Meant to include a question mark in the topic line:
"Suing previous radiologist for failure to diagnose/delayed diagnosis???"
I have been contemplating this for some time and was wondering what others think. We're not a litigious family, but this has really been bothering me. I was diagnosed with Stage II hormone positive breast cancer in October of 2011. At the time, the radiologist who diagnosed me found an almost 4 cm tumor (IDC, grade 2, ER+) looked at the films from my previous mammogram and was shocked, saying, "I can't believe that nobody wanted to biopsy this!" I remember after the previous mammogram, the radiologist told me that the lumps I was feeling were due to my fibrocystic breasts and the area of my concern was a "ridge." The diagnosing radiologist in 2011 felt that this was a tumor that could have been caught much earlier.
So here I am, 2.25 years after diagnosis. I was originally very upset that this was missed, but decided to focus on getting thru my treatment. I went thru approx. 6 months of TAC chemo and several stages of surgery. I didn't have the energy to deal with this. I'm finding that I'm still (very) bitter about the missed opportunity for an early diagnosis. The doctors feel that a knee problem a year after diagnosis was related to chemo causing my bones to be brittle -- one day I flexed my knee because it felt stiff; immediately a section of the joint broke into large fragments that had to be surgically removed. After months of physical therapy, I now walk with an obvious limp. I have alopecia on top and back of my head so still need to keep my head covered when I leave the house, so the large bald/sparse areas on top and back of my head don't show. Wigs are just too hot because of the "chemopause," so I'm stuck with these stupid hats. My previously extremely oily skin has never produced a single drop of moisture or oil since my second cycle of chemo, so my face is now full of wrinkles. My feet have been swollen since chemo and I can't fit into any of my shoes except sneakers or flip flops. I look like I'm about 70 yrs. old. Prior to diagnosis, I weighed about 128 pounds and was in fantastic shape. but my MO and other doctors feel that my metabolism was disrupted by chemo, and I now weigh close to 160. So I went from being a rather young looking fit 50 year old with long strawberry blonde hair to looking like a chunky half bald wrinkled 70 yr old. I've become so self-conscious and socially awkward and avoid many events at my daughter's school and other areas of our lives, because I'm so incredibly uncomfortable with my appearance. (though had I known all of this, I hope that I would have still chosen chemo to increase my survival odds.)
My husband is self-employed, and during the first year of my treatment, he missed a lot of opportunities because he wanted to avoid traveling when I was home alone with my daughter, who was seven at the time, as well as needing to volunteer at her school, accompany me to surgeries, etc. I took my daughter to school most days, but had a babysitter drive her to afternoon activities because I was too tired (& embarassed) to take her to ballet. Since I decided against implants and chose flap surgery and no one in my area would perform the surgery on me because I allegedly didn't have enough body fat, I traveled to New Orleans for my surgery. My husband flew there both times to drop me off, and again to pick me up. There were airline and hotel expenses. We also paid for my sister to fly in and stay with me in the hotel after surgery, plus reimbursed her for lost time from work. We paid another babysitter to stay with us full time for several weeks after my stage 1 bilateral mastectomy surgery with flap reconstruction. My insurance hasn't covered everything that was expected, so we have had to pay a fair amount of money out of pocket. I also saw an out of network therapist who specialized in dealing with helping people with depression, anxiety, and fear of major illnesses. So the first year after diagnosis was ridiculously expensive, probably equivalent to at least a year or two of college for my daughter. Because of insurance issues where my provider in New Orleans thought that everything would be covered and it wasn't, still waiting to see how that turns out. So at the moment, I can't proceed with my final stage of reconstruction. While it didn't bankrupt us, and I know that others have suffered thru much more financially (& physically & psychologically), it has caused us some financial worries at times.
I do worry excessively about my long term prognosis. I've learned from these boards and from the BCO.org Facebook pages that my chances of survival with my type of cancer are substantially lower than my doctors have led me to believe. If I don't survive until my daughter reaches college, my husband will have to pay for childcare or a driver for my daughter. He won't travel as much for his job and will make less substantially less money, jeopardizing my daughter's education and his retirement.
So here's my dilemma. Do I try really hard to move on and just be thankful to be alive? Or do I look into trying to recover damages from the doctor who misdiagnosed me. I need to figure this out sooner rather than later, because of the statute of limitations. I'm just not sure and would be grateful to hear what others think!
Jenifer, completed TAC x 8 on 4/24/2012. Lumpectomy on 5/23/2012. BMX & immediate DIEH stage 1 on 6/5/2012 NOLA; stage 2 surgery 10/4/12 NOLA. Tamoxifen since 6/2012. Switched to Arimidex 9/2013.
10/20/2011, IDC, 4cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
Log in to post a reply