CTOAM Co-Founder Michelle Morand shares her recent personal health crisis – and what cancer patients can learn from it.
For three years, I’d been repeatedly visiting my doctor with the same complaint:
I was experiencing a lot of pain, plus the feeling of a mass, in my pelvic area.
I had pap tests and x-rays and manual examinations…
And each time the doctors told me it was nothing.
Eventually the pain got so bad that I just couldn’t stand to hear someone tell me it was ‘nothing’ anymore.
So I finally took matters into my own hands: I shelled out $2,000 for a PET/CT scan to see what was actually going on inside of me…
Within 48 hours I had the information I needed (or at least the first part of it)…
Health Crisis Mystery…Solved
Turns out there was a mass the size of a grapefruit – yes, the size of a grapefruit!! – on the left-side of my body, right next to my uterus.
Aside from proving that I wasn’t some crazy person who’d been imagining things…
The PET/CT also reassured me that the mass was not cancerous (since it didn’t glow on the scan).
And, the scan did something else essential: it suddenly made the doctors take notice.
With my scan in hand, I was finally able to get an immediate referral to a specialist…
Who told me that I’d need massive surgery to solve my issue.
I was going to lose my uterus, my cervix, my fallopian tubes and – thankfully – the grapefruit-sized mass.
However, because of the pandemic, my doctor said I’d need to wait up to a year for surgery…(since there were very limited appointments available for ‘non-essential’ surgeries.)
Distressing to say the least.
I had a knot in my stomach and, for once, knew it wasn’t related to the mass.
Getting Surgery to Solve the Problem
Fortunately, I got very lucky – within just a month I got a call saying that a spot had opened up the following Friday…
Of course I immediately took it!
That Friday rolled around…and boy was I nervous.
Frankly, I wished I could’ve been anywhere else but entering a hospital…
And yet, the alternative, well…there was none, really. Stuck between a rock and hard place, as they say.
So I had my surgery – a full hysterectomy and removal of the mass.
And within 48hrs, just as I was getting home from the hospital and crawling into my own bed under the covers, I heard from the specialist:
The Good News about my Health Crisis
They had done the pathology, reviewed the mass, and found no cancerous tissue – exactly as the PET/CT had originally suggested. It was just fibroids. Another wave of relief washed over me with this final confirmation. I was one of the lucky ones. And, as you well know, not everyone is.
You might be wondering…
Why am I sharing this highly personal story with you?
Because I want to make a point:
That because I paid for a PET/CT scan, I was able – within a 2 month period of time! – to completely identify and solve my problem…a problem that had caused me much pain, and restriction in my movement, and a huge amount of stress and worry for years…
And a problem that, after 3 long years of making repeated visits to my doctor, still hadn’t even been diagnosed by my GP! And who knows how long it would’ve taken them to diagnose it if I hadn’t gotten the PET/CT.
What You Can Learn From My Health Crisis
Now here’s what I need you to think about:
If my mass had been cancerous, and had been left to grow for those three years and beyond, where would that have left me?
I’ll tell you: I’d have significant cancer metastases before I even had my initial diagnosis…
And my likelihood of remission would’ve been greatly reduced.
It’s even possible that within 3+ years, the cancer (had it actually been cancer) could’ve developed to stage IV.
This happens to people every day. I know because I get calls every single week from people just like me – people who felt something, who noticed something….
People who tried to get their doctor to take their pain or hunch seriously…
And were instead dismissed by their doctor and told it was just stress, or hormones, or natural changes with age…or a pinched this or a swollen that…
People who did their best to ring the alarm and were silenced…
Until their health started to drastically deteriorate and until their symptoms worsened to the point of ‘warranting’ an MRI or CT Scan…
At which point they’re told, “there’s a mass…but it could be lots of things so we’re just going to keep an eye on it and test you again in 3 months or so…”
And during that entire time – when you know something’s wrong inside your body – the cancer has a chance to grow.
THIS is the risk of watching and waiting.
This is the risk of having a doctor dismiss your complaints and not doing anything about it.
I know because I experienced it.
Why It’s Worth Advocating for an Accurate Diagnosis
And, as you and I both know, I was one of the lucky ones – again, it wasn’t cancer. But it could’ve been.
And yes – it royally sucks that most people, for now, need to pay out-of-pocket for a PET/CT scan.
But re: cost, there are almost always options if you look for them – you could do a fundraising campaign or get a loan from the bank or a friend, or postpone that trip, or whatever you need to do…
To ensure that your health is priority.
You are worth it.
If you ever would like assistance in booking a PET/CT, you can call my team and we’ll help to coordinate one for you.
As I’ve previously mentioned, we earn no money from PET/CTs (we only charge for the admin time it takes to coordinate) – we promote them because they work. Because they’re the fastest, and most accurate, way to tell if you have cancer.
And the sooner you can spot cancer in your body, the better chance you will have of entering remission asap. This goes for cancer recurrence, too.
Bonus Free Resource on PET/CT
If you’d like more information on PET/CT scans, take a look at this free guide: Free Guide to PET/CT scanson May 19, 2021