Vulcan Stev's Database

It's a BLOG Captain, but not as we know it.

Cancer Crisis: The doctor is hiding behind his notes

Honestly, I was going to post this last night.  Not being at home for most of the day followed by an uncooperative ‘net connection kept me from posting last night.  I’m writing this Thursday morning before work (when I should probably still be in bed) because I can’t sleep.

Yesterday, we had a follow-up with Virginia’s original Oncologist.  He was, as usual, late to the appointment and he also stepped out of the exam room many times during.  Had I not had my new copy of Final Crisis (yes I broke down and got the hard cover) I would have been very bored.

I noticed two things yesterday.  First, Doc S. was more evasive than normal.  Direct questions were answered by pointing to meaningless numbers on a computer screen.  Second, he seemed to be over-selling himself and constantly reminding us the HE was the oncologist and only recommended we go to Iowa City so that we could bask in warmth of the fact that HIS diagnosis was the correct one.  At least that’s how the whole appointment seemed to run in my opinion.

Doc S. asked Gin some questions about her high temps (running in the high 90s with spikes just over 100).  He asked her questions about other bodily functions.  Throughout the question process he kept turning away from Gin and I and referred back to his notes on the computer behind him.  I bluntly asked him what his concern was.  He finally admitted that he was worried what was causing the elevated temperatures (we had only been told before to be concerned if the temps went above 100.4).  Doc S. then ordered a urinalysis and an x-ray.  He explained that he wanted to make sure that Virginia’s temp was not caused by a sickness.  We went immediately across the street to get the tests completed.

After we returned home, we went over to my folks for supper.  We got the usual concerned family grilling about what’s going on.  As Doc S. had not given us any straight answers, I had none to give my family.  We came home about 7:30 last night and Gin went straight to bed.  She’s been up several times during the night and is currently (6:30 am) sleeping.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the visit yesterday.  Doc S. was very concerned over the temp.  He wants to make sure the elevated levels are because Virginia is fighting an illness.  OK so then if it’s not an illness what is it?  Doctors are NEVER concerned over nothing.  However, Doc isn’t filling us in on his thinking.  He also mentioned repeatedly in very assuring tones that he’s trying to find a treatment that works for Virginia.  Does that mean this treatment isn’t working?  Is my wife failing faster than he thought?

The other thing that concerned me was the over-whelming bend-over-the-back efforts to keep us at HIS practice.  Every idea or treatment that the University doctor thought of was dismissed out-of-hand or glossed over.  I got the distinct impression that Doc S. was more concerned over keeping Virginia as a patient than he was concerned over making her better.

The last two paragraphs are entirely my own thoughts and speculations on yesterday.  As Virginia went straight to bed when we got home, I have not had the chance to talk to her about any of this.  I don’t know if she had the same impression or not.

Basically, we were originally told not to worry unless her temp went over 100.4.  We were sent to the ER when it went to 100.6.  Doc S. was concerned about the treatment the ER doc prescribed ‘Why did he prescribe those meds?’.  Now he’s concerned about a constant temp in the high 90s.

All this doctor concern with no satisfactory explanation given has left me scared.

April 22, 2010 - Posted by | Mrs. Vulcan Stev's Fight | , , ,


  1. Hopefully it is something along the lines of a doctor who is nervous to have a patient in Gin’s condition that is giving you this impression and not that he is just being greedy.

    Here’s praying that the rise in temps has a benign cause that has nothing to do with cancer.

    Comment by Ruminator | April 22, 2010

  2. 😦
    I’ll just put out all sorts of good thoughts for you guys.

    Comment by cassey | April 22, 2010

  3. I am not now nor never have been impressed with Dr. S. because his bedside/tableside manner frankly is terrible. If you guys choose to go somewhere else it is entirely your business and not his! Because IC was also encouraging you to follow the homeopathic route I think you should consider transferring to there. Alli’s freedom from a schedule will enable her to transport if needed.
    It’s like I told you, we will do everything we possibly can to promote good health in all of you so pray Dad gets more work so we can afford it!
    Loving you all–so very much.

    Comment by JoAnne Nibbelink | April 22, 2010

  4. My own feelings on Dr. visit yesterday. Dr.S did seemed more concerned about keeping me as patient and disagreed with why we did a second opinion. I did not like being told my reasons for going to IC were not why we went. He did not answer my question about future treatment options, rather focused on what to do immediately. He did seem astonished at the medication dosage of the IC Dr. like it was much higher dosage than he would have prescribed. He was shocked that an antibiotic was perscribed at ER when no definate sign of infection seemed to show, he did not however tell me to stop taking them.

    Next step in the process of saving Virginia: I am going to see a Naturopathic doctor on April 30. I have been forwarned that this will be a very long appointment. I am looking forward to it as I know people who have battled terminal illnesses and are still living productive lives.

    May 4 we return to IC for recheck with the Dr. there. We need to make a decision on who is going to be the primary Oncologist. Another suggestion that has come from a few different places is Cancer Treatment Centers of America. This is all something to keep in prayer.

    Comment by Mrs. Vulcan Stev | April 22, 2010

  5. My experience with specialists haven’t been good, so maybe this is just biased, but they’ve seemed to me very arrogant and mostly concerned that you do as they say, regardless of whether or not it’s the best option for you. I had one tell ME how I was feeling, and insist he knew how I felt better than I did. He constatly reminded me that he was the one with the Ph.D, all the while avoiding my questions and refusing to just admit he didn’t know the answers. He’s running a business. Health care is not made up of a bunch of charitable nuns running around caring for the sick anymore. If he’s not meeting Gin’s needs, find someone who does. Don’t worry about hurting his feelings. To him it’s not life or death, it’s a paycheck. Just my 2 cents :-).

    Comment by Kaylin | April 22, 2010

  6. After reading the blog post and the comments above, I have to say that I agree entirely with Kaylin’s assessment of the situation. I myself have been to several specialists over the years and, like Kaylin, have noticed that “the more they know” the more they really DON’T know. Like she said, the industry is just that…and industry. Unfortunately, with the current laws insisting that we all have health care coverage, it takes the amount of choices away from the potential patient to find a Dr. or series of Dr.’s who have your best interest in mind, rather than what or how often they get paid. Specifically for those of us who are of the “low income” bracket…(which honestly is just about everyone these days, or so it seems) we are “assigned” rather than allowed to really choose who and where we seek care from. IF we should make the educated decision to seek care from other sources, we are left having to figure out how to pay the tab when all is said and done. All the facts aside, I still say that the patient themselves is more in tune with their own body and how it functions than any Dr. no matter WHAT they specialize in. That said, I feel the best choice is the one that is prayed upon and talked about amongst the whole family and one that everyone is satisfied with. If that means going to a few out of the way places to get the treatment that is necessary, SO BE IT! Ultimately, the decision is not an easy one, and probably will not be the most inexpensive option, but if it means that Virginia gets more time to spend with the ones she loves and that love her, in my opinion, that’s all that really matters.

    Comment by April | April 22, 2010

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