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Reflections From My First Visits To Moffitt Cancer Center In Tampa, Florida

Posted on February 12 2010 by Pat Killingsworth | 1,108 views

After you have been a Mayo Clinic patient, it is tough for anywhere else to measure-up!  Some may not agree with their treatment philosophies–or may feel uncomfortable with the sheer size of the place–especially at the original location in Rochester, Minnesota.  But few can dispute all three of the Mayo clinics are organized and elegant.  Yes, elegant.  Donated artwork line the halls.  The service is impeccable–what you would expect from a four or five star hotel, not a hospital.  Still, Mayo isn’t perfect.  Spend as much time at any institution as I have, and you will begin to see the warts and flaws.

It is from this frame of reference that I share my thoughts about Moffit Cancer Center.  My wife, Pattie, and I were surprised to find free valet-only-parking as we arrived last Thursday.  Mayo didn’t have that!  Like Mayo, the entry is grand–all made of glass and five or more stories high. The staff did not seem as well trained as at Mayo, but most were friendly and personable.  Everything is a short walk and easily accessible.  The facilities at Moffitt seem fine.  But what impressed me were the patients!  More than one patient took the time to smile and say hello.  Several raved about their care–especially in and around the transplant department. My appointment last week was with Dr. Melissa Alsina, the head of Moffitt’s multiple myeloma program and an Associate Member of Moffitt’s Department of Blood & Marrow Transplantation.  She is also an Associate Professor of Oncologic Sciences at the University of South Florida–the USF campus adjoins Moffitt.  Dr. Alsina came recommended by several blog readers who live in the greater Tampa area.  Thanks to my new career as a medical writer, I am in the envious (?) position of having access to the best and brightest myeloma docs on the planet.  Dr. Alsina does some regional speaking, and my impression is she can certainly hold her own. But most important to me were her SCT credentials.  It is becoming clear to me that a stem cell transplant may be in my near term future.  Plus, I have had great luck using SCT specialists as my myeloma doc in the past–Dr. Suzanne Hayman, my Mayo Doc, holds a similar position as department head for transplants with Mayo Clinic in Rochester–and she is GREAT!

As often happens, I have gotten long-winded and carried away with my writing–and I’m running out of time.  I will continue to share the details of my Moffitt visits over the last two weeks with you this weekend.
Feel good and keep smiling!  Pat

6 Comments For This Post

  1. B.J. Says:

    Pat – Glad to see Moffitt is working out for you. But a question: are you implying that those of us who don't claim to be "medical writers" do not have equally good access to the "best and brightest myeloma docs on the planet"? In other words, are those of us who don't claim to be medical writers at some disadvantage, because we don't blog or otherwise publish, as you do?
    Continued stability to you. If, and when, the time for an ASCT arrives, I wish you good look and great success.
    BJD

  2. Pat Killingsworth Says:

    Hi B.J.-
    Interesting you would interpret my statement "Thanks to my new career as a medical writer, I am in the envious (?) position of having access to the best and brightest myeloma docs on the planet." that way. Of course a patient doesn't need to be a medical writer to get great care! The advantage I have is, during the course of my work, I get to meet and ask questions of so many different myeloma and cancer experts–then I immediately share that information with all of you! Similarly, all of my research and interaction with other patients–all of the reading I do on the subject each and every day–well, I guess that does give me an advantage over the average patient. Primarily because I know which questions to ask. It also helps me prioritize my medical care. Any patient, rich, poor, black or white has access to all of the information I do. They just need to be persistant and–like I just wrote–need to learn which questions to ask. I believe that is the key–becoming an enlightened patient. Great, great question! Hope my answer is half as good- Pat

  3. Bob OC Says:

    I'm looking forward to your views on Moffitt, Pat. Thanks, as always, for sharing. Happy Valentine's Day to you and your wife!

    – Bob O'C

  4. Pat Killingsworth Says:

    Thanks, Bob! I understand your sister may be considering using Moffitt in the future. Glad to help- Pat

  5. patch Says:

    Hi Guys. Is this a club anyone can join? (as if anyone would want to…) but my husband is newly diagnosed and responding to Valcade so far. But we are still absorbing things and trying to make good decisions. We are at UF not Moffit for now because it makes sense logistically right now. That may change if needed though. This is really a rollercoaster ride though isn't it.

  6. Pat and Pattie Killingsworth Says:

    Anyone can join! Hope you are following my more current stuff… I post an article everyday. Email me with specific questions anytime:

    [email protected]

    Good luck! Pat

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