Expect the Unexpected When Receiving Second Opinions
Second opinions are a welcome hope! I received one for the first time this week, and the experience left me questioning my decision.
Earlier this year, my primary pulmonologist and I agreed that I should seek a second opinion on my lung health. Pulmonary sarcoidosis is a very tricky condition. I can tell you from firsthand experience not to underestimate breathing and lung health. You really don’t want to be reminded of their importance.
I reached out to Penn Medicine’s Harron Lung Center. The center is well-known, so hopefully it can help me on my journey.
When I arrived for my initial consultation, the facility looked like a high-tech campus. I was impressed, to say the least. I made my way to the lung center thinking all sorts of things. I was trying not to get excited and overwhelmed before meeting the doctor. My breathing became a little labored, but I attributed that to nerves. It’s not easy trying to calm yourself down when you’re unsure what you’re anticipating.
Just go with the flow
My consultation was with a lung transplant doctor. I’d be lying to say I wasn’t terrified going into this meeting. It seemed like the longer I waited for the doctor, the more nervous I became. Time wasn’t on my side.
I met with one of the coordinators and everything went well. She reviewed my medical records and we went over a lot of my medical history, sort of filling in the blanks.
After I met with her, I finally met with the doctor. She seemed very pleasant. She asked a few questions, and then went into detail about the transplant program. During our meeting, I couldn’t help but to pay attention to her demeanor. I thought maybe I was overly nervous about meeting a new doctor at a new facility. I didn’t feel as relaxed as I normally am.
The doctor reviewed my medical history from the past three years and mentioned a few tests I would probably have to take. I told her I had already done the tests she mentioned at the beginning of the year. As she reviewed those tests further, she said I would probably have to repeat all of them. My heart started racing because I kept thinking about the 50-plus blood tests I did in January. I wondered, “Was this a good idea?”
As we continued to chat, I managed to make her laugh a bit. Believe it or not, that small reaction relieved a lot of the tension I was feeling. When I meet with my other doctors, I make a point to joke with them or to make them laugh. By nature, I love to make people laugh. It helps in whatever situations I’m facing.
My doctors’ appointments are more like short social meetings with old friends. I’ve developed pretty cool relationships with them. I share my homebrew with one of my pulmonologists and one of my respiratory therapists. The therapist has now started homebrewing.
The lung transplant doctor and I finished up, and I was ready to go. Overall, it wasn’t a bad meeting. It all came down to wanting to get a second opinion but not knowing what to expect. I can add this adventure to my list of life experiences.
Growing up, my brother and I would always prank each other. The victim would declare in defeat, “Expect the unexpected.“
I didn’t know what to expect that day, but I didn’t expect to have an advantage. I’m now in the care of two recognized lung centers. I can only believe that things will get better for me. I will meet with my pulmonologist this week and tell him how my initial visit went. Although the whole process scares me, it’s time to put fear back in its place. Expect the unexpected … expect to be better.
Note: Sarcoidosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Sarcoidosis News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to sarcoidosis.