Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Oh What A Difference!

   I met my new doctor yesterday and I couldn't be happier. What a difference.
Here is how I will make a comparison. 
   Last Monday, July 18, I had an appointment with my Oncologist at Kaiser Permanente. It went something like this.
   Hello Mr. Seals, how are you today. Is your PSA ever going to go up? Your lungs sound good. See you in 2 months and I will sign the orders for your prescription. 
   The entire time with my doctor was 5 minutes. There was never any discussion of what is next or the future or anything. 
   On Monday, July 25, Mandy and I drove south to Providence Cancer Center in Portland Oregon, to meet my new Oncologist. 
               Dr. Brendan Curti.

   My new oncologist sees patients one day a week. The balance of the week is spent in the lab. Dr. Curti heads a research team at Providence Cancer Center in the field of immunology. His team developed OX-40, an immunotherapy headed for a Nation Wide Clinical Trial in the coming months.
   To be fair, I cannot complain about the quality of care I have received at Kaiser Permamente. I can however state that they have never once went over and above any normal standard of care and have put my family through hell by forcing me to fight to obtain medication while this disease was progressing.
   The moment Dr. Curti walked into the exam room, we knew we had found our new doctor. His demeanor was both professional and compassionate. We exchanged pleasantries and then discussed why I was there. To my surprize, he listened to me. I explained to him that I have a minimum 30 year plan and when I stated that failure was not an option he didn't smirk. I told him that my current physician never discusses current or future treatment plans. I mentioned that I am not the type to get caught watching the paint dry and that I need to be included in the process. He listened to it all. 
   After our chat he did a thorough exam and then it was his turn to speak. He told me that I must realize there is no need to do anything different at this point. After all, I am in a durable remission. He acknowledged the fact that one day the cancer will return. He told me that if my PSA reaches .5 he will give me a pet scan. He talked about using radiation to kill small cancer clusters. He talked about using chemo and Xtandi and other immunotherapy. He talked about things my former oncologist never brought up.  
   Having a medical team that has your best interests at heart is paramount. I have never had that luxury until now. Amanda and I no longer feel alone in this battle. We can look forward to the future with confidence. Today we feel thankful and grateful!