Walk the halls at Johns Hopkins and every patient has a DIFFERENT story but in all the time I have spent there battling Leukemia as an inpatient and now as an out-patient I have noticed… they all have ONE common denominator. They never got a second opinion when their local doctor said “You don’t have cancer” or “We got it all.”
This week was no different. My friend Jo-Ann and I met yet another person, this time a caregiver, who had a similar story about her husband.
I’m sharing these stories in hopes of saving lives. I’m not trying to be depressing. After what I saw in my one year battle including a lot of loss… I made a promise that if I was so blessed to survive then I would make it my mission to make others can LIVE too!
First, before her story… let me remind you. It happened to me twice when I went to not one but two oncologists in Austin Texas. I was told to go home and “not to worry. You are just rundown.” A fertility doctor during an IVF transfer procedure so we could have a 2nd baby found my cancer. I was rushed to Johns Hopkins with AML Leukemia. A fast moving cancer.” Thank GOD I wanted a second baby and had that blood test or I probably wouldn’t be here today to write this story.
The sweet girl we met broke down in tears as she explained how what was once thought to be a “small” area with melanoma in her husband’s ankle has now spread to his brain. She told us that last year her husband had some melanoma removed from his ankle area. His doctor told him, “We got it all!” Then months later he had some in his leg removed. They said “Go live your life. We got it all.” He went back and told the doctor that there were bumps in his legs. Two doctors in Maryland dismissed his concerns and told him “it is just scar tissue. You don’t need to do anything. You are fine. DO NOT WORRY.” Well he should have worried. His wife told us that 6 months later he didn’t feel well. They finally decided they needed to go get him checked out by at a world renowned treatment center like Johns Hopkins and they found out that “scar tissue” was actually CANCER. It was spreading fast and spreading to his brain. On the day we met her she sobbed and said “he has 2 weeks to 2 months to live.”
She was taking him home with hospice care.
My heart still aches. What if that man’s local doctor would have checked out his claims? His wife said that a PET Scan would have caught it if his local doctor took action.
Please I beg you – Don’t sit there and “celebrate” when the doctor tells you it is “nothing.” Sure it’s great to enjoy the hearing that it is nothing and go about your life. After all, that’s what you want to hear but don’t stop there just because you like the answer. Go get a second opinion- preferably at a top level hospital with a specialist. It could save your life.
Don’t forget to #ArmorUp for LIFE!
That includes being proactive in these situations and take care of your health.