Tuesday, September 29, 2015

A Second Opinion

                              There is a compelling reason for writing this post.  Let me tell you the scenario. 

A few months ago a friend returned from a trip to Africa with a cough and a few other minor ailments.  She also had a lump near her mouth.  She went to the dentist, here in Mexico, and the dentist removed the lump and sent it for a biopsy and report. There is more to this part of the story but I don't remember all the details.

The next part of this saga is all too common.   It came back saying she had lymphoma, stage 4 and that it was in her lymph nodes and her body.  Chemo needed to start immediately.  Of course, all this did not happen at one appointment but continued for several weeks until this was determined.

My friend is a Canadian but felt that it would take way too long to get an appointment for treatment in Canada and so was prepared for chemo here in Mexico.

At a party she and her husband were having for her brother's birthday, I expressed, vociferously, that they should go to Canada and if necessary call for an ambulance and be presented to the emergency room and they would have to take her.  You might laugh or be appalled at this suggestion, but when it is life or death, you do what you have to do.  I have, in the past, done this with my daughter.

She did not do that, but did contact her doctor in Canada with all the details.  Thankfully, somehow, they were able to get into an oncologist. 

Much to my friend's dismay, although she had brought all the test results and reports from Mexico, the doctor's in Canada wanted to rerun the tests.  Of course, now time had elapsed and the concern of my friend and her husband was the angst and worry and wanting to get on with the chemo.

The tests were done.  The results came back.  Believe it or not, my friend did NOT have cancer but did have mononucleosis.  Now this is rare in someone over 70, I'm told.   This news was relayed to us from
Canada by email.  We were all ecstatic, shocked and dismayed. 

Ecstatic that my friend can rest and recuperate.  It is a diagnosis that does not come without serious concerns but at least it is not cancer.  Shock at the previous diagnosis.  And, yes, this does happen.  More frequently then one would believe.  And dismay, that this saga had gone on so long with all kinds of sadness, panic and distress.  Not to mention the monetary expense.

It was my intention to write this blog when it was first emailed that my friend did not have cancer.  What if the doctors in Canada had not redone the tests?  Oh my.

It is a clear lesson that one should not rush into treatment for just about anything without getting a second opinion, and if necessary a third, to make sure that the future course of action is correct.

To all my friends who read this, PLEASE remember this if you are ever in this position.  My only other suggestion is to always get to the best facility, somehow and don't give up until you get there.  All things are possible.

Hopefully none of us will ever be faced with this dilemma, but it seemed a word to the wise was in order.


Retired Teacher said...

I am so glad to hear that your friend is cancer-free, but it's terrible that she had to go through so much agonizing worry. Your post struck a nerve since a very dear friend of mine was just diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. Unfortunately, in her case there isn't much chance that there was a misdiagnosis. She has a history of cancer, and the tumor that was recently removed was identified as the same kind of cancer that she had previously.

Babs said...

Oh dear, I'm so so sorry to hear that Bill. I'm sending positive energy and white light to your friend in the hopes it will give her strength. Yes, it was terrible that my friend and her husband went through such agony........
If this post saves one person from never going through that, then it will be well worth it~!

Calypso said...

A second opinion (or more) is mandatory when it is such an impacting notice. Very happy for your friend.

Marilyn Krichman said...

I'm sure all of us who live here in SMA would like to know which dentist made the improper diagnosis...or which lab.

Babs said...

Marilyn, I have no idea, but if I did know I would not share that information. No one makes mistakes on purpose. I will say the lab was in Mexico City and actually it would be the radiologist who would have read the tests and given the diagnosis in Mexico City...........

Believe it or not, misdiagnosises at the most prestigious facilities in the USA do happen.....I have personally experience it with myself and my daughter. Life threatening ones at that.

hearob said...

The diagnosis would have come from a Pathologist - as it was made from a tissue sample. Not a radiologist!

Babs said...

Thanks hearob for that information. I was trying to think of the procedure in that situation. Your help is greatly appreciated.

Michael Dickson said...

I suppose that the diagnosis here in Mexico left the realm of the dentist quickly and a specialist entered the equation, a "real doctor." I find it interesting that the Canadian diagnosis is automatically assumed to be the correct one and the Mexican one is assumed to be the error. Why could it not be just the opposite? The Canadian diagnosis is wrong. The Mexican diagnosis is correct.

What we have here are two contradictory results, and unless you did not include all information, the only way to feel more certain of the true problem would be a third medical opinion elsewhere. Right now, it's a clear draw.

Babs said...

Thanks for your comment and perspective. The couple have gotten a third opinion and another battery of tests. The tests concurred with the second opinion and she is being treated and observed in Canada.