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Doctor Accused My Mom Of Not Wanting To Get Better


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My mom sees an oncologist locally to manage her meds, order scans, be there for emergencies. This guy is a jerk. He's just plain mean. I normally go with her to appointments, especially when we're seeing him because he's much more cordial when there's a family member present :) . So he was going over her recent scan and lab results with her yesterday. Now, no matter how often you have to get scans and labs done, there is ALWAYS a level of anxiety whether this round of tests will show worsening of your disease. She has carcinoid syndrome and gets these awful flushes as a result, and had already had several flushes prior to him giving her the results. After he was done, he said "I've been looking at your face and you don't look very happy with these results (which were pretty normal). Maybe you were hoping they would be different?" Can you believe that he said that?! So she responded "Well, I'm always anxious about the results, and I'm not feeling well because of these flushing episodes. I'm just trying to take it all in." My poor mom. :(

My mom is very thin because of her short bowel syndrome, bacterial overgrowth, and carcinoid-related diarrhea. She asked him about her problems absorbing nutrients and he told her to give herself more octreotide whenever she has diarrhea. She already does that. So he asked what her GI doc said about it, and my mom said that after undergoing a round of antibiotics for small intestinal bacterial overgrowth and other treatments, the GI doc said she didn't have any other suggestions for my mom. Then this doctor asked her why she never went back to the GI doc, saying "don't you want to get better?" At that point, my mom just shut down because she knew if she said anything else she'd lose it in front of this jerk.

My mom's illness is extremely complicated, and this was the only local oncologist who was willing to try to work with her. We've felt stuck with him. So yesterday we were racking our brains, trying to think of an alternative when she remembered that her endocrinologist recently offered additional help. This endo is wonderful and compassionate, but extremely busy and the sole practitioner in her office. Nevertheless, she's going to try to switch docs soon.

My increased chest pain/heart issues and a bad cold kept me from attending her appt yesterday. My husband was glad I didn't go because stress makes me so sick, although talking with her on the phone about this really increased my chest pain for the rest of the afternoon. Now she also needs help sorting out insurance issues. My chest pain gets worse just thinking about it. I feel so helpless. Why won't my body let me do more to help people?

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That totally *****.; Poor her; poor you. Could you compromise- help her over the phone with insurance stuff, or have her come to you so you could lay in bed and help? It might feel like an onerous task now, but I bet you would feel better knowing you'd helped in some way, and then the chest pain might let up because you wouldn't feel so powerless.

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Yes, she's had carcinoid syndrome since she was my age (late 30's). She's had 2 surgeries to remove tumors so far.

Thanks Persephone. I agree that maybe making a compromise so I could help somewhat would be a good thing. What I might end up doing is having her over this weekend so my hubby can help if I get too symptomatic.

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