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5 Yrs ago it was the NOTHING… that Changed my Life FOREVER

I was going to say FEELS like forever since I last updated… but then I checked the date of the last post and I can say it officially HAS been. 5 ½ months – A new year…. so much …

I have been trying to figure out who I want to be when I grow up. What do I want to do. Besides pick out a darn house to build… but that is another story.

2012 brought so much pain and heartache. I lost multiple friends to breast cancer this year. Two of them here in AZ. Two beautiful women who inspired me. Brightened up my world who I was blessed to call true friends. Not just ‘ we both have BC’ friends. But talk on the phone, meet for lunch, shop for wigs, laugh and cry friends. We invested in each other. I will miss Michelle and Terri always…. there are holes in my heart that I tried to fill for the longest time with voice messages I had saved just to be able to hear them… then I got a new phone and didn’t realize those would be gone. It hurt… There are also a number of women who are part of a Triple Negative (type I had) Breast cancer group that have passed this year. Too many lives… too many young lives. Couple all of that with many good friends battling daily with stage 4 disease. People with so much love and life ahead of them, young families, and those loving and serving others while still fighting just to make it through days and weeks. I have been amazed by the miracles of healing I have seen and the days numbered and given to each by God. I can’t pretend that I do not get scared or worry about them, their disease, their struggles (physically, mentally, emotionally), their time… which then automatically defaults to fear and worry about me. I try not to dwell or live in this too much… but ask any cancer patient/survivor… it is a forever reality…. it gets easier the further out we get… but that time too is when tests are less frequent… we have forgotten (good and bad) what is worrisome and what is normal… aging… then

I have seen some really hard truths… I have seen accidents that shake you to the core of your being… I have seen Gods Grace and Mercy protect life… and I know those things can change people and how sadly sometimes those changes are not recoverable and this causes more pain and heartache. But awakens us to being hyper vigilant and attentive at all times. I pray for wholeness and healing. I have also seen some wake-up calls… people who at one time told me shortly after I was done with treatment… that I was fine now and prayers for health and healing were better spent elsewhere… now understanding first hand that health is not restored the moment treatment ends… sometimes it is never restored fully… there are days and times and situations when the best we can do is get up and breathe. Each day is best given to the Lord… on these days it is often easier to remember this. When the hustle and bustle of life is on hold/hiatus.

I am watching struggles in relationships…hearts broken, loves changed… repercussions of making the choices, lies and deception… of the differences in how people see a story and view it through our own lenses which can sometimes be flawed… and the many ways a story can be spun… I have had amazing friends move… the same week… too much… I miss some people immensely, others I have accepted the fact that relationships most often exist in one of 3 categories (lifetime – reason – season) and maybe what I thought or even what was originally intended as lifetime is better for all as a very long season… I realize it is okay. It is maybe how God intends to help me be able to leave. To move on. I love deeply… to deeply often… but I also have strong convictions about responsibility and obligations and a BIG mouth sometimes…. not always a great combination. But at least I know me.

In addition to loosing the messages from my Michelle and Terri… another voice message is forever gone… and I know it was likely sick that I saved it… The message left by the breast surgeon on August 22, 2008… then one asking me to call back… for results…. the one that ended in God Bless You…. the one alerting me to a new reality… A call that I didn’t want to return but had to return.. the NOTHING….was SOMETHING… Come back in a year…. Would LIKELY HAVE Been too Late. I don’t know why I saved it…was it a reminder of all I had been through… how far I had come.. was it that there was a Dr. out there who cared… he ends (still to this day) every visit with God Bless You. This matters at least to me.

Below is an update from the Medical Board hearing… From the Doctor that didnt care… didn’t do his job… and put me in harms way…

Was it a win for me… In one way. Yes….

This hearing was originally set for November 17th. I was notified in a letter the end of September that finally someone decided to ask questions of the doctor who had so obviously failed On February 6, 2008. A lifetime ago. He then at the last minute requested a continuance… enough time to/for…

Dr. Sidney Semrad started by apologizing to me and saying he absolutely was at fault and negligent in my treatment. That when I presented with a mass of that size (4cm – a golf ball) he should have done further imaging/diagnostics and/or at least paid attention to the radiologist suggestion ‘ that if there is an area of palpable density an ultrasound would be of benefit ‘ (he obviously palpitated the mass or how would he have known it was 4cm). He then went on to identify the things he has done to address/rectify this failure … all of those things that are protocol in a situation like this (ultrasounds, MRI, Biopsy). He then finished off by saying he had attended (for the first time) the 2012 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (Dec 4-8), and received 43 hours of continuing education to increase his awareness and knowledge of current studies, diagnostics, treatments… the same Breast Cancer Symposium held in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 In fact this event has been held for 35 years… and he has worked primarily as an OB/GYN for 25 of those… makes one wonder (at least this one). He then lied about his flippant comment (hope the hubby likes golf)… the coward NEVER looked at me… not surprised at all… So Be It.

