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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Lingering Consequences of Cancer Misdiagnoses ─ Whether or Not They Lead to Unnecessary Surgeries

My wife Jack showed up from Vancouver yesterday very late in the afternoon, or possibly very early in the evening ─ full recollection eludes me now.

I don't think my younger brother Mark got home until nearly 9:20 p.m. ─ Jack had earlier remarked to me that he was later than usual.

He was to eventually enjoy just about an hour of unconsciousness in his chair in the living room. It seems to me that it may have been nigh on 11:00 p.m. before he headed on upstairs to his bedroom for the night.

My youngest stepson Poté had brought his girlfriend home in the latter evening to spend the night with him. Neither of them had to worry about going to work today.

I'm not sure when I got to bed ─ it was nicely ahead of midnight, though. Jack had been in the bathroom for some time, and then exited and went downstairs to the kitchen.

That was when I took advantage.

I was still awake ─ but sporting earplugs and my blindfold ─ when she also came to bed. It was not too much later. I peeked at the time, but apparently it did not register with me.

Once I got to sleep, I suppose that I fared reasonably well, despite fragmented sleep. I dream so much, but rarely remember aught of them.

At 6:19 a.m. I checked the time, wondering if it was late enough into the morning to rise. I decided to slip out of bed as unobtrusively as possible ─ then to my considerable surprise, I discovered that I was alone in it!

Then it dawned upon me that Jack's eldest son Tho must have roused her to drive him to the SkyTrain to save him busing to it so that he could get out to Burnaby where he works. We live in Surrey, maybe a mile or so from the last two stations (Surrey Central and King George).

Once I had dressed, she was back home again, and ready to go directly to bed again. By that point, she had probably been up for a half-hour.

I wish Tho wasn't so selfish and thoughtless. He's 22-years-old, after all ─ and fancies himself something of a muscle man.

I had just boiled the water for my day's first hot beverage when I remembered that I had an errand I had to take care of first ─ the mailing of a bill payment due on Friday. So I put on a pair of unlaced shoes and a jacket (to hide my sloppy top), and set off to the mailbox not a block distant over by a 7-Eleven.

It may not be much of a walk, but because of the location, I tend to be seen by more people than I am particularly comfortable about. Besides, I'm still mentally befuddled and physically inflexible from being rather fresh out of bed.

Once that was done and I was back home, my main morning task was to get to work compiling content into the old post I am editing at my hosted website My Retirement Dream. I think that it was after 10:00 a.m. before I took a break and ventured outside to the backyard tool shed for a session of exercise there.

And a few minutes after 11:00 a.m., I was ready to seek a potential nap on my brother Mark's bed, covering myself with his light comforter. He had long gone to work, keeping his clock-radio set for 4:30 a.m.

I was pulled from semi-consciousness when I heard Jack emerge from our bedroom, perhaps right around 11:45 a.m. I waited until I was certain that she was up to stay and had gone downstairs, and then I rose and went down myself.

We're enjoying a beautifully sunny day, but I will not be getting any sunning in. I had considered sitting outside just after 11:00 a.m. instead of taking that lie-down on my brother's bed, but I was just too ill-slept to resist the more comfortable option.

Poté and girlfriend never got up until maybe 1:00 p.m. or later. 

I was busy working on this post when I heard them discoursing with Jack just ahead of 2:00 p.m., who I think was offering Priyanka (the girlfriend) some food; but evidently hunger wasn't an issue. Priyanka and Poté were more intent on taking off for somewhere, which they smartly did in his car.   

He was to return just before 3:40 p.m., thankfully alone. Maybe she did have to work? As far as I know, she has two part-time restaurant jobs.

Around 4:45 p.m., I was to see my wife Jack off on her return drive to Vancouver.

I may not be able to involve myself too deeply into my usual daily routine when she stays overnight, but of late it is oddly pleasant having her present.

And of course, it's great having the food she prepares for us all.

I wish now to post an old photo that I scanned ─ the description beneath it is from the Google album where the image is filed:

A photo from the collection of my younger brother Mark ─ it was probably taken sometime from the years 1974 to 1976.

I am sure the photographer was his girlfriend of the time, beautiful Catherine Jeanette Gunther.

Mark is pictured here acting out some role in a game such as Charades.
I miss my younger brother. As with my own self, the older versions of us both are not all that pleasant when compared to the original younger versions. 

But let's jump into an entirely different topic ─ namely, why it is absolutely essential to at least make sure that you get a second medical opinion before submitting to any radical treatments or surgeries for a condition like cancer. 

Note well this short article:


It gave this reference, but never linked to it ─ I have:


Can you imagine undergoing a mastectomy or prostatectomy, and then learning that the whole process shouldn't have taken place because you were misidentified? 

Be sure to read the very last part of that New York Times article.

The study that was the focus of those two articles may have found low percentages of such medical errors, but we are after all talking about potentially ruined lives. There is no undoing these surgeries.

I would suggest that there are likely even cover-ups of mistakes, and as a consequence many others were never documented anywhere. After all, if the patient who underwent a mistaken mastectomy was never to learn of it, she would always consider herself a survivor of cancer. 

