Now what?

3 Feb

I have been officially fired by my oncologist (not the doctor up at UCLA), but the local oncologist that I have been unhappily seeing this past year or so. So, not a big deal – or so one would think. He called me yesterday, left me a phone message saying that he was going to send me a list of new doctors to choose from (there is only one other oncologist on my plan) and canceled my Herceptin treatment that is scheduled for this upcoming February 12. He called yesterday – on the 2nd of February – and said I had three weeks to get in my next treatment, to make arrangements with a new doctor to do so etc and wished me the best of luck.

Okay, well, I don’t know about Dr. Burtzo, but my math – from the 2nd to the 12th would be 10 days, not 21. So, I now have 9 days to arrange for the Herceptin treatment that I must have every 21 days.

Also, I have to have a local oncologist who will co-sign for my oncologist up at UCLA’s requests (for testing and treatment that I am to have locally). But, somehow or another, my case manager forwarded an email that I sent to him (the the case manager  about my history of poor care with this doctor and some of the problems that the facility has done wrong) to the facility where I get treatment and to Dr. Burtzo.

After that had happened, Dr. Burtzo called, said he’d read my email (which was not intended for him), cancelled my upcoming treatment and said I needed to seek treatment elsewhere . . . as if I can just walk down the street and ask someone to give me Herceptin – AND – as if I can make these arrangements within 9 days. And, I so need this stress right now.

Well, I am hoping it will work out. What I was told originally was that the medical director of the facility, who is very well known in his field and has a good reputation and is Dr. Burtzo’s boss) was going to “take over my case” and “co-sign” for my treatment (as in, he would authorize whatever Dr. Hurvitz up at UCLA requests so that my treatment can continue locally).  But, now I am unsure as to whether this is happening or not. I am really worried about it as I certainly can not delay my Herceptin treatment and, unfortunately, I can not have it just anywhere. They have trouble getting an IV with me, so there is a nurse (Dawn, who literally saved my life last year – another story) who knows my body and how to get in an IV – in most cases in one attempt.

I am what they call a “hard stick” – small veins, overused veins. I have had to go home on a scheduled Herceptin treatment day after different nurses trying five times to get an IV in and simply sent me home to have me come back on another day. So, it is ME, not them.

But, Dawn, my nurse at the center where I have been getting my treatment, who knows me and has the best probability of successfully getting in an IV, is really the only person I am comfortable with doing this.

So, now I wait to hear back (I have made several calls this morning on this) as to whether they are going to put me back on the schedule for my next treatment or drop me. I can’t imagine it would be in their best interest to drop me (despite my displeasure with my doctor there). And, since it seems to be all about their (the doctor’s, the owner of the clinic, the clinic’s medical director) best interest – – i.e., not getting sued – – I would think that they would take care of this, co-sign for my care and allow me to continue the Herceptin locally with someone who know what they are doing.

Well, wish me luck, say some prayers they do the right thing.


3 Responses to “Now what?”

  1. Sandy February 3, 2010 at 12:07 PM #

    Ugh. What a nightmare. Do you have the option of going up to UCLA for your herceptin treatments? If it comes to that, let me know if you’d like a ride. Michael gave me a wonderful little netbook for Christmas, which means I can easily work from the waiting room while you get your IV if I need to!



    • cancerfree2b February 3, 2010 at 8:25 PM #

      Hi Sandy,

      Thank you for reading my blog. It makes me feel good every time I see activity on my blog 🙂 I have good news – it all got resolved this afternoon – I am going to post more about it. But, Dr. Burtzo’s decision to cancel my treatment was reversed by his boss today (thank God).

      But, Yes, I do have the option of going up to UCLA for treatment any time. But, that would mean quite a drive, and it would mean getting a ride to and from since I can’t drive on the way back. Many women drive to AND from their Herceptin treatments. But, because I have reactions to the treatments, I can’t drive home afterwards. So, with all of the stuff that has been going on (the dumping of Dr. Burtzo and replacing him with Dr. Hurvitz – Thank God – I was promised that I would be able to have all of my treatments handled locally. It worked for the last treatment. But, then my case manager somehow sent a copy of an email that was never intended for Dr. Burtzo to see – and well, let’s just say, Dr. Burtzo was not too pleased with hearing what I had to say about him – truth hurts, i guess – and it has certainly hurt me). So, after that – Dr. Burtzo decided that I would know longer be allowed to be treated at his facility.

      But, fortunately, the medical director – who is Dr. Burtzo’s boss – was contacted today and he reversed Dr. Burtzo’s decision. The medical director is a very well known cancer doctor and a really like-able person. But, in my personal opinion, I think he just got too big too fast – he has a great reputation but, he opened four clinics and in my opinion is just not able to oversee things the way he should. And from my personal experience, Dr. Burtzo is not someone that should not be allowed to practice without significant oversight (obviously, this is my PERSONAL opinion) – he was terribly uninformed with respect to my case AND it was clearly his choice to be uninformed – you’ve heard it all – not reading my file, arguing with me about how many chemo rounds I had been through, taking me off of Herceptin even when UCLA contacted him, pleaded with him to let me continue on the Herceptin without a break . . . and on and on and on as you well know 🙂

      Anyway, thank you for following my blog, it really does mean a lot to me to know that my friends are following my progress.

      So today was a victory!!! 🙂

      Talk to you soon,


    • cancerfree2b February 3, 2010 at 8:41 PM #

      Hi Again Sandy,

      I just now saw the rest of your posting (when I log into my admin portion of the site, I only see the first sentence of your post – I forgot about that). Sorry. Anyway, I just wanted to thank you for your VERY generous offer to take me up to UCLA should I need to get my treatments up there at some point. Thank you so much. And, congratulations on your netbook – what a great gift!

      Thank you again for your offer. I am sorry I didn’t see it until I posted my first reply 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: