Tuesday, February 17, 2015

VA Approval - Part 2

We saw the delightful Dr. V on Friday. Saturday morning Chad received a phone call from him letting him know, he was going to go ahead and put in a consult for a Surgeon in St Louis. Chad thanked him and ensured that he did it quickly because we could not wait the 4-6 weeks as he told us previously.

We received a phone call Monday morning and had an appointment Wednesday, at the St Louis VA Hospital.

We arrived at the hospital. It was a really dirty and dingy place. Once we were taken into the room, a young doctor came in and asked us a bunch of questions. He was very kind and made us feel like we were in a good place. However, it turned out he was only a resident and was just doing the foot work for the actual surgeon. After waiting awhile, the actual surgeon (We'll Call him Dr. D) came in, with a total of four residents in tow. He sat down with his ego on display and told us with the same certainity that Dr. V had - that the VA would more than likely not support him seeing a specialist. That all Chad needed was a hemicolectomy and he was 98% certain there was no other cancer.

"Well Joy! If you say so! What did you say you were again? A surgical oncolosit? Oh no? Just a rectal surgeon? Did you ever have any patients with appendix cancer before? No, eh? Alright, what is your plan to actually address the cancer? Oh, you have none you say! So you're sitting here with my husband, Chad Cavitt - a cancer patient - and you have absolutely no plan what-so-ever to address the actual cancer component? Sure, I am an idiot. Where do I sign?"

I don't think so. Needless to say, tears were shed. Chad and I were both adamant that neither one of us were comfortable with his 'plan'. I once again, had to educate the doctor on this cancer and what it can do. I had to, yet again, explain how it spread, re-iterate Dr. Sardi's plan and explain that, should there be cancer present - someone who is intimately familiar with this disease and who has the necessary experience and facilities on hand, needs to be the one doing this surgery. 

We said we were hopeful he is right. We're hoping for the best. We're paying HIPEC isn't needed, that the cancer was caught early enough. However, this is his life we're talking about and we're not prepared to play Russian Roulette. In the end he conceded and said he would do what he could but if they asked him if he could do the surgery, he would tell them yes. He didn't pull any punches and said the odds were stacked against us. 

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