Wouldn't that be medically preferable to the surgeon and / or hospital than to inform her of the truth and risk the legal consequences?

But let's look at this further, zeroing in on mammograms:



Those two reports are from within the past two weeks, but something similar was making some headlines back in February:

This is exceptionally serious and scary business. And that is why we should heed the advice left at the end of the HSIonline.com article:
#1: Get a second opinion! I know you’ve heard that one before, but in this case I’m talking about a second read on that biopsy. 
#2: If your biopsy was taken at a different location than where you’re scheduled for surgery or treatment, make sure an expert in your hospital has reviewed it. That simple question would have saved Eduvigis Rodriguez a whole lot of pain and suffering. 
Make the effort to bother. As I said, these surgeries cannot be undone. And who cares if the claims by the medical establishment maintain that these errors are extremely low ─ they...still...happen!

Just don't let it happen to you.

I close out today's post now with a journal entry of mine from 41 years ago when I was 26 years old, and living in a basement housekeeping unit in New Westminster.

I was renting in a private home located on Ninth Street, and about two houses up from Third Avenue.

The opening paragraph is referring to a tolerable sunburn I gave myself while engaging in some secluded sunning the day prior.
SUNDAY, July 18, 1976

I arose about 6:05 a.m. after awakening frequently during the night from my burn just long enough to turn over.

I variously considered this morning dropping over to see dad, going to O'Farrell's with or without a follow-up trip to Mark's, or just walking. So, I cooked my pizza early.

However, the lure ─ even though I had already a 4 fruit & yogurt breakfast ─ was more than I could resist. So why not try some ─ even, if necessary, half. After all, I couldn't go anywhere with a bloated stomach.

Then why did I eat the entire thing?

Fortunately, I finished with at least ¼ hour to go till noon. Perhaps around 3:00 p.m. I'll be in condition to stroll out to Mark's.

I rested from 1:30 p.m. - 2:15 p.m., intending at 3:00 p.m. to head for Mark's.

It was sunny, and I wore my undershirt.

No one was home ─ not even Daboda; I climbed in the porch window.

They all came home between 5:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. with Garry & Cathy, having gone fishing, unsuccessfully.

All but the dog took off by 6:00 p.m. to go swimming, with ball planned for later.

Bill came just before 8:00 p.m., the hour I'd planned to leave, jogging. He soon left in search of the ballers.

I thought I would wait till 9:00 p.m. when it would be some darker afore leaving, but Bill as promised came before then; we left together at 9:00 p.m. (he'd found no one).

By now I had decided to skip my fruit & yogurt supper, what with no run home and the snacking consisting of a few raspberries, a tangerine, some grapes, and an egg.

I ws home just after 9:30 p.m.

I discovered I am only missing The X-Men for August; "War of the Worlds" is a September title.

My sunburn was too painful for me to apply a washcloth, so I splash cleaned.

Bed at 10:20 p.m. 

(Note: I had 1 beer.)
I must have had the beer courtesy of Mark.

Mark and his girlfriend Catherine Jeanette Gunther were renting a home together located on Bentley Road in Whalley.

The pizza that I cooked up was probably founded upon a crust I made from scratch using whole wheat flour and yeast.

Had I hiked off to visit my father, it would have been a long trek. And so would have going to "O'Farrell's" supermarket in Surrey before working my way over to Mark's home. 

So evidently I just hiked directly to Whalley; but everybody at Mark's home were gone ─ even German shepherd Daboda. I had no phone, so these visits were always a gamble.

Regardless of no one being home, I let myself in. I don't say so, but I now wonder if the egg and fruit I mentioned were things I helped myself to while I was there by myself ─ they must have been consumed over the time I was there alone.

The fishermen returned, including Mark's best friend of the time, Garry Porteous (and Garry's girlfriend Cathy or Kathy). However, they all had plans to go and play softball.

It was my old friend William Alan Gill who showed up awhile later when I was alone again. He lived perhaps four blocks from my room, and was renting a rather nice bachelor suite. Obviously, he also had a car.

Gung-ho for some softball, he set off in search of the others, probably promising to return if he could not find anyone.

He came up empty, so he returned for me. I had intended to jog back to my room in New Westminster.

Bill saved me the effort.

Earlier this week I cleared up just what "War of the Worlds" had to do with Marvel Comics (whose super-hero comics I had been a steep fan of for years).

It was a mini-series that ran from Amazing Adventures #18 through to issue #39, as can be seen here at ComicVine.gamespot.com.

It does not sound to me today like I had an especially good Sunday those 41 years ago, but maybe I got some enjoyment out of it. At least, I never expressed any complaints, but they could always have been implied and I am now too far removed to detect the indications.

Well, okay ─ back to the present. I just want to state that I hope I fare better with the remaining three days of the week than I managed to do last week insofar as having time alone here at home is concerned.

Last week I only had Thursday ─ someone was always here on the other four days.

And thus far this week, I have lost both Monday and Tuesday.

The morning will soon enough tell whether I am blessed with the absence of both of my stepsons or not.  
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