One of the first things I did when I moved to Houston in late 2016 was contact MD Anderson. I’ve been in remission from colorectal cancer since 2015, but I wanted to go to the best in the business for my follow-ups. And MD Anderson is considered the nation’s premiere cancer center.
Here are my four favorite things about it.
1. MyChart accessibility
I handled a lot of my business over the phone while I was still in treatment for colorectal cancer. But now that I’m done with it, I want to be able to access the things I need electronically. MyChart, MD Anderson’s secure patient portal, allows me to do that.
MyChart is an amazing tool, because I don’t have to guess at what’s going on. I can see my upcoming appointments at a glance, send a note to my care team or even request a prescription refill. And other types of information — such as test results or billing summaries — are all right there at my fingertips. So, I can still feel connected without actually having to be on MD Anderson’s campus.
2. Warm and efficient people running the Colorectal Center
I’ve had six follow-up appointments with Dr. Bryan Kee at MD Anderson since moving to Houston. They’ve all gone smoothly. The Colorectal Center runs like a well-oiled machine, and yet it doesn’t seem cold. Everyone is really good at what they do, so they’re very efficient, but still warm and personable. I’ve never once felt like a number instead of a person.
Dr. Kee’s nurse, Ralph Alcid, has also been extremely responsive. Clinical staff have a 72-hour window in which to respond to non-urgent questions through MyChart, but I have yet to wait three days to hear back from him. It’s usually within the hour, but it’s never been more than half a day. And that’s reassuring when you’re trying to follow up or get information.
3. Educational resources
Because some of my intestines were removed surgically as part of my cancer treatment, anything I eat now gets digested much more quickly. Dr. Kee gave me some really helpful information on how to manage that with over-the-counter medications, as well as the importance of maintaining my health through good nutrition.
He’s also been good about directing me to additional resources, so I can educate myself whenever I want to learn more about a particular topic. Having access to that kind of information is really helpful. It empowers me to live my best life, even when I’m not focused on cancer.
4. A focus on one goal: ending cancer
I think the biggest difference between MD Anderson and the hospital where I was treated is the atmosphere. People come from all over the world — not just Houston — to be treated at MD Anderson. To me, that’s proof of its global reputation. The place where I went for treatment served mostly people from Oklahoma.
It’s also encouraging to know that MD Anderson is focused exclusively on cancer, so everybody there is working toward the same goal. Every time I walk through its doors, the doctors are attentive and the staff is knowledgeable. And they’re all so hopeful! I find that very reassuring.