friend with thymoma

Last week I found out a friend has been diagnosed with malignant thymoma (don’t know what stage). She’s going in for surgery Monday. They feel like they’ve caught it relatively early, and she may not even need chemo. We’ll know more once they go in Monday.
It’s been interesting to see how little things about the hospital treating her has made such a difference for her. She was saying that when she called one place to try and schedule a third opinion with a specialist, the woman answering the phones was curt, rude, and nearly left her in tears. When she called the secretary at the second place (the place she decided to be treated at) about dropping off some records, the woman told her to drive up to the door, call, and that the secretary would come down and pick them up for her.
With the new HIPAA regs, she has been responsible for arranging and picking up EVERY SINGLE medical record and taking it to the specialist. It’s really been a logistical nightmare for her. sad.gif She wished that there was a form that she could sign saying "HIPAA doesn’t apply to me–send the records, please!!"
Thinking about it, I probably would have approached finding a hospital by doing research on how many cases they have treated (it’s really quite rare), looking at case-fatality rates, asking surgeons how many chests they crack open annually, etc. (it’s the biostats and epi training!) For her–and for the majority of patients, I’d hazard a guess–what was most important that people were kind to her, treated her with compassion, and took the time to clearly explain everything to her and answer her questions. She wanted to feel comfortable with the people who were coordinating her treatment.
Just goes to show you how important the bedside manner is. Yet this is something that cannot be taught.
Any of you reading, please send good vibes her way. She’s got a tough fight ahead of her, but I know if anyone can kick this thymoma’s ass, she can.

Late in my MS-1 year & early into my MS-2 year, both my father-in-law & a very good friend of mine were diagnosed w/ AML. I found that making the time to read up on the disease was very empowering, esp when those inevitable family questions rolled around. No, as a med student, you are NOT the physician & if you are smart, you WILL NEVER be the physician of a close friend or family member; however, you will asked many pointed questions and should be able to offer them some sort of knowledge. And, a compassionate referral back to their own managing physician(s).
No, my reading up on AML did not alter either of their outcomes, they both passed away w/i a couple of months of one another. But, I felt that I was able to provide needed and knowledgable support of my family & friends when it was needed.
I wish you & your friend the best of luck! Please keep us informed. OPM is here if you need to talk or just vent.