I have a kind of fun story. I outlasted my initial oncologist, she retired and moved to California. My oncology practice told me they had assigned me a new oncologist. I was upset at that, I told them I chose my own doctors, no one picks them for me. I was a nurse and checked around the medical community before seeing a doctor, I made my own informed decisions, thank you very much. They told me the oncologist they assigned me was new to the practice, to please give him a chance, they liked him. I reluctantly told them I would see him once and make my own decision.

Well, I fell in love in a doctor/patient kind of way. When I first met him we talked for 2 hours before even he examined me (think we kept a lot of other patients waiting)…about the latest in cancer research, about books it turned out we were both reading about oncology, about the latest advances in cancer treatment and integrative medicine. We talked about the unmet needs of cancer patients.

When I told him I had initially been rejected for treatment at a large university hospital in a neighboring large city, he immediately told me the name of the surgical oncologist who had rejected me (how did he know that??). Turned out he had worked with that particular oncologist and had left that practice in part because of him. He told me of his dream to make our large cancer center more integrative and holisitc. To offer accupuncture, exercise programs, dieticians, support groups and social services (to date the practice offers only office appointments and chemotherapy). He wants a new building complete with gardens. He cares about the depression many cancer patients, especially those aged 30-50, suffer (I was once one of those!). Turns out he even refers appendix cancer patients to HIPEC specialists and communicates with the same specialists I do!

I share his dream…we as cancer patients are more than just a medical diagnosis, we need so much more than office visits and chemo. The two biggest cancer centers in the states, MD Anderson and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, now offer integrative medical services. That needs to be a part of every oncology practice.

Turns out my new oncologist wants me to work with him in accomplishing his goals in the future…that would be my dream job!! I hope it one day becomes a reality. I recently told him I do a lot of work in the cancer community for free, I’d work for him as a volunteer. Hope he takes me up on it! I truly hope I get to be a part of his dream…and I’m keeping my new oncologist!!