Always get a second opinion

Tuesday 30 June, 2009 by fashionfinder007

Hello, I've been wanting to share my story for sometime now and with the recent death of Farah Fawcet it motivated me to finally tell my story.

Back in early summer of 1999 I noticed some blood in my stool. When it didn't go away after a few weeks I went to my doctor and he suggested a sigmoid scope but really thought it most likely was not a serious issue.

Thursday before 4th of July weekend I went for the sigmoid scope. It was not a pleasant experience! All of a sudden the room got quiet. After he finished the nurse told me to go into his office. He had the most serious look on his face. He had found a tumour the size of a golf ball in my descending colon. He said it needed to come out right away.

I then asked if there was a chance it could be cancer and he said yes. My world stopped. He told me to come back on Tuesday for an entire colonoscopy and he would have the results of the biopsy by then. You can only imagine my 4th of July weekend!

When I left his office that day he sent me up to get a chest x-ray. Nobody in my family had ever had cancer but somehow I knew he was checking my lungs to see if the cancer had spread. When I put that together I just about collapsed as I was by myself.

Well it turned out to be stage 2b and the cancer had penetrated my colon wall but was not in my lymph nodes. My surgery was on July 14, which was my 4th wedding anniversary.

It was not an easy surgery but I got thru it. The surgeons said they got it but recommended I follow through with chemo/radiation. So I did and went right into menopause after the first chemo round at the age of 39.

I had the worst hot flushes, etc. I got thru 6 months of treatment and I was cancer free. On a routine chest x-ray in march of 2002 they found a nodule on my lung. I was living in beautiful Hawaii at the time. My family urged me to come home and get a second opinion. Thank god I did.

This other oncologist said it was indeed operable. I had that surgery at the Cleveland clinic and it was no picnic. Very painful. This was in December of 2002. I returned to Hawaii a month later. Two months later I had a CT scan only to find 2 more tumours had popped up in the same area.

Needless to say I thought I was on my way out. I asked how much time I had and they said, on average, 6 months to 2 years. At the time I had been going to a support group called "here we go again". I was advised to go get another second opinion once again!

I went outside my health plan to a doc who had been recommended by someone in the group. This doctor after seeing my CT films said "this is operable"! He said he knew my oncologist and he would call him. I did like my oncologist but I had learned how important a second opinion is. My oncologist agreed - go figure!!!

I then met with the surgeon. This time I remained in Hawaii. The doctor did a wonderful job and managed my pain much better than the initial lung surgery. That was may 5, 2004.

I have been cancer free since then! Needless to say it was quite an emotional time.

My motto is always get a second opinion! Aloha!

Updated: 30 Jun, 2009