Sunday, May 16, 2010

- Health Tip! Very Important!

Okay, so tonight I was thinking that I should really spread the news whenever I think of a health tip or whatever, because knowledge is power and knowledge can save lives, right?

So for the fourth time this past week, I heard yet another story about someone who eventually found out she had cancer long after she'd actually had her test. Why did it take so long for her to find out?

The answer is quite simple: oversight. Yep, medical error. We know it happens.

Here's what happened with two of the four people I've heard about over the past few years:

A man we know worked at a company & had his medical exam every year through them. The company doctor received results of all his tests & was responsible for relaying those results to our friend. 

What nobody realized, though, was that the doctor had begun to develop Alzheimers and was not thinking clearly; therefore, every year the doctor took the results of our friend's prostate exam and stuck them in his filing cabinet.

FIVE YEARS LATER, the company realized their doctor was not well & replaced him with another doctor. When the new doctor saw our friend's latest prostate results, he flipped! 

Summoning him to the office, he asked him why he had never been treated for his prostate cancer, which was by now at STAGE FOUR!! (the worst & often final stage of cancer). 

Can you believe it? The company acted quickly & sent our friend to one of the best facilities for cancer treatment in New York City. Amazingly, he completely recovered. I'm not kidding about this story - it really happened. It's bizarre, but true. 

And if our friend had insisted on receiving copies of all his test results, it would have never happened.


Another friend of ours, a man we'll call Bill, went for a routine colonoscopy and was told, as is often the case, that he would be contacted if anything was abnormal. He never heard back from his doctor & assumed all was well. 

Three years later, he went again for an appointment with another doctor who happened to have copies of all his files. Once again, this doctor inquired why there was no record of our friend's treatment for his colon cancer! "What colon cancer??" our puzzled friend asked. 

Further tests showed Bill had a growth that was by now the size of a grapefruit in his colon! Sheesh! He'd amazingly had no symptoms to warn him, and when he went back to ask his doctor of three years previous, she insisted she'd never received the results of that initial test. 

Another happy ending, fortunately, as the tumor was removed soon afterwards and had not spread. Today, our friend is healthy & much wiser as to how to deal with the medical system.


And the moral of these stories is  to never assume that because the doctor's office doesn't call you, it means all is well. Always call to ask specifically about your exam results. 

To be doubly sure, ask the secretary to make you a copy of the test results, and then go pick them up so you can see for yourself! If they tell you over the phone that all is well, how do you know it's your test results they're reading to you? Mistakes happen!

Ah, in a perfect world, doctors, nurses and lab techs would be rested, alert, and have plenty of time to liason with patients every step of the way. But in the real world . . . !!! 


Well, in other news, I'll be seeing my Oncologist, the one & only Dr. Victor Cohen, tomorrow. He's the one who told me he gets a headache whenever he thinks about me. I'm sure he's not the only one. Ha! 

Anyways, my Taxol / Herceptin chemo is finished as of last Monday, and now we just have to decide if we're going to do those two rounds of AC chemo that I never finished back in January due to the vasculitis I developed - remember, those big red splotches on my legs that came out exactly 3 weeks after each AC chemo? 

Well, Dr. Cohen is nervous about not having me do them, so I'll probably go for it. Then, after those two rounds are finished, I'll get a month off, and then I'll start 28 sessions of daily radiation (every weekday). Sounds like a lot, eh? But actually, just about everybody I've spoken to who gets radiation has around 28 sessions - so it's a pretty standard treatment. 

I've heard varying reports on whether or not radiation makes you tired - some say yes, it did; others say they felt fine. Whatever! It's gonna be during the summer, so if I'm tired, I'll lie in the sun. Or the shade.

And that's about all from me! I'm not quite as perky these past few weeks - the fatigue & isolation from being home so much have really done a number on me, so I'm glad I'm about to be leaving chemo-land.

Blessings to you, and have a great week! Don't forget about my Concert Of Hope, coming up Saturday evening, June 5th, 2010 in Pierrefonds, Quebec, Canada. It's gonna be funnnnn!!!  

Plus I'll have a band with me! The producer of my CD "You Say", Stephen Mullin, will be playing along on keyboards & guitar, Gerry Morin of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra will be playing cello, Rob Adams is doing percussion, and Sally Richmond will be on flute & recorder. 

And the best part is . . . this concert is helping raise funds for the Canadian Cancer Society's West Island Relay For Life! So it's for a great cause!

To get details for the Concert Of Hope and order your tickets in advance online, click here:

See yaaaa!!!

1 comment:

  1. Hello Darling,
    i am just dropping by to say hello, as i've not done so in awhile, and wanted you to know i'm still thinking of you and hoping that all goes well with you.