Discussions By Condition: Medical Stories

Non-diagnosis by two of my doctors lead to Cancer

Posted In: Medical Stories 9 Replies
  • Posted By: cantata110
  • January 6, 2008
  • 03:36 AM

About four years ago, I noticed a small-peanut-like knot behind my right ear. Having noted this, I asked my-then internist (a resident) to check this knot. Her response was to ask me if the knot hurt (which I said it did occasionally), and that was the end of that.

When I was assigned a new resident about three years ago, I asked the same question, and she did basically the same thing, which was nothing. Neither one of them referred me to a specialist, and since they seemed not to be concerned, I was not concerned either.

Four months ago, while showering, I noticed that the knot had gone from being the size of a peanut, to about two centrimetres.

Alarmed, I immediately scheduled an appoinment with my doctor, who, when she felt the mass, shouted, "Oh my God!"

To cut the story short, I was sent to Ear, Nose and Throat, where I was diagnosed with cancer of the parotid gland. Surgery was performed almost immediately in late November, in which the nerves to my right eye and the right side of my mouth were removed (because they were cancerous), and a foot-long nerve was removed from my left leg and inserted into my face.

At this point, I have to consiously remember to blink my right eye, and the right side of my mouth does not respond when I speak. In short, the right side of my face is practically frozen, though I have noticed some progress lately. If I do not speak, it is hard to tell that the right side of my face is practically frozen, as the incision was done behind my right ear. But I know it, and sometimes when I wake up in the morning, it is hard for me to look in the mirror, even though the doctors say that it will takes some months before the facial nerves regenerate.

This coming Friday I start radiation therapy for six or seven weeks. I don't look forward to this, but at least it seems as if the cancer has not metastisized.

Aside from cancer, I also have Bipolar disorder, so you can imagine what this illness is doing for my mood.

One question I have (if anybody can help me), is can I sue the hospital for negligence?

For those of you who read my post, my advice is not to let any doctor ignore your symptoms. Your persistence could just save your life.

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