Patient Perspectives

Interview conducted by: Jacob Underwood, MS4
Special thanks to Dr. Van Meter

Patient perspectives is a series of interviews conducted by medical student members of the patient and family centered care committee of the SIR medical student council. The goal of these interviews is to inform the reader of patient’s experiences as they undergo various IR procedures. We hope that these interviews shed light on the effects that IR physicians and the procedures they perform can have on patient’s lives. We also hope that they answer the questions that some patients and patient’s families may have regarding a potential IR procedure. All personal health information has been removed from the below interview to ensure the anonymity of the interviewed patient.

What procedure did you have done?
I had Y90.

Had you ever been treated by an interventional radiologist before?
Never. I had not heard of interventional radiology before.

How did you end up with the interventional radiologist?
Well, I was diagnosed with stage IV rectal cancer and saw a liver surgeon because some imaging I had done indicated some lesions in my liver. On the occasion of my first visit with him he mentioned a treatment called Y90 and he thought I might be a good candidate for it. This surgeon and my oncologist discussed my situation at a meeting with a whole bunch of doctors, including an interventional radiologist. Together they decided Y90 was the best option for me at that time and so that’s how I ended up with the interventional radiologist.

What is your understanding of what an interventional radiologist does?
Well, I know how Y90 works. My only other experience with interventional radiology was recently with a family member who had what they call an “ablation” for a tumor they had.

How did this change from before your procedure to after?
I hadn’t heard of interventional radiology or Y90 before so this introduced me to that.

How did your medical condition impact your quality of life prior to the procedure?
My condition was pretty poor. I really wasn’t doing very well. My understanding is that the reason I wasn’t feeling so well was because my liver function was being affected by the cancer.

Prior to your procedure, did your doctor give you an explanation of the procedure in a manner that was easy to understand?
Yes, absolutely. We talked at length about how the procedure works and what it does. He also gave me a package of information that had all the details as well.

Did you have any concerns going into your procedure?
I did have some concerns before my first visit with the doctor. After that visit, all my concerns were addressed and I had none going into the procedure.

What was it like being in the IR suite as a patient?
I only remember the mapping procedure. During the actual treatments I had for each lobe of the liver I was out pretty good. From what I remember there was a lot of equipment in the room and a lot of support staff working. It was a little bit intimidating but I really felt completely safe.

What was recovery like?
I had no trouble at all. I know some people do but for me there was no trouble. I didn’t have any side effects, I did really well. I maybe felt a little weaker initially but by the second day after the procedure I felt back to normal.

Did you follow up with your interventional radiologist after the procedure?
Yes.

For how long did you follow-up with your interventional radiologist? How many times did you see them?
For a couple of months for the treatments and then over the phone afterwards.

Was the patient-physician relationship different than what you are used to? If so, how?
It was really different. That’s not so much a reflection on the doctor but I usually have some idea of what to expect with other specialists and this time I had never really heard of the specialty or procedure so it was all very new.

Are you happy with the care you received from your interventional radiologist? Is there anything you wish went differently?
Yes, very happy. They were very responsive to my needs. I’ve followed up with him and his office many times since the procedure. I always get my questions answered right away. There was not really anything I wish had gone differently.

How did your quality of life change as a result of the procedure?
Well I was just talking about this with my oncologist yesterday. For one, all of my liver lesions have shrunken considerably on the follow up imaging I’ve had. Also the issues I’ve had with my bowel function have returned to a very normal level which has really improved my quality of life.

Do you have any other thoughts about your experience?
Only one thought and that is that anyone considering whether or not to get Y90 should just go ahead and do it. Take some time to learn about the procedure because it’s a lot less scary when you know more.

Thank you for the opportunity to share my experience.

The SIR medical student council would like to thank the above patient for their time and for sharing their experience.