Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Signed, Sealed, Delivered

On Tuesday, I spoke with the MD Anderson Cancer Center and discovered that I had three options for receiving a second opinion: in person, by phone or by mail. I would have to wait more than a month for face-to-face time or three weeks for a phone consultation, but I could have my mail order treatment plan in seven to ten business days.

This was, of course, seven to ten business days after they received my records. I called the City of Hope medical records department and learned that it could take up to ten days to process my request. That meant the entire second opinion process could take nearly a month.

But I don't have a month. I have less than two weeks with the clock ticking before I'm scheduled to start Hyper CVAD at the City of Hope on March 26. If I wanted to get a second opinion treatment plan before that date, I knew I would have to do some major "bird dogging."

This morning I received a serendipitous call from a friend who once managed the medical records department at Cedar Sinai. She encouraged me to walk in and request the records in person. (If that failed, she had a direct connection to the CEO at CofH, but I had a feeling I didn't need to bother the "big guy" with this problem.)

I took her advice and headed straight to the City of Hope. My assigned representative in the records department wasn't available, but Lisa jumped right in and wrangled my records. One down, two to go. I still needed my pathology slides and a CD of my MRI, PET scan and CT scan. Lisa called to let radiology know that I'd be coming over for my records, and they had the CD waiting for me when I arrived ten minutes later. I found the same fast and friendly service in the pathology records department.

I was in and out of the hospital in just under an hour with my complete cancer medical history in hand.

The experience reminded me of my first corporate job in marketing for AT&T. When a demanding client requested (or should I say insisted upon) an expedite from three weeks to three days, I would hand carry the order to ten different departments involved in the process. Then I 'd put on my tightest skirt and sweetest smile and drive to the central office, where I'd sweet talk a supervisor into moving my order to the top of the list. I'd usually follow up with a bottle of Chivas Regal as a thank you. (Hey, you do what you have to do for a client.)

Today, I managed to shave nine and a half days off the front end process at the City of Hope. The records will be on the desk of the MD Anderson consultant by 9 am tomorrow morning.

And I didn't even have to spring for a bottle of Chivas.


Chris said...

You are awesome Susan. It is amazing how much "we" are in charge of our medical future.

PS Evania is giving up selfishness too for lent from your daughters inspiration.

PSS I'm just giving up complaining-love your blog!

Susan Carrier said...

Chris, I just showed Cindy your comment so that she would know about her "widespread" influence. She was so excited, that she used her cell phone to take a photo of the comment.


denise said...

I agree with Chris. We must stay in charge and not rollover especially when it comes to the politics of the medical world. That's where our power lies. And, baby, you've got the power.

Susan Carrier said...

I am strong.
I am invincible.
I am cancer patient!

cgfryling said...

Susan: prayers and hope from the Juniors during Theology Class at Mercyhurst Prep School where your friend Alex asked the class to include you in their prayers. That was at 11:30 Eastern time so hope you felt the vibration.
Love Carla

Lilli said...

You go girl!

JaneZ said...


Time passes.

Life happens.

Distance separates.

Children grow up.

Jobs come and go.

Susan - We COWF'ers are thinking of you too. JaneZ

Love waxes and wanes.

Men don't do what they're supposed to do.

Hearts break.

Parents die.

Colleagues forget favors.

Careers end.

BUT - Sisters are there, no matter how much time and how many miles

are between you. A girlfriend is never farther away than needing her.

When you have to walk that lonesome valley and you have to walk it by

yourself, the women in your life will be on the valley's rim, cheering

you on, praying for you, pulling for you, intervening on your behalf,

and waiting with open arms at the valley's end.

Sometimes, they will even break the rules and walk beside you, or

come in and carry you out.

Girlfriends, daughters, granddaughters, daughters-in-law, sisters,

sisters-in-law, mothers, grandmothers, aunties, nieces, cousins and

extended family all bless our life.

When we began this adventure called womanhood, we had no idea of the

incredible joys or sorrows that lay ahead, nor did we know how much we

would need each other.

Every day, we need each other still.

Piper Bobby said...

Hi, Ninnie Choo Choo. I picture your treatment like the 300 Spartans, only on a minature basis. Little aggressive Spartans with long spears and shields in attack mode, destroying the enemy that would like to harm you. I also see you having complete victory. Your story is a very happy one. Maybe the title should be, "A Million Things To Do Before I'm 90."

One question.....what's a chivas?