A year ago I was on crutches for almost three months. The doctor had told me that my ankle was broken. So I did what I had to do to let it heal. The problem is, it never healed.
Well it turns out my ankle was probably never really broken. After a second opinion it was determined that a tumor had been chomping on my ankle bone (these are NOT medical terms).
That doctor sent me to another doctor that removed it as it was making its way to other parts of my ankle and foot.
They tested it and figured out that less than 1% of the population will ever get my type of tumor. But they couldn’t figure out if it was malignant or not (I was hoping for NOT!). They couldn’t even find a name for it even after presenting it at Tumor Boards at Hartford Hospital and UCONN (I suggested calling it the Ron Goralski Tumor… “Umm Sir, don’t panic, it’s not Lou Gehrig’s disease, but we think you have Ron Goralski’s Tumor.” How cool would that have been?).
So finally they flew my unnamed tumor to a lab in Florida (they didn’t allow me to accompany it on the trip nor did it accumulate frequent flier miles), still no answer.
Then they flew it to Harvard (yes HARVARD, we are so proud of it). I have four children that are eighteen years of age or older and I’ll bet that three of them couldn’t even tell you what state Harvard is in… but my tumor got there.
Well… one of the leading tumor docs in the world figured out what it was something with a long name and impossible for me to pronounce or spell and said, “Nope, not cancerous.” And we all did a happy dance around the living room except I couldn’t jump because my ankle is full of some kind of bone cement to hold it together because some doctor thought it was broken for three months (did I already mention that?) and the bone is now as thin as an eggshell.
So although the tumor can come back and eat my ankle some more, the situation is being monitored closely and I am just very thankful that it all turned out as it did.
The lesson here is that some doctors are not as thorough as others. Some doctors run express checkout lanes. Some doctors should learn how to read X-rays. Some doctors should not be doctors.
Yeah I’m fine. I’m fine and I’m lucky and I can’t complain about that. But what I would like you to take away from this is that you need to be your own advocate in the doctor’s office. You know your own body. You know when something doesn’t feel quite right. And YOU need to know when to ask questions and when to ask more questions. And you need to know that you should not leave that office until you are satisfied with those answers.
And if you leave there with the slightest bit of doubt, you need to get a second opinion. That much you owe to yourself.