Thursday, June 2, 2011

Seeking the Perfect Hematologist/Oncologist for Me

Finding a physician that you like and trust can be a difficult task. For many of us, our “doctor” is a person that we see once a year for a physical, and maybe once or twice a year for a sore throat or stomach ache. I have had only one primary care doctor in my entire life. She was a family physician; the old fashioned type that takes care of all of your family’s needs; from childhood vaccinations to PAP smears. Since she retired, the only “regular” physician that I have had was an OB/GYN. (obstetrician/gynecologist) I very rarely get sick and when I do, I just go to an urgent care facility.

Now that I have cancer and  must regularly see an oncologist, I want someone that I am comfortable with and that I can trust. I have a HUGE list previously posted on my blog, and I am searching for a very special person to fill it.

Dr. Ronald Paquette will be my third opinion. Since I was diagnosed with leukemia in Palm Springs while visiting my folks, and I currently live in the Los Angeles area, I was told that I had two choices; City of Hope and UCLA. Since the doctor that originally treated me recommended a colleague that he personally knew, I chose to go with his recommendation and began my relationship with City of Hope.

First of all, allow me to state that City of Hope is 37.7 miles away from my home; pair that with LA traffic and you do the math. Secondly, City of Hope is a fabulous facility, but it literally is a city; one can get lost in a city. Third, I am sure that my doctor there was highly qualified, and she was very kind, but I could not seem to create the type of doctor/patient relationship that I desired. Hence, still looking; this will be number three.

I called UCLA and told them that I had chronic myelogenous leukemia and that I was seeking a third opinion and doctor shopping. They have a physician referral service that asked me a bunch of questions and then referred me to a doctor. I called the office of the doctor and actually asked for a nurse in that department. Once the nurse was on the phone, I asked her if she had a moment and then explained my predicament to her. I was very clear that the reason that I was seeking a third opinion and doctor shopping was because I was having a difficult time finding a doctor that I could relate to; one that would answer all of my questions.

She asked who the referral service recommended, I told her and she said that the doctor that they recommended was “very” good and knowledgeable, but had a very quiet and demure demeanor. Do you think that she was implying that I was not demure? She thought that I would better be suited with Dr. Paquette because I had so many questions and was looking for answers. She told me that he was in research at the hospital for CML and bone marrow failures, she recommended him. Since I always hold a nurse’s opinion in high esteem, I went with her recommendation. Nurses have first-hand experience working with the doctors every day and they know what they are talking about. I thanked her and made my appointment. Look out Dr. Paquette, here I come!


  1. Having a Dr you like/trust is so very important! Also, don't be afraid to say no when their recommendation doesn't feel right to you! I've found that once you say NO, more options suddenly appear.


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