Lung Cancer experience @ UF Health Cancer Center (Orlando)

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  #1  
Old 01-29-2015, 06:44 PM
Bobcuse Bobcuse is offline
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Default Lung Cancer experience @ UF Health Cancer Center (Orlando)

My wife had a routine appointment with her primary care physician at The Villages Health Center which led to an x-ray and a couple of scans and resulted in her being diagnosed with Stage 1 lung cancer. She elected to go to a specialist for his opinion and he confirmed the diagnosis and recommended a lobectomy which is removal of an entire lobe of the lung where the suspect nodule was located. He described the surgery as a "traditional" lobectomy where a long incision is made starting below the rib cage up to the diaphragm so the chest can be opened to access the lung. This surgery can be very painful as it results in cracked or broken ribs when they are spread. Hospitalization is usually 7 days with recovery times running 6-8 week minimum.

We did some basic research on the internet about lung cancer surgery and found several articles describing options including Video Assisted Thoracic Surgery which is a minimally invasive robotic technology used to perform a lobectomy without opening up the chest. We then called three well known cancer surgery centers for information about this option: Moffitt Cancer Center(Tampa), Mayo Clinic (Jacksonville) and UF Health Cancer Center (formerly known as M D Anderson Cancer Center) in Orlando. Moffitt said they do not accept our UHC Mediare Complete Advantage Insurance. Mayo Clinic informed us that their rates are 15% above Medicare rates. UF Health Cancer Center said to come over the next day for a free consultation with the head of their Thoracic Cancer Center, and yes, they accept UHC insurance plans and are in the network.

We went to UF Health Cancer Center in Orlando the next day and met with a team of surgeons and other health care specialists. They reviewed my wife's tests and immediately recommended the VAT Surgery. They said the hospitalization would be 3-4 days and 3-6 week recovery with minimal pain. She had the VAT surgery on a Friday in Orlando and was home on Sunday. She was out shopping within a week and approximately 90% back to normal within 3 weeks. This is amazing for a 72 year old woman.

My daughter is a cardiology nurse practitioner in NY. She came down for her mom's surgery and she continuously commented about what exceptional care Orlando Health provided and how very friendly everyone in the facility was with visitors, patients, and each other. The culture there was unlike what we were accustomed to at our hospitals back home. Perhaps other hospitals have created this culture today and we have just not experienced it, but it was truly exceptional at Orlando Health. I do not want to sound negative in any way about Moffitt nor Mayo as we have heard good things about both facilities. I am just relaying our experience with Orlando Health whom we had no knowledge of prior to this experience. It is 65 minutes from our door to theirs, and there were zero traffic issues as it just a few minutes off the highway and the parking garage is huge (and free for patients and visitors). We were truly blessed with this early diagnosis, and a fantastic team of thoracic surgeons led by Dr. Herrera. I highly recommend Orlando Health and the UF Health Cancer Center (for all cancers). Hopefully you will never need them but just in case you do.
  #2  
Old 01-29-2015, 06:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobcuse View Post
My wife had a routine appointment with her primary care physician at The Villages Health Center which led to an x-ray and a couple of scans and resulted in her being diagnosed with Stage 1 lung cancer. She elected to go to a specialist for his opinion and he confirmed the diagnosis and recommended a lobectomy which is removal of an entire lobe of the lung where the suspect nodule was located. He described the surgery as a "traditional" lobectomy where a long incision is made starting below the rib cage up to the diaphragm so the chest can be opened to access the lung. This surgery can be very painful as it results in cracked or broken ribs when they are spread. Hospitalization is usually 7 days with recovery times running 6-8 week minimum.

We did some basic research on the internet about lung cancer surgery and found several articles describing options including Video Assisted Thoracic Surgery which is a minimally invasive robotic technology used to perform a lobectomy without opening up the chest. We then called three well known cancer surgery centers for information about this option: Moffitt Cancer Center(Tampa), Mayo Clinic (Jacksonville) and UF Health Cancer Center (formerly known as M D Anderson Cancer Center) in Orlando. Moffitt said they do not accept our UHC Mediare Complete Advantage Insurance. Mayo Clinic informed us that their rates are 15% above Medicare rates. UF Health Cancer Center said to come over the next day for a free consultation with the head of their Thoracic Cancer Center, and yes, they accept UHC insurance plans and are in the network.

We went to UF Health Cancer Center in Orlando the next day and met with a team of surgeons and other health care specialists. They reviewed my wife's tests and immediately recommended the VAT Surgery. They said the hospitalization would be 3-4 days and 3-6 week recovery with minimal pain. She had the VAT surgery on a Friday in Orlando and was home on Sunday. She was out shopping within a week and approximately 90% back to normal within 3 weeks. This is amazing for a 72 year old woman.

My daughter is a cardiology nurse practitioner in NY. She came down for her mom's surgery and she continuously commented about what exceptional care Orlando Health provided and how very friendly everyone in the facility was with visitors, patients, and each other. The culture there was unlike what we were accustomed to at our hospitals back home. Perhaps other hospitals have created this culture today and we have just not experienced it, but it was truly exceptional at Orlando Health. I do not want to sound negative in any way about Moffitt nor Mayo as we have heard good things about both facilities. I am just relaying our experience with Orlando Health whom we had no knowledge of prior to this experience. It is 65 minutes from our door to theirs, and there were zero traffic issues as it just a few minutes off the highway and the parking garage is huge (and free for patients and visitors). We were truly blessed with this early diagnosis, and a fantastic team of thoracic surgeons led by Dr. Herrera. I highly recommend Orlando Health and the UF Health Cancer Center (for all cancers). Hopefully you will never need them but just in case you do.

