Melissa Waller explains the importance of where you receive treatments for lung cancer.
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Michelle: Melissa, you have been to—been treated by many different facilities and hospitals, what do you think, what was the difference for you in the course of treatment? Melissa: Where I am treated at or where a patient is treated at is extremely important because you want to make sure that you are in communication with your doctors. You want to be able to trust them and I am going to give you an example. Where I am being treated at right now at the Cancer Treatment Centers, the difference in communication is night and day compared to some of the places that I was at before. The Cancer Treatment Centers they have meetings where they will have each particular doctor, the naturopath, the mind-body spirit guide, the oncologist, the internal medicine doctor, they will meet on your particular case and talk about each particular aspect and how they can improve on that and then what they have done, that would be and what they plan to do for the next week so that everybody’s on the same page. Whereas some of the places that I was at before, they would go off of just one paper chart and most of the time the doctors wouldn’t even read it. So, you know, that’s a huge, huge thing for me, was the communication level. You know, another thing is that you want to make sure that your doctor has a good, how do I say this, maybe a good bedside manner for you. Michelle: Sure, the chemistry. Melissa: Yes, a good chemistry, and when you are interviewing a doctor or group you want to, it’s almost like interviewing for a nanny to watch your children, something like that because this is somebody that you are really trusting your life with. I mean these people are going to be making the decisions for you, which chemo you are going to be on, where you are going to be heading, and you really need to make sure that the chemistry that you have with them is good. Otherwise, you know, there’s going to be conflict down the road and I found that out the hard way. You know, sometimes the third time is a charm, so, I think, especially going to CTCA, I really feel like I have a good chemistry with every single person there that is handling my care. If I have an ailment or an issue I can, you know, call each person and talk to about. And one of the biggest things at CTCA, and I know some of the other hospitals have this, but I don’t know if they have the level of this particular care, but CTCA has what they call a patient coordinator. And the patient coordinator is really almost like your, your buddy and they are to bring, walk you through the process no matter what happens. So today, for example, I had to call my care manager and tell her, “Hey, I am having back pain what should I do?” And she said, “Okay, go in the internal medicine clinic and go talk to this doctor.” And she is the one that is responsible for your care and it’s nice to have somebody that you can call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. And if your care manager isn’t on shift they have somebody that can, that’s on call for them so there’s always somebody there on the other end of the line to talk to. Michelle: So it’s more like a team effort and she is like, he or she is like the quarterback, almost, for you. Melissa: Yes, absolutely. Michelle: Then they send you here and throw the ball over to the 20 yard line, then you’re go to internal medicine doctor and figure out why your back is hurting, and so there’s that overall coordination that goes on. And that, you said it earlier that it was pretty disjointed in other facilities that you went to. That there was no communication between the doctors at all and you ended up with a tremendous amount of medication. And I think part of that probably, and I don’t want to speak for you, but part of it probably is the fact that they weren't communicating. And each doctor is kind of treating the symptom and trying to treat the disease or condition, but they are not looking at the overall picture. Melissa: Exactly. Michelle: And CTCA or Cancer Tre