The financial hole for patients begins on the first day of diagnosis Print
Written by Wendy A. Rhoades, MD | KevinMD   
Friday, 28 February 2020 17:42

I pushed open the door with a huge smile on my face while my eyes searched the room for the chubby toddler that was my patient. One sweep across the roomful of siblings, and my eyes stopped on the child crinkling the paper on the examination table. I could see the long, smooth scar poking out from beneath the hemline of her skirt.

She smiled and waved at me with a skinny, little arm. It had only been three months since I had seen her - not nearly enough time to lose all that toddler chubbiness. My mind rewound instantly; I had reviewed her scans the day before finding no signs of tumor recurrence. 

I began to chat with her mother and father about her health and did a complete review of symptoms. I was searching for a sign - any sign that would tell me that I had missed a relapse to explain the obvious weight loss. Childhood cancer relapses can sometimes unexpectedly sneak up like that, and I was inwardly panicking that this was the case. 

After a complete review of symptoms and full physical exam, I was reassured that I had not missed anything. I paused and opened up her growth chart. There it was: the little, black dot staring back at me. It had plummeted off of a previously solid trajectory of expected weight gain for a child her age that we had maintained through months of grueling chemotherapy and surgery.

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Last Updated on Monday, 06 April 2020 17:02