Saturday, December 1, 2018

2nd Opinion Consult at MD Anderson: From idea to confirmed appointment in 2 days

I am all set for a second-opinion-consult with Dr. Shiao-Pei Weathers at MD Anderson Cancer Center on Friday, December 14, 2018. 

The idea for a second-opinion-consult was seriously broached for the first time at the meeting on Wednesday, November 28, 2018 afternoon when my NeuroOncologist - Dr. J Mark Barnett - was giving us the bad news about the previous week's MRI. The confirmed appointment at MD Anderson came through by the afternoon of Friday, November 30, 2018. 😮💪

Speedy affair indeed thanks to the prompt action by Dr. Barnett & the staff at his office, and highly responsive action by the staff at MD Anderson Cancer Center. 

Dr. Barnett consulted his colleague - Dr. Hossein Maymani - immediately after our meeting about the best way to reach out to MD Anderson and gave us a phone number to call that evening. Dr. Maymani is a recent addition at the Longmont office of Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers and has previously worked at MD Anderson; so he is the right person to reach out to in this context. 

We followed up over the phone next day morning at 7:40 AM knowing it will be 8:40 AM in Houston. The person I spoke with took all of my details. Within 10 minutes I got an email from a Patient Access Representative at MD Anderson requesting me to authorize a Medical Information Release form to enable them to get Pathology reports, radiology discs, and medical records. 

We informed Dr. Barnett's office staff about the progress. By 2:30 PM the same day, they called us back to inform us that they had faxed over 70+ pages of my medical records to MD Anderson to expedite the process. 

I was exchanging emails back and forth all through with Shandra Boddy, the Patient Access Representative at MD Anderson. Didn't hear anything back from Shandra Boddy on Friday morning about them receiving the documents. So I emailed her around 11:30 AM asking if they had received the documents. She responded almost immediately saying "I received the reports that were faxed over, and the PATH slides were delivered today."

Half an hour later, she sent an email saying "I have you scheduled to see Dr. Shiao-Pei Weathers on 12/14 .... Will this appointment work for you?" 😮

I responded promptly that the appointment works for us and went about making travel arrangements as soon as possible. 😁

Having researched previously about the medical facilities specializing in treating Glioblastoma, we knew MD Anderson to be among the best facilities - along with Duke, UCSF, and others. The fact that we have family living in Houston with whom we can stay during the trip made the decision to go there an easy one. 

Also, one of my friends - Krishna P L Bhat, Ph.D. - leads a team working on researching for Glioblastoma cures at MD Anderson. We visited his office and laboratory in September when we were visiting family. The below picture was taken during an informal meeting with the team on September 17, 2018.

All of this made the decision to go to MD Anderson a no-brainer for us. 

At the meeting on Wednesday, Dr. Barnett was repetitively insistent that now is the time to go for a second opinion because the options he could offer us in Longmont were very limited. Once we expressed a preference for MD Anderson over Duke, he triggered the process to get us there very quickly. With the tumor having grown 2 centimeters in six weeks since the MRI scan on October 3, 2018, to the next MRI scan on November 20, 2018, there is indeed a huge urgency with my health situation. My heartfelt gratitude to Dr. Barnett for acting promptly in the best interests on my behalf.

The big first step towards combating the new Glioblastoma Tumor Recurrence has been taken. Onwards with a positive & optimistic mindset, full of hope and courage!

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