Robert B. wrote in PPML about his experiences with PC doctors and our healthcare system in general.  I am reposting some of his remarks because they sounded to me like “deja vu all over again.” 

“The other thing that we have to address is how our medical system encourages docs to deal with us. As I have said before, it is like going to a series of used car salesmen.

“I have only had two docs tell me anything other than ‘My treatment is best.’  The first doc who diagnosed me actually put in a letter that I discussed watchful waiting with him.  Huh?

“I must have missed it because he sure did not emphasize it. It was also like pulling teeth to get my slides sent to Johns Hopkins for a second opinion.

“The docs who spent the most time with me: One was a Canadian doctor who spent an hour on the phone with me even though I he knew I was a US patient.

“The other was a foreign born and trained doctor who is practicing here. Very well known doctors in Germany responded via email in less than 24 hours.

“I do give compliments to most of the docs that are or have been associated with the Vattikuti institute in Detroit. So far each has been fairly patient-centered and I am impressed with their demeanor. That said they are surgeons, and for the most part, surgery is the only answer as far as they are concerned.”

The important thing to remember if you are newly diagnosed is not just to comparison shop but to *insist* on having your biopsy slides *reviewed* by an expert. Husb’s urologist talked us out of it, to our detriment. Slides should be sent to a select group of people who are known for their expertise in this area.   Here are some names offered by Dr. Stephen Strum, author of “A Primer On Prostate Cancer”:

  1. David Bostwick (Virginia) [800] 214-6628
  2. Jon Epstein (Hopkins) [410] 955-5043 or 410-955-2162 (Dr. Epstein does not
    do ploidy analysis)
  3. Jon Oppenheimer (Tennessee]  [888] 868-7522
  4. Dianon Laboratories 1 [800] 328-2666 (select 5 for client services)
  5. UroCor, Inc. 1 [800] 411-1839

Interestingly, I myself had to see a doctor in Vancouver this year because I injured my back slightly while on vacation.  I can’t say it’s representative, but the doc there also spent a lot of time with me.  (Time seems to stand still in British Columbia — B.C., maybe, as in days of old?)  Anyway, as he should have inquired of a guest, the doc asked me first, “How do you like Canada?” and “What did you see?” (Butchart Gardens — to die for!)  Then he finally got down to business and asked about all of my current and past health problems.  I told him:

 “Appreciate all the attention, Doc, but I’ll only be here two more days.  Don’t think you can fix all that stuff in this timeframe.  Can I just get some Tylenol with codeine for the pain?”

And while I’m at it, I’ll let you in on what happened at Customs when I was leaving the country.  The agent asked me:

“Do you have any Tylenol with Codeine? 

I said:

“Yeah.  And it’s legit.  A doctor here gave it to me.”

She says:

“No, not that kind, the kind they sell over the counter.”

Yikes, I could have saved $100 on the doctor’s fee!  Why didn’t anybody tell me?

Then the customs agent asked: 

“Do you have any firearms?”

To which I responded:

“Course I do!, I am an American!!  What can I get for you?” :-))

Finally, the woman peered at me and pointed to my passport picture. 

“Is that you?”

Yup, that was my pre-PC self, trim and perky.  I was embarrassed.  I stammered:

“Yes, I’ve put on a few pounds.” 

She smiled and said matter-of-factly:

“You look better now.”

O Canada!!