Going to see a doctor can sometimes be a little confusing and even overwhelming, but especially doctor appointments with your oncologist.
In our latest “Focus on Cancer,” WSBT takes a look at how good communication with your medical team will improve your quality of care.
Tom Heintzberger of Bremen was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma in April.
“When it first started, I was probably in no condition to comprehend too much,” said Heintzberger.
That’s why it’s so important to be prepared when you meet with your physician.
“I think that when patients are initially diagnosed, they are overwhelmed with their diagnosis,” said RN Jennifer Ewing of Michiana Hematology Oncology. “Helping people to understand their illness and what’s going to come next. How they’ll be treated and what’s going to come next over the years is the biggest thing we can offer patients when they’re first diagnosed.”
“Every time something happened, there was always someone there to help,”
Heintzberger recalled. “We could call in the middle of the night. You could call any time you wanted to. The response was immediate, and it helps you work through everything.”
Ewing also says don’t go it alone. Support from family members is crucial and have them prepare questions as well.
“I always tell my patients, ‘I’m not only treating you, but I’m treating your family,’” Ewing noted. “It’s important before I leave the room, I ask my patient first, ‘Are all of your questions answered,’ and I turn to each family member and ask if their questions have been answered as well.”
That’s been a key component for Heintzberger, who added, “Talking to you like you’re a person. Sometimes the medicine is out of it, and they explain things to you in a way you can completely understand.”
Another good piece of advice is to do research about your physician. You want to make sure you are getting a great provider and someone who has treated your type of cancer.