Friday, January 25, 2008

Had I Followed My Gut...

I have decided it is necessary to share with you what led me to have the exam through which my cancerous tumor was discovered. When I first created this blog, I didn't mention my pre-diagnosis experience because I was too angry and felt it better to simply inform you of my current status and leave it at that.

Since that time, I have come to realize the importance of giving you the full story because of the difference it might make for you should you find yourself dealing with potentially serious health issues. Not all of the dates are necessarily exact, but they are relatively close and reflect my experience more than sufficiently.

In March of 2006, I was passing red blood on a regular basis. Nothing more than what shows up as a result of hemorrhoids. I didn't give it much thought. In June of 2006, with the encouragement of Daniela, I decided to see my doctor about it. He gave me a digital exam and determined I had hemorrhoids and recommended I increase my fiber intake. Feeling reassured, I did exactly that.

In September of 2006, I returned to my doctor because the bleeding had persisted and slightly increased. He again did a digital exam and again recommended more fiber - this time he recommended Metamucil. When I asked if there were any procedures I could do to remove the hemorrhoids and thus stop the bleeding, he recommended I avoid such procedures because they were awfully uncomfortable and worth avoiding if i could.

In November of 2006, I returned to my doctor because the bleeding had increased to the point that I would occasionally pass blood while passing gas. He again gave me a digital exam and again said to keep up with the fiber. And again he encouraged me to avoid hemorrhoid removal procedures because they were awfully uncomfortable.

In January of 2007, I returned to my doctor because the bleeding was at an all time high and I was actually having to manage the blood I was passing, i.e., I would pass gas and thus blood at random times throughout the day. I told my doctor I was referring to these hemmorhoids as "Old Faithful" because the bleeding was so constant and just about spraying out of me. He again recommended I avoid the hemorrhoid removal procedures and prescribed me an anti-inflammatory suppository.

In February of 2007, I made an appointment with a Physician's Assistant (because my doctor was not available that day) and requested a referral to a General Surgeon for an exam. The following week I was seen by a General Surgeon. He gave me a digital exam and immediately asked, "Do you have a history of cancer in your family?" He scheduled me for a colonoscopy two days later. My colonoscopy was on a Friday. On the following Monday, I was informed that I had Stage II Rectal Cancer.

I'm sure you may have wondered as you read this why I didn't do anything sooner. The reason is simple: I followed my doctor's recommendations and trusted that he knew best. He has been practicing for many years and at 36 years old, I was happy to follow his recommendation because I believed I was far too young to have any "real problems." Hindsight is indeed 20/20.

What did I learn from all of this? If I want to live a long and healthy life, I must be responsible for my own health care. Now let me clarify - not the only one responsible, but responsible in the sense that I view my doctor as a partner, not as the one who knows best. Prior to diagnosis, my relationship with my doctor was one where he is the authority who has been well-trained and I am best off following his directions. What I can see now that I didn't see then is that I was willing to sidestep my own intuition because I'm not a doctor. However, as you read, it was the action I took that had my cancer discovered - not following my doctor's orders.

I am not anti-doctor - I am grateful for doctors and believe they are very necessary. I am just no longer willing to blindly put my life in the hands of another person regardless of their training. My commitment is to get as much information from my doctor as possible. Then refer to credible outside sources and make my decision based on all the facts. Interesting word - "credible." In all that I read in the allopathic references, Gerson Therapy is far from credible. Thus research requires an ability to sift through what is referred to as true and false; it required Daniela and me to read between the lines of what was being printed. It is a time consuming process especially when the researcher must sift through information that is geared to financially benefit the group or groups that are presenting it.

A doctor's oversight resulted in my cancer growing unbeknownst to anyone for nine months - nine very unnecessary months. Had I listened to my gut, three months after that, I could have been diagnosed six months earlier. I hope your knowledge of my experience will inspire you to take on your health care with vigor if you do not already do so.


  1. Dude, after talking to you about this, I got pissed off about that Dr. Now seeing it in print, I get more angry. Most ducks quack, this quack should duck if I ever meet him.

    Maybe he had a fetish and was just enjoying sticking his finger in your tooshie? I can only wonder why anyone would tak a chance with someone's health like this to avoid a little "discomfort".

    Have you spoken with this doctor since you got the true diagnosis? What was his reaction? Maybe we should print up some flyers and hang them around his office. I wonder how many other times he has spared someone some temporary displeasure and put that person's life in peril.

    Dude, if you feel rage and need someone to blame, blame that worthless piece of crap who must have cheated on all his Medical Board examinations.

  2. Yes, these are wise words. Trusting professionals is an odd thing. "If only" serves as a lesson which we should learn from. Being able to not allow it to haunt us is yet another. And 6 months worth of "what if" has got to be maddening. That's one reason we want you to know we are here to cheer you on to beating this!
    I miss you guys! I bet Beau Bear is running around with a grin ear to ear. I'll come over soon. Love, Patty

  3. Reply to Madcup:

    Yeah. It's definitely a tough one to stomach...