It can happen to you!
I haven’t written in a while, but I have been quite distracted and occupied. I debated whether to share my personal experience or not, but decided that if one person was helped it was worth it.
I have been in the healthcare field for more than 45 years. I have always been the provider, on the other side of the desk. Recently I have found myself on the other side of the desk. It was an eyeopener, to say the least. A very humbling experience.
I have always practiced what I preached, taking good care of myself and making certain that I did all the preventive health screening as directed. I know my body well. Two years ago I noticed a little lump in my breast, nothing big, no pain, but not right. My GYN doctor, whom I have been going to for decades, didn’t think much of it. Mammogram was normal. So, we watched it. Well, let’s say, I watched it! The following year I felt that it had gotten a little bigger. She felt it this time and agreed that it was there, and ordered a 3D mammogram as well as an ultrasound. Again, normal findings. Probably just a cyst. Another year goes by and this time the size had doubled again of this lump and slightly painful. She acknowledged the increase in size and again ordered a repeat 3D mammogram and ultrasound. This time she requested that I have the tests done at another location with a highly expert radiologist. Tests again showed nothing. But, this time the radiologist came in to speak with me. He reiterated that there was no change in the x-rays compared to the others. I insisted that he examine the lump. “Whoa, there is something there.” Come back in two days for a biopsy. The biopsy came back positive for cancer.
So, it is now a whirlwind of events, seeing a breast surgeon, having the surgery, and given appointments with an oncologist and radiologist. A lot of things to digest in a short period of time and decisions to make about treatment.
There are three key points that I want to stress to you:
1. Know your body. Know what is right and what is not right. Each person is different.
2. Be assertive if you know something is not right and needs to be evaluated further.
3. Realize that lab tests and radiology tests are not 100% accurate; there is an error rate. Healthcare providers rely on these tests to help manage your care. But, the importance of your history and your physical examination can’t be understated. It all works together.
My life has been turned upside down. From now on, my perspective on life has changed. There is more of an urgency to do what is on my bucket list. There is also more appreciation for the family and friends that I have. It’s kind of a life reset, which isn’t all bad.
Will share with you things that I learn along the way.
Stay well; Stay healthy, Stay focused.