A few years ago I wrote about my Dad’s diagnosis with bladder cancer, a serious stage 4 cancer. In the words of the oncologist, an aggressive and dangerous cancer.
What I didn’t share at that time was the fact that his family doctor had treated symptoms as if he had a bladder infection for months. Round after round of antibiotics didn’t do anything and eventually, with some pushing and shoving from family members, he was referred to a urologist who diagnosed him with cancer. That was nearly two years ago and with radiation and chemo and more than a little prayer, the cancer was pushed back and he has had a very good last year and a half.
Recently Dad started having abdominal discomfort and stomach pain and his family doctor once again went after the symptoms with pain meds, acid reflux medicine and anti nausea medication. This went on for nearly a month with no change, in fact he was getting worse, losing weight and becoming weaker. Again the family stepped in and asked the oncologist to help us determine what was going on.
They scheduled a CT scan with the idea of seeing if there was something obvious or referring him to a gastroenterologist in the absence of that. What they found was that the cancer has started growing again and was actually causing all of the symptoms that the family doc was treating as if Dad had acid reflux.
We will find out today what courses of action are available, but one course of action has become clear. Dad and the family have lost all trust in this doctor who feels too important to refer patients to specialists, who thinks treating symptoms in the face of all logic pointing in different direction, and he won’t be in the picture any more.
Bottom line. This isn’t about life insurance and it isn’t about all doctors. What I hope to bring to the table is the thought that families and patients often know that treatment isn’t headed in the right direction, but don’t want to challenge what is going on. In retrospect I wish I had challenged more and more quickly. I wish we had dumped this doctor in the unemployment line two years ago. Once again my family is turning to God and we would covet your prayers in this situation.