.   When my husband picked me up at the hospital I decided not to tell him about the CT scans.  I didn't want to upset him unnecessarily.   Long ago, I made a deal with my oncologist not to Google CT scan reports.  BUT I never committed to sharing results with my friends..... I sent a screen shot to my Lungevity Phone Buddy.  Her read was the scans were fine and it was a poorly written report.    

Then I spilled the beans to hubby and immediately regretted doing so.   The angst was heartbreaking.

Our appointment was schedule the next morning; so we would have the clarification we needed.  I always write a memo to my Onco in advance of the appointment to say what's on my mind....

When he walked into the room he said:  "so what kind of clarification do you need on your scans??"   My doctor recognizes me as a peer and this was one time I was squarely in limbo land......

Bottom line: 

The scans are NED; all of them.   The radiologist wrote a overly complicated report; and once again the reason for this very lengthy note is to remind people to always wait for your oncologist to read the scans.... and rely on your Lungevity friends to carry you through the tough times!  


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  • 3 weeks later...

I'm having a heard time tracking posts these days, so I just found this. I relate to the numbness. I've come to recognize the names of radiologists who write valuable reports and those who do not. If I get a report from one who is in the latter category, I can wait until a conversation with other folks on my care team. My own radiologist ignores the reports and just reads the scans. I'm grateful for that. And, I'm so, so glad for you. I hope your autumn season will be lovely. 


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  • 2 weeks later...

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