Patient Perspectives

Interview conducted by: Brennan Day
Special thanks to Dr. Sean Biggs

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 have had two TACEs.

Had you ever been treated by an interventional radiologist before?
Not before the TACE procedures. I have had had scans before this by radiologists, but they had never done any procedures on me.

How did you end up with the interventional radiologist?
My regular doctor sent me to a surgical oncologist at the cancer center. The surgical oncologist then referred me to Dr. Biggs for the TACE.

What is your understanding of what an interventional radiologist does?
I know radiologists are able to see inside your body in special ways using x-rays, and find out what is really going on. I know interventional radiology does the TACE, but other than that I am not really sure what else they do.

How did this change from before your procedure to after?
Before the procedure I didn’t know that there were radiologists that did procedures. I had no idea about TACE. Now I know there are some radiologists that can do these types of things.

How did your medical condition impact your quality of life prior to the procedure?

My liver disease really slowed me down. I work in maintenance, and my liver made it difficult. My stomach felt like it hurt, my legs felt slow, and it was really hard to do my job. I always felt down.

Prior to your procedure, did your doctor give you an explanation of the procedure in a manner that was easy to understand?
When the doctor was showing me my CT scan before the TACE it was hard for me to follow because of how complicated things looked. The doctor did point out on the screen where the cancer was, and he used analogies when trying to tell me what he would be doing.

Did you have any concerns going into your procedure?
No I felt pretty comfortable with my Doctor, and he did a good job making sure I was ready for it. I am happy and proud that all the doctors were able to work together to get me the procedure.

What was it like being in the IR suite as a patient?
It was scary at first. Being in the room with all the equipment made me realize that my disease was pretty serious. I also thought they might find something bad during the procedure. But I knew I wanted to be healthier, and I wanted to live more. Once they got started everything was ok.

What was recovery like?
The procedure didn’t give me a lot of pain, but my liver has still been painful. After 2-3 months I felt like my liver has been getting a little better. My family doesn’t want me to be doing a ton since I’m sick, but my daughter says she thinks I am back to being busy. I always like to be doing something.

Did you follow up with your interventional radiologist after the procedure?
Yes, I saw him after both of my procedures.

For how long did you follow-up with your interventional radiologist? How many times did you see them?
Well I don’t really count how many times, but I have probably seen Dr. Biggs more than 5 times. He has done both of my TACES and sees me before and after each procedure.

Was the patient-physician relationship different than what you are used to? If so, how?
I have not really noticed a difference in the way they have treated me than other doctors. All my doctors have been good people.

Are you happy with the care you received from your interventional radiologist? Is there anything you wish went differently?
I have been happy with my care so far. I am so thankful for the things they are doing and for their time. I can’t think of anything else I would want done differently.

How did your quality of life change as a result of the procedure?
I feel like I am still weaker than I was before my liver cancer, but I am slowly getting my energy back. My pain is a little better than before, and my daughter thinks I am more active now.

Do you have any other thoughts about your experience?
No I think that’s it. Again, thank you to you guys.

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