Cancer is a team effort

I’m remembering our first glimpse into cancer world when Leroy and I first heard the words, “You have cancer.”

Actually, his doctor said, “We have a problem.” Then he showed us a color-glossy picture of a large colon cancer tumor taken only minutes before when Leroy had gone in for a routine colonoscopy.  He followed up with the words “You have cancer.”  Frankly by then, my head felt like it was about to explode and I could hardly catch my breath.

In the beginning it really never occurred to me that we needed a team of doctors.  We really never needed any doctor.  I had my GYN doc, Leroy never got sick, so the only doctors he went to where the ones who inoculated him before he went off to a war somewhere in a desert or a jungle.  Vaccines were his protection, not from bullets, but from disease.

So when we arrived at Hopkins, the team began to assemble: slowly at first, but if you are familiar with the Kimmel Cancer Center, you know they attack cancer care very aggressively.  Doctors come with that aggressive treatment.  By the time his treatment was over, and we’re talking years, his medical record looked like a set of encyclopedia’s.

But, you know, it was necessary and worthwhile because I will always believe his life, both quantity and quality was enhanced because of that team.  They stayed close to his case.  They shared information and if they didn’t know the answer to something, they took it to a tumor board or a researcher and asked questions and got answers.  They were mightily supported by the best nurses I’ve ever seen.

We had a team.  They were worthy of any pennant, any world championship title, any trophy.

My suggestion, if you’re in this fight: BUILD A TEAM, it’s essential.

 

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Al May 19, 2017 at 5:34 pm

I agree that the team approach is best but when I stared down this long path, my internist said the oncologist he would select if it was him is the same oncologist I have today…16 years later. He is and has been my quarterback, sending me to numerous surgeons, radiation oncologists not to mention his team of outstanding nurses. The infusion room was their domain and they made you feel that everything was going to be OK…they had your back!! This quarterback and his team are still doing their excellent work. I took my friend with late stage ovarian cancer to him along with several other friends who have a variety of cancers. When I recommend this team, I feel that they will get excellent care and have the best chance to beat the beast!

So far so good for my friends. I have been cancer free for 9 years after melanoma, kidney cancer and lung cancer. I wish I could explain it but I just say that God is still working on me.

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Nan Holmes May 18, 2017 at 12:13 pm

Baylor Scott and White’s hospital in Temple, Texas, uses a team approach and it helps that everyone is “on the same page” at all times. With electronic messaging, it’s a whole new world. All the doctors can track every action taken. Quite a change from just 13 years ago.

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