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Personal or Family Health Scare? Why You Should Always Get a Second Opinion

A few years ago, when I was just a junior in college, my family went through one of the scariest times in our lives. My mother noticed a lump in her breast, and we encouraged her to go to her doctor to get it checked out. After meeting with her doctor, he recommended a specialist for her to see. It was a frightening experience to accompany both my mom and my dad to meet with the oncologist we were referred to. This was a doctor who was local to us, and was trusted by many in our community.

As we met with the doctor, we were looking at x-rays, and talking about the fact that my mom, in her mid-forties at the time, did in fact have breast cancer. Cancer sounds terrifying, and for those who are dealing with it, well- it is terrifying. I knew that I needed to be strong for my mom, my dad, and my younger sister- which is why I insisted on being present for every appointment possible. 

The doctor seemed pretty laid back about the situation, and insisted that nothing needed to happen immediately, and surgery wasn't out of the question, but it might not be necessary. We were sent home with a 'wait and see' approach from the doctor.

After talking with friends and family in the community, my mom was urged to get a second opinion. That's exactly what we did- and we went to one of the best hospitals in the country (located about an hour and a half to two hours north of where we live.). The oncologist we met with was very frank, and honest, which in a situation like this, is what a patient needs. My mother did have breast cancer, and it though it was detected early, it was still nothing to mess around with or to put on hold, as the other doctor suggested. When we were shown the advanced x-ray, there were spots everywhere, which led the doctor to pretty much insist on my mom needing a mastectomy, and for both myself and my sister to go through genetic testing.

The medical team that assisted us through this ordeal (which dragged on for more than a year) and put my mother through a mastectomy, plus lumpectomy, a second mastectomy (of the other breast), and reconstructive surgery, saved my mother's life. If we hadn't received that second opinion, we may have ended up needing to contact Medical solicitors to help our family with legal advice over medical negligence, because who knows what the other oncologist might have insisted on?

We were very lucky to have reliable family and friends encourage that second opinion. My beautiful mother has experienced the joy of both of her daughters getting married to wonderful guys, and and becoming a grandmother. With the continued guidance of her wonderful doctors, we know she'll be with us for a long time.

Have you or someone you love ever gone through a serious health scare?

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1 comment

  1. My mother had breast cancer when I was in high school. I wasn't old enough to know if she got a second opinion or not, but I do know that she was so scared that she waited too long before she finally went to the doctor. As a mom and wife, I know it is so important to take care of myself so that I can be around for my children. I also had genetic testing done and do not carry the cancer gene that my mother may have carried. If you are reading this and even think you may have a lump or soreness in your chest that is not normal, see a doctor about it no mater how much you'd rather tell yourself that it is all in your head.

    Bobbie Anne


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