In September, 2018, I was diagnosed with lung cancer. (You play, you pay and if I am ever diagnosed as terminal, I will go buy a carton of cigarettes and enjoy them again). Anyway, there was a rush to remove half of my lung to get rid of the tumor that had grown from undetectable to 1.5″ in a year and four months. The appointment with the doctor who had to order my screening CT scan was supposed to be in May, but the office stated he did not have an appointment for the yearly check and CT until September. I reminded the doctor the scan was due at the end of September’s visit because he was ready for me to leave and had not mentioned the CT scan due every year for me. And, it was positive as was a PET scan. So within three weeks, I was on the operating room table with the suggested surgeon performing my robotic assisted, state of the art surgery. I did great until they pulled my chest tube at which point I began vomiting. Long story short, the inside of my raw chest became infected and the port entrances became infected. The surgeon denied they were infected and it took another physician to prove it was an infection and treat the infection. This set me back four weeks. Then there was a large lump on my left side under my ribs beginning from the time I began to vomit after surgery while in the hospital, and my bowel function stayed messed up. I had CT scans of my abdomen beginning in November. Nope, everything was honky dorey. A general surgeon said twice there was nothing that could be done that the surgery caused nerve damage so the muscle in this area could not contract and hold the bowel in place. Just have to live with it. The oncologist stated it was a risk of the surgery and I would just have to live with it. The gastroenterologist said it was post op changes and I would have to live with it. Meanwhile, the lump enlarged, bowel pain began, and my self esteem is in the toilet. The area is the size of a grapefruit raised up on the left upper side near my ribs. I began having episodes of shortness of breath. I became severely depressed after 12 years of being stable from a psychiatric perspecgtive. Finally, my medical doctor insisted to a radiologist something was indeed wrong with me and asked him/her to re-read my CT scan. I have-and had the entire time after surgery-a lateral wall hernia with my bowel trapped. Six fucking months of this and my poor medical doctor is the only person who cared enough to pursue and ask the appropriate medical professional to look at that scan again. Thank God for the good physicians and the ones who blew me off, damn you all! I blame inadequate number of doctors, lack of qualified physicians, a push by organizations that own physician practices for physicians to see a higher volume of patients than is reasonable to make the more money, and uncaring physicians for this type of physician attitudes. My advice after my most recent experience, (as frustrating as it may be for you-as it was for me), if it does not feel right, it is probably not right. Keep pursuing an answer. If you have physicians that blow you off, change physicians until you find those who do not. If only I had not trusted some of the ones I trusted to make a correct diagnosis. And a radiologist that read a CT scan three and five months ago and missed finding this hernia. I changed oncologist, I changed my gastroenterologist, I changed my pulmonologist, and I am in the process of finding a new surgeon. Dr. Gwendolyn Wiggand-Bolling, thank you for your caring, your time, and perseverance.
Update: I have a rare type of hernia-Spigelian-and am awaiting a surgery date. Only took six months, three radiologists, and multiple physicians to get here.
4/7/19 Toni Leedy