Be proactive in your health

“I did not want to know!”

While in a local Walmart one year ago, I turned around as a lady tapped me on the back. The lady, with Dr. Quinn tears in her eyes, told me that I had saved her life. Confused, I asked her what I had done. I remember thinking as hard as possible, but could not remember if I had ever seen this lady before. The lady apologized for disturbing me, and started to walk away. I immediately reassured her that it was ok, and I appreciated her wanting to share.

The lady in the store started off by telling me about her mother that died of end stage metastatic breast cancer. She told me of how her mother, who was a lady that never saw a doctor, decided to visit a doctor after she started to leak blood from one of her nipples. The lady admitted that her mother, who confessed to not seeing a doctor in over ten years, told them that she noticed a slowly growing mass in her left breast for the last three years. Before she died, the mother told the lady in the store that she avoided the doctor since she believed that not knowing was the safest way. She also admitted that she was convinced that doctors were just trying to extract money from people. The lady told me that she remembered her mother saying, “I did not want to know!”

According to the lady’s story, her 59-year-old mother had multiple treatments to include radio and chemotherapy, but had nothing but deterioration. With tears in her eyes, she told me of how she watched her mother lose all her hair, vomit all day with sickness, lose all her weight, and die a miserable death. In Walmart that night, the 47-year-old lady told me that she was convinced that she did not want to see any doctors. She added that she was one hundred percent against having a screening mammogram.

She told me that God must have been in the plan, because she started seeing me soon after her mother’s death. She told me that she saw me on television talking about breast cancer screenings, and the importance of early detection through screenings. She told me that she heard me on the radio multiple times. She told me that she was fully convinced God was in the plan after I showed up at her church, and addressed the entire congregation on breast cancer. The patient told me that this was the day she decided to schedule an appointment with a doctor.

According to the lady, the appointment went well, but she was advised to follow up with the scheduled screening mammogram. With hesitancy, she did follow up, and got a negative report of microscopic calcifications which were abnormal findings. She then told me of how she followed up for an outpatient procedure of an ultrasound guided biopsy, and had a radiological test. Her results revealed that the abnormal cells were removed and the pathological report showed that all the surrounding tissue was cancer free. The radiological test came back showing no abnormalities. She was told that she was to return for a mammogram in one year, and that she was cured. She was also told that she would have had a different fate had she not had the screening mammogram when she did. She was told that there was a good chance that her future would have been the same as her mother with an early unnecessary death.

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