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Treatment on Your Own Terms

 

Becky Brandon’s husband Craig was a patient at The Ghosh Center until his death last December. Becky shared the difference Dr. Ghosh and the team made in their lives.

You and your husband made a conscious choice to go to Dr. Ghosh. How did that come about?

My husband Craig was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer last spring. Because he was a patient at Mercy Medical Center, they assigned him to a Mercy oncologist. However, we knew we wanted to have some choice in the matter. So we chose Dr. Ghosh.

You first met him when he treated your mother, correct?

Yes, Dr. Ghosh treated my mother for cancer over 20 years ago. What stood out was that he treated her on her own terms. My mother tied his hands, so to speak. She had breast cancer, but was adamant that she didn’t want a mastectomy.

Dr. Ghosh told her that her best treatment would be chemotherapy, but she didn’t want to do chemo. She didn’t want to lose her hair. So he learned what was important to her and came up with other options.

Because the breast cancer had moved into the bone, my mother was in a great deal of pain. Dr. Ghosh presented her with a treatment plan that would give her “four-five more years and zero pain.” My mother agreed to do radiation, which helped to extend her life. Dr. Ghosh used tamoxifen, pain medications and exercise to manage her cancer and her symptoms. My mom got to the point where she only needed Advil®  and regular monitoring by the Ghosh staff.

Through it all, she was never bedridden. She got to do the things she wanted and live her life the way she chose.

Tell us about Craig’s experience with Dr. Ghosh.

The whole team treated us so well. Leesa provided us with a lot of nutritional guidance, which I appreciated because I was trying to cook healthy meals for Craig. Becki got him approved for a special medication just in case he needed it. The day Craig died, Dr. Ghosh and Mindy came out to our house. Dr. Ghosh helped get him from the bathroom to his bed in the sunroom and then got on the phone with hospice to push them to come out after hours. Everyone gave 100%.

You mentioned that Dr. Ghosh took care of your husband on Craig’s own terms. Can you give us an example?

Craig and I are Jehovah’s Witnesses, so we don’t do transfusions or take blood products, like platelets. At one point, Craig’s platelet count dropped to dangerously low levels, which meant he wasn’t going to be able to continue with chemo unless we could raise the level.

Dr. Ghosh respected the fact that Craig couldn’t accept blood products. He told us of another way –
a shot that can raise platelet counts, but is very expensive and not covered by Medicare or other supplemental insurance. Becki even tried to submit it, but the coverage was rejected. Craig and I talked, and we decided to go ahead and pay for it ourselves.

A while later, we learned that The Ghosh Center had found a way to get us reimbursed. We had no idea they were doing this. They were working behind the scenes to help us get our money back.

I know Craig wouldn’t have lived as long as he did with a different doctor in a different place. Dr. Ghosh did everything he could and respected our wishes. That means a lot to me.

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