Tuesday October 15th my father was scheduled to meet the oncologist at 2:30pm. My fathers morning begun a bit earlier when he awoke at 1am with a bit of pain. He finally decided that he needed to take a pain pill and hopefully get some additional sleep. It was the first time he really took a pain pill in 10 days, since he worries of the "addiction" that could come with taking pain pills. My morning...

Saturday October 12th my father was finally scheduled for his long awaited PET scan. My parents and I arrived at the hospital at 7am. Within less than five minutes someone cam back to explain the scan to my father and escort him back to the scanner. As soon as my father was out of sight, I turned and asked my mother how she was doing. She just looked at my and begin to weep. I leaned...

Since the mid 1990’s, delays in patients beginning treatment for cancer care have been increasing. As the population of the U.S. continues, more people will continue to be diagnosed with cancer, and as new therapies continue to extend survival rates, the demand for health services focusing on cancer will continue to increase and stress the healthcare system. In the below chart you can see how the time it takes from a patient having a biopsy, being...

Today is day 17 of my fathers journey. I finally received the information on the pathology report that I had been awaiting. It is adenocarcinoma of the pancreas, with metastatic disease to the liver. My father has Stage IV pancreatic cancer. How did I finally obtain all of the information is a small glimpse into the world of what is broken inside of healthcare. My parents did not get a call within 24 hours from the physician on...

So the morning came and by about 10am I was done waiting to hear from my mother and I called her for an update. She had informed me that as of that moment, no one had called her or my father back. I encouraged her to call both the primary care physicians office as well as the GI surgeon. She had to leave messages. About an hour later, the nurse for the GI surgeon gave my...

Tuesday afternoon the physician performing my fathers EUS and biopsy came out to talk to us briefly after the procedure. He clearly stated that he took 8 specimens, the pathologist would not give a preliminary read, but would have results back to us in 24 hours. That was 1330 on Tuesday. So in theory, by 1330 on Wednesday, we should have results. I called my mother at 1700 hours this evening, wednesday, and much to my dismay,...

Today my father went in for his EUS to get a biopsy from the tail of the pancreas where they believe his possible cancer resides. The hospital called on Friday and asked if they could move up his procedure time to 11am. My father was all excited about that since he knew he would have to fast. My parents were called on Monday the 7th of October and asked to arrive by 9am, to get him...

When people are anticipating a possible diagnosis of cancer, or receive one, the internal clock begins to tick. This is a concept that can be difficult for physicians and other clinicians to grasp. This is one thing that I have been acutely aware of since my own clinical rotations. I saw time and time again people and families having to wait to find out news, sometimes it was good, other times it was bad, but...

Today is Friday, the 4th of October. Spoke to my mother this morning and she said that my father is feeling a bit better. Apparently on Thursday he didn't sleep well, he had to take pain medication twice, and pain upon urination. On Tuesday morning my father went in for a stent placement. Typically the urologist will place a mesh like stent, but in my father's case they place a metallic spring like coil as a...

In my previous post I discussed the fact that an ultrasound was being scheduled for my father. It took the hospital 5 business days to schedule my father for his appointment. Well, that happened last Friday. What was found on ultrasound was a mass just under the spleen. I spoke to his primary care physician. (after filling out the appropriate release forms) I also spoke to the physician and set my expectations. We are not going...