Do I believe there is a level of remorse for his failure and actions I will say yes. But I will also say with certainty That much of the ‘changes and action’ touted and his showboating occurred because he was finally going to have to appear and respond about his negligence not out of a need to make himself a better physician. That train had years earlier left the station and he didn’t hop on until he needed to sell ‘remorse’. He knew of the diagnosis in August 2008. If he was that concerned about putting forth effort and gaining knowledge to make himself a better doctor especially as far as breast cancer diagnosis, importance of quick action and the scientific advances and studies and even the hard truths of breast cancer why did he not go to this conference in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011… Because in all of those years he did not have to stand in front of a Board of his Peers and explain his actions/answer questions on why he ignored something so blatantly obvious on physical examination – as well as the recommendation of another physician. There wasn’t the potential of losing something…

Win(s) in all of this. 1. He publicly apologized and admitted fault and negligence. NOTE: He was safe doing this now… because within 2 years of finally being diagnosed I did not have recurrence or die. So he is legally safe from malpractice and has been since August 2010… but never before the meeting of minds did he find a way to apologize… would he have had he not been called on the carpet NOPE. He just did those things in advance of the hearing (by having it postponed so he could go to the conference as the last piece) that they would likely require of him but it enabled him to have No Disciplinary Action. 2. There will be an official letter of concern in his file. Not sure if anyone else will ever look for it but its there at least for now. I will hope that to some degree all of this has and will make him more aware and that until he retires he will never ignore someone’s Mother, Wife, Sister, Daughter, Friend again….

The big WIN. 3. There was a group of probably 20-25 osteopathic medical students. One of the physicians on the board said to them… The most important thing that each of them need to hear and know… is NEVER should a woman with a mass be sent away and the issue dismissed without there being Ultrasound, Biopsy and Physical Examination and absolute Negative for Cancer results in the above. It’s not an option… so that other women do not have to suffer this same failure. SO if in this each and every one of those students heard those words… and they tell 2 friends… then hopefully the next generation of physicians will be a strong one. Thank you for you prayers and support I am thankful to God that a good can come of something so wrong.

I guess my stubbornness has at least enabled me to Pay It Forward… for those to follow until there is no more breast cancer… fewer bad doctors… changes… more urgency… SO much life to be lived.

I still need another surgery… I just don’t know when I will be up for it… I’m tired of them for now. Last year I had no surgeries actually putting of hand, possibly foot and reconstruction symmetry work. I continue to dance with NED (he is a mighty good partner). That is not to say its been easy. I spent 5 months in treatment for lymphedema (result of damage from surgeries and radiation). It will never go away. I have to pump my arm every day, I am supposed to wear a sleeve every day but some days I just don’t… they are hot and bothersome. Then there is the lovely night garment that no matter how much I put it on at night it end up on the floor next to my bed in the morning. My subconscious mind even hates that one. I had thought ordering it and making sure it was pretty would be a benefit to me but not really. It looks like a paint spattered Michelin Man arm wrapped in Velcro. Super CUTE. I think I almost put Rich’s eye out with it once. And he still LOVES me. I am Blessed. Beyond measure in this fact.

I made amazing new friends in the last part of 2012. Traveled a bit. Celebrated Life. Laughed. Cried and gave my heart fully to others who are now on this road.

So whats in store in 2013… fun, family, friends, packing a house, getting ready to move, hopefully old wounds healed, no more loss of lives precious and dear to me, faith renewed and growing, health restored and bettered, healing… LIVING yep that about sums it up. I AM GOING TO LIVE in 2013.

5 Responses to “5 Yrs ago it was the NOTHING… that Changed my Life FOREVER”

  1. Patti,
    I enjoyed getting to read and in some small way experience your 2012. My heart aches for you and the loss of precious friends. You continue to inspire so many of us. Apart from faith in a just and loving God, it would be hard to stay positive about life, wouldnt it? I am eager to hear more about the house near the dam! I hope we’ll get to see you and Rich in Oregon this summer when you can tell us about it. We love you. Sis! ; )

  2. Love you bunches! You are often in my thoughts and prayers. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  3. Hey lady … thank you for sharing what’s been happening, and what’s on your heart. I can’t ever know how exhausting it is to keep fighting this battle. It was awesome to read the big win 3 – that others will hopefully be better cared for. I hope those medical students were listening well. And even awesome-r your resolve to keep on truckin’.

  4. Sharing cleanses the soul and brings friends and loved ones closer.
    How does one say thanks for being so honest. You are a great treasure to Roy and me and our Velcro family. You touch me deeply. Our loss of Lane makes your losses much more real to me.

  5. you my friend have, with great intent, chosen a path to live a full, rich and very changed life. you pour out to others without agenda or expectation for return, knowing that God is the only one who will make you whole. he has given you the abundant love of your husband, and you share all the love you are given with everyone near and dear to you. we are all changed from your experience. i will now never NEVER let anything suspicious in my breast go unexamined to the Nth degree, and i tell your story to anyone who is unsure what the next step in their medical treatment is to not fear being “the squeaky wheel”. taking charge of your own medical care is a lesson that came all too hard to you and i want to pay that one forward in the hopes of saving… saving heartache, saving a breast, saving a life. thank you for marching forward, banner held high, with hope, with knowledge, with a voice, and mostly with great abundant love. i love you dearly my lifelong friend. i KNOW i fall into that category. xoxo

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