Diagnosis isn’t always black and white


ButterfllyIguana

image credit: Good Search

If you’ve ever had a biopsy come back negative, and not one, but two surgeons come in the room for “the talk”—then you know sometimes a biopsy can show a negative result, but come back positive after further testing. Unfortunately, that “further testing” is often after surgery, and chopping body parts off, one by one isn’t the ideal way to become cancer-free.

For the past few months, I’ve been in the been in the process of being re-diagnosed. Borrowing from sophisticated theory: if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, chances are it is a duck. The only difference in this case is, tests have come back negative. So, technically, it’s not a duck—or cancer. Most people would be doing the “happy dance”—and in the past, I would have done it, too. The only thing stopping me is my memory.

The first time I had cancer, the biopsy test came back positive. I didn’t believe it. I didn’t trust the medical field much, either. During treatment, I required another biopsy, which came back negative. The medical staff didn’t trust the test results but they gave me the option to leave the bump alone, watching it, knowing I may return someday for it to be removed. They also gave me the option to go ahead and have the second bump removed along with the originally planned surgery for the removal of the first tumor. I opted to have a two-for-one surgery. Tests run after surgery came back positive. It was cancer, but had tested negative before surgery.

Two years later, at my last appointment with the surgical oncologist who removed cancer the first time, saw a bump near my collar-bone. It tested positive. New treatment for cancer began, again.

Another two years down the road: I see bumps that look like cancer, feel like cancer, and are located in similar places, just a little higher up. But, tests have come back negative.

So, What does one do in the meantime? Here’s what I suggest: keep a (positive, strong) song in your heart, whistle a happy tune, and think, do and be kind.

—Oh, and maybe that’s what we all should do—before, during and after any type of diagnosis.