Second Opinion Prevents Unnecessary Surgery

© 2008-2011     Richard J. Chandler      St Cloud, MN    All Rights Reserved

We have a wonderful client who we have worked with on and off over the years who developed severe right shoulder pain. She saw local medical doctors on several occasions for it but had little relief after she was advised to wear an arm sling to keep it more immobilized. On a subsequent appointment she lobbied for an MRI. During the appointment in which she met with her doctor to go over the results of the MRI, her local doctor told her that the pain may be caused by a tumor, and he was very concerned. He made an appointment for her to see a surgeon who specialized in cancer surgery at the University of Minnesota.

The U of M surgeon recommended that she have an immediate surgery to remove the tumor. If the tumor was cancerous, which looked to him like it could well be, she would need to have a bone graft done from a bone bank to replace the removed cancerous bone. The recovery time was estimated to be long. S____  intuitively felt that this would not be the best way for her to proceed and she lobbied the Mayo Clinic in Rochester MN for an appointment to obtain a second opinion. Despite very frequent phone calls to the Mayo, it took 2 months for her to get an appointment. Her own local medical doctor also lobbied the Mayo and S____  believed that his requests ultimately gained her the appointment.

The rest of S___’s  story is an email that she sent out to her contacts.  We asked her if we could post it here, and she agreed to do so, as she was pleased that her experience might encourage others to be persistent in getting second opinions. She concludes her story with this email here:

Hi Everyone, We are back late from the Twin Cities. Here’s the latest on my 2 month limbo experience on finding out what was causing my right shoulder/arm pain and the diagnosis of whether or not my tumor is benign or not.

I went to the Mayo for a 2nd opinion today, because the 1st diagnosis was to do major surgery to find out by cutting me open “if” the tumor was cancerous, do a bone graft, do a bone mass replacement, and to eventually recover from the surgery… whew!

My intuition said…..this doesn’t feel right, and to get a second opinion. Hmmmmm always listen. The 2 month wait to get into the Mayo was rather long. I changed my eating habits, and lifestyle and even though I was scared of the long wait without knowing if I was making it worse by waiting…..I stuck to my intuition to wait on the Mayo appointment through frequent objections of relatives to have the surgery done right away.

The results were: I got an excellent wise doctor/surgeon who specializes in bone cancer…..and he is 99.9% certain I don’t have cancer! Good thing I didn’t go through with the 1st doctor who wanted to do unnecessary surgery on me to find out “if” it was cancer!

The Mayo doctor was so sure by looking at my x-rays and MRI that he cancelled my bone scan, ct scan, and biopsy…..yeah! He said my tumor is a cartilage tumor which means I had it since I was in my teens….cartilage is suppose to turn to bone but for some reason my cartilage on the inside of my right arm bone stayed cartilage and turned into a tumor. He said this is rare but it does happen. My tumor by the way… looked a lot smaller than my husband and I thought..(maybe shrunkJ…thank you for your prayers and healing energy)—and the 2 previous doctors 2 months ago called it “Large”.

This Mayo doctor said he could barely see it. He said I will probably live my whole life with the tumor inside my bone, and not notice it. He said to come to the Mayo each year to make sure it doesn’t get bigger or turn cancerous (rare). He said the tumor wasn’t causing the pain. He saw no spreading of anything from the tumor. He reassured us over and over that it is not cancerous.

My shoulder pain is caused by adhesive capsulitis or called “frozen shoulder”. My doctor referred me to a shoulder specialist at the Mayo clinic that same day…who confirmed his diagnosis. The shoulder doctor said it is a slow painful 2 year process (more or less) that “can be healed” (it willJ). Physical therapy is common therapy for this. He also said if I want it to heal faster or if the pain gets worse I can have a one day simple surgery to remove scar tissue. He said this is very common in diabetics because it is an autoimmune component, meaning a diabetic’s immune system may begin to attack the healthy parts of your body — in this case, the capsule and connective tissue of the shoulder. They don’t quite know why it starts up in diabetics. I will choose therapy over surgery.

In all, I feel exhausted, relieved, in shock (we assumed it was cancer…never assume by the way), and I feel pretty joyous and blessed too.  I just want to thank all my friends and family who kept me in their prayers and to those who sent long distance healing. I feel so lucky to have such special friends like all of you who care about me. Through this 2 month limbo process of not knowing… it taught me a lot about Faith, about taking genuine care of my body, about the challenge yet the necessity to stay positive, about being in the shoes for just a little while of a potential cancer patient, about fear, about believing in intuition, about always getting a 2nd opinion, about the varied treatment options….. and most important…about enjoying the breath of each day.

Also I already knew… but was reminded again…how caring my husband is… he stood by me, encouraged me to stay positive, who carried my heavy groceries, and held my hand through all the tests, and wept tears of joy when the doctor said I was cancer free…I always knew his hand would hold my heart “in sickness and in health”, love him so much. And I thank my daughter who helped her Mommy with humor, love her so much too.

I am grateful and thankful for all of your well wishes…. I feel they absolutely positively contributed to my outcome today…….. may the blessings and well wishes come back 10 fold to you. I love you all. Thank you all dearly from the center of my soul.


PS   I promised myself no matter the outcome I will continue with the healthy life changes I have made. Thanks again to everyone.