Glad all is well now, was the nodule ever confirmed as cancerous?
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  #3  
Old 01-29-2015, 07:47 PM
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Another testimony to the payback for not accepting the first diagnosis and gathering more information, explore the alternatives and decisions made.

Thanx for sharing and educating us a little more.
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Old 01-29-2015, 07:53 PM
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So glad you found this alternative. As soon as I started reading your post I wondered why they had to be so violent in this surgery - turns out they didn't. Wishing you and your wife the best.
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Old 01-29-2015, 07:58 PM
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So glad they found the cancer early...Mine was also found by "accident" and also stage 1a over 5 years ago....We are some of the lucky ones...Wishing her much good health in the future!! Glad to hear the surgery went so well!!
  #6  
Old 01-29-2015, 08:28 PM
Bobcuse Bobcuse is offline
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Glad all is well now, was the nodule ever confirmed as cancerous?
Yes the nodule was confirmed to be cancerous but all lymph nodes and margins were negative for cancer.
  #7  
Old 01-29-2015, 08:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobcuse View Post
My wife had a routine appointment with her primary care physician at The Villages Health Center which led to an x-ray and a couple of scans and resulted in her being diagnosed with Stage 1 lung cancer. She elected to go to a specialist for his opinion and he confirmed the diagnosis and recommended a lobectomy which is removal of an entire lobe of the lung where the suspect nodule was located. He described the surgery as a "traditional" lobectomy where a long incision is made starting below the rib cage up to the diaphragm so the chest can be opened to access the lung. This surgery can be very painful as it results in cracked or broken ribs when they are spread. Hospitalization is usually 7 days with recovery times running 6-8 week minimum.

We did some basic research on the internet about lung cancer surgery and found several articles describing options including Video Assisted Thoracic Surgery which is a minimally invasive robotic technology used to perform a lobectomy without opening up the chest. We then called three well known cancer surgery centers for information about this option: Moffitt Cancer Center(Tampa), Mayo Clinic (Jacksonville) and UF Health Cancer Center (formerly known as M D Anderson Cancer Center) in Orlando. Moffitt said they do not accept our UHC Mediare Complete Advantage Insurance. Mayo Clinic informed us that their rates are 15% above Medicare rates. UF Health Cancer Center said to come over the next day for a free consultation with the head of their Thoracic Cancer Center, and yes, they accept UHC insurance plans and are in the network.

We went to UF Health Cancer Center in Orlando the next day and met with a team of surgeons and other health care specialists. They reviewed my wife's tests and immediately recommended the VAT Surgery. They said the hospitalization would be 3-4 days and 3-6 week recovery with minimal pain. She had the VAT surgery on a Friday in Orlando and was home on Sunday. She was out shopping within a week and approximately 90% back to normal within 3 weeks. This is amazing for a 72 year old woman.

My daughter is a cardiology nurse practitioner in NY. She came down for her mom's surgery and she continuously commented about what exceptional care Orlando Health provided and how very friendly everyone in the facility was with visitors, patients, and each other. The culture there was unlike what we were accustomed to at our hospitals back home. Perhaps other hospitals have created this culture today and we have just not experienced it, but it was truly exceptional at Orlando Health. I do not want to sound negative in any way about Moffitt nor Mayo as we have heard good things about both facilities. I am just relaying our experience with Orlando Health whom we had no knowledge of prior to this experience. It is 65 minutes from our door to theirs, and there were zero traffic issues as it just a few minutes off the highway and the parking garage is huge (and free for patients and visitors). We were truly blessed with this early diagnosis, and a fantastic team of thoracic surgeons led by Dr. Herrera. I highly recommend Orlando Health and the UF Health Cancer Center (for all cancers). Hopefully you will never need them but just in case you do.
So happy to hear that things went well. I know a few of the docs at OrlandoHealth - excellent docs. Blessings to your wife, you and your family for a complete recovery.
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  #8  
Old 01-29-2015, 08:51 PM
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Quote:
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Yes the nodule was confirmed to be cancerous but all lymph nodes and margins were negative for cancer.
It is great to see these results on lymph nodes and margins.

It's also great to see how you both "did your homework" and then made your decision armed with all the knowledge you could acquire.

We all learn from your example. So happy she is well with so many reasons to smile.
  #9  
Old 01-29-2015, 08:56 PM
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Thank you so much for taking the time to write such a detailed report. It's very helpful for people to hear first hand experiences like this. The hospital I work in has definitely moved to the "the patient is our GUEST" mentality and they realize that patients have many choices available for their medical care and we need them to choose us! God bless you and your wife as you move forward.
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Old 01-29-2015, 09:03 PM
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Thank you so much for posting this, it is very informative and has a happy ending to boot!
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Old 01-29-2015, 09:05 PM
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Default Your wife & family will remain in my prayers

.............

Last edited by senior citizen; 05-26-2015 at 07:13 PM.
  #12  
Old 01-29-2015, 10:52 PM
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It's great to know that UF Health, which replaced M D Anderson in Orlando, was such a great resource for you!! Best wishes for continued good health!!
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  #13  
Old 01-30-2015, 05:08 AM
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Thank you for sharing such valuable information. All the best for you and yours.
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  #14  
Old 01-30-2015, 11:09 AM
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Thank you so much for taking the time to write this post. We never know when we will be faced with making a decision such as this.
So happy everything is good now.
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  #15  
Old 01-30-2015, 11:43 AM
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A big THANK YOU for posting! A good reminder that we have to be our own best health advocate.
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