The Positive Side of Medicine

Doctors Kept Dismissing My Back Pain—Until I Was Finally Diagnosed With Terminal Cancer

Doctors Kept Dismissing My Back Pain—Until I Was Finally Diagnosed With Terminal Cancer

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I spent my whole life trusting in doctors and the medical system. To be honest, I think I pretty much saw medical professionals as infallible. In retrospect, maybe that’s just because I got lucky enough to avoid spending much time in hospitals throughout my youth and adolescence. Eventually, my luck ran out.

Doctors Kept Dismissing My Back Pain—Until I Was Finally Diagnosed With Terminal Cancer

Doctors failed to correctly diagnose my breast cancer, giving the disease the chance to spread throughout my body. If they had caught my illness early, it may have been treatable. Unfortunately, by the time I was diagnosed, cancer had already spread to my spine. I am sharing my story with you in the hope that you can avoid a fate like mine.

Pain without a name
When I first started experiencing back pain, it was easy to brush off. I was young and active. I had experienced pain from exercising before, and I tried to tell myself that this wasn’t any different.

I think that part of me was always aware that this pain is different. Women know our bodies. We know the way they hurt and the way they speak to us. And my body was telling me that something was seriously wrong.

However, like most of us, I wasn’t able to identify why I was hurting. I decided to turn to doctors, hoping that they would be able to identify the source of my pain.

A medical mystery
Though I was sure something was wrong, doctors were more skeptical. Over the course of more than a year, I visited several specialists. I did my best to convey the intensity of my pain. By then, I was experiencing pain so severe that it often kept me bed-ridden. My quality of life was sharply curtailed.

The reaction I got was disappointing. All of the doctors I visited seemed to think that I was exaggerating my symptoms. Instead of answers, I was left feeling confused. I tried to convince myself that I had imagined my symptoms, but I knew my back pain was real.

Finding a lump
It wasn’t until I finally found a lump in my breast that I was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Cancer had been in my body for over a year by that point. The pain I had been feeling was cancer spreading to my spine.

If breast cancer is diagnosed early, it can be very treatable. By the time I was diagnosed, I had terminal cancer. There is no cure; I will have this disease for the rest of my life.

Finding my voice
I am sharing this story with you so that you can learn from what happened to me. If you know that there is something wrong with your body, speak up. Doctors may not be convinced, but they are not experiencing your pain and your symptoms.

Many women are afraid to be aggressive and push back. But finding your voice might save your life. We shouldn’t be silent in the face of pain.

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