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Topic: How soon does your doctor contact you after you send a message?

Forum: Just Diagnosed — Discuss next steps, options, and resources.

Posted on: Oct 12, 2017 09:40AM

abatract wrote:

So, I just got diagnosed, have the last of my tests today, am starting chemo soon...

My oncologist is at MGH, I met him the day I got the call, so I was really overwhelmed. I liked him enough. He was a referral from my PCP, but I've never been totally set on having him specifically, I might change.

Anyway, I wanted to know how long it usually takes your doctors to get message you back, and if it's the doctor directly or their nurse that handles it. Also, how often do you send messages? What's normal for that?

I sent over a few questions on Saturday, and didn't hear anything until Tuesday around five, when a nurse called me back. I was about to go into another appointment, but we talked about the most pressing issue (see below) and she said she'd call back the next day. It's now halfway through Thursday, and nothing.

One of the questions I had asked (that works have been really good to know the answer to earlier) was about a tooth that needed to be pulled. I wasn't sure about starting chemo with a wound, but also didn't want an infection during. Anyway, it didn't seem like she had checked with the doctor at all (she asked *me* when I was supposed to start chemo), and I'm just really frustrated. If this is normal, I guess I'll live, but none of it really seems good.

Ugh. Feedback? And any doctor rec's for Boston?


Diagnosed October 5, 2017. Indentation at nipple with lump underneath, and cancer in node. Waiting on test results, then go straight into chemo. Eep!
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Oct 12, 2017 10:20AM muska wrote:

Hi abatract,

I am at MGH too and use their patient portal all the time. Based on my experience, they will answer quickly if the question is urgent. If it is not it might take a day or two. I have never had any issues with their response time to urgent questions or anything else. In any case, if you are frustrated with how quickly a nurse responded or didn't respond I would just call their cancer center and leave a message for the nurse.

Keep in mind that Monday was Columbus Day, so I think they had reduced coverage on Monday.

Good luck with your treatments!

You can PM me if you have more questions.

Dx at 54 Dx 5/9/2013, DCIS/IDC, Right, <1cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 3, 7/11 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 6/12/2013 Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Dx 6/13/2013, LCIS, Both breasts Chemotherapy 7/24/2013 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 2/19/2014 Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Hormonal Therapy 3/11/2014 Arimidex (anastrozole) Radiation Therapy 3/22/2014 Breast, Lymph nodes, Bone
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Oct 12, 2017 10:25AM - edited Oct 12, 2017 10:41AM by GreenEyes81

Hi, sorry to hear this. Navigating can be frustrating. :( First, go get your tooth taken care of BEFORE chemo. It is very difficult for anything to heal once you start chemo.

As for getting messages back, depends on a lof of stuff. Several of my doctors are sergens, so I know their surgry days and don't expect anything on those days. lol Sometimes a nurse calls and sometimes its my doctor. Depends on what the issue/question is to be honest. Keep in mind, they have a ton of people they see. I wouldn't count the nurse asking when you start chemo as a bad thing. Where I am, scheduling for that is not aways on the doctors paper work or easily to see.

If you are not happy or at peace with your doctor, get a 2nd opinion. There is no reason to not be 100% with your doctor, your life is at stake. That does not mean they are a bad doctor, they just might not be the right fit for you. Good luck!

Dx 7/21/2017, DCIS/IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 8/9/2017 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Right Dx 4/18/2018, DCIS/IDC, Right, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 5/2/2018 Radiation Therapy 5/27/2018 Hormonal Therapy
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Oct 12, 2017 10:39AM illimae wrote:

I'm at MDA and use the patient portal. Emails to my MO are answered through nursing staff the following day typically. I did send a few emails and left phone messages for a heart doc to get my echocardiogram results, I finally heard back more than a week later with excuses of I was sick and my nurse was out to have her AC fixed. A week is absolutely too long, I dropped him andrequested someone who was capable of showing more respect for my health.

Diagnosed at 41 Stage IV De Novo Dx 11/16/2016, IDC, Left, 5cm, Stage IV, metastasized to bone, Grade 3, 3/13 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2+ (IHC) Targeted Therapy 1/1/2017 Perjeta (pertuzumab) Chemotherapy 1/2/2017 Abraxane (albumin-bound or nab-paclitaxel) Targeted Therapy 1/2/2017 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Surgery 6/26/2017 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Underarm/Axillary Radiation Therapy 8/10/2017 Breast, Lymph nodes Dx 10/5/2017, IDC, Left, Stage IV, metastasized to brain Radiation Therapy 10/19/2017 External: Brain Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)

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