Monday, August 27, 2012

On Getting a Second Opinion

There was no doubt in our minds that we wanted to get a second opinion about my condition. But just to make it clear, it wasn't because we didn't trust the initial findings. We simply wanted to hear the opinion of a second medical professional, so we could compare, if there were any differences noted.

The day after the diagnosis, N and I found ourselves at the UST Hospital to meet up with the Dad of my brother's girlfriend who is a surgeon, too. Not a breast surgeon but a surgeon nonetheless, with many years of experience. He looked at my scans a few days before I was diagnosed and pretty much confirmed everything my breast surgeon had told me back then.

Thankfully, the second opinion was the same as the first. Of course I would've wanted it to be different .. better! It wasn't but what's important is it also wasn't worse. Relief! After the usual physical exam (which was really more thorough), the doctor sat us down and explained everything in great detail. Other than what we already knew, he also told us these :

Lymph Nodes not compromised
Zero Metastasis
Stage is 2A which is more specific than the original clinical finding by my surgeon

Did you see that? Lymph Nodes NOT compromised and zero metastasis? You can't imagine what it felt like to hear those words!!! I couldn't but I really wanted to shout for joy. Needless to say, the clinical finding is not the final word. It's always the pathological finding, which will come after my surgery and after the entire lump is taken out and scrutinized. But really ... I didn't care much. All I know is that a doctor (a more experienced one at that), told me that the cancer cells have not spread to my lymph nodes. Wonderful music to my ears!!! After a few more questions, we kissed him and his wife goodbye, said our thank you's and left the hospital in high spirits.

I find myself smiling everytime I think about that afternoon, because that was really huge news to me. I know that the main reason for this positivity is the great faith I have in the good Lord, which can only be the result of all the prayers being said for me.

I know you're all storming heaven and I remain humble and grateful to all.

Tomorrow, I'll start undergoing pre-surgery tests (the usual gamut of blood tests, ultrasounds and ECGs) to help me prepare for the big day. I'll also be sitting down again with my breast surgeon and hopefully, the reconstructive surgeon, so I can finally make that all-important decision!

God bless all of you!!!

P.S. Here's my personal take on the 2 surgeons I've seen so far. Please note that the first one is 40 years old and the one who gave the 2nd opinion is all of 62 years. Their approach is totally different, for obvious reasons. The more mature surgeon has been practicing medicine a lot longer and never had to depend on technology or machines when he was younger. Through the years, I'm sure he has really mastered the art of just using his hands. It was those hands which examined me and told him my lymph nodes were still okay and untouched. Whereas the younger surgeon didn't want to commit anything to me and said she would only be able to confirm once I'm on the operating table and in surgery. I can't really say that I trust one more than the other. All I'm saying is that, experience is not something to be taken for granted.

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