When Imaging Results Reveal the Unexpected
Victoria had been experiencing pain up under her ribs for some time. She grew extremely tired and was losing weight. She had a very active routine and was, to all outward appearances, extremely healthy. After ignoring it for several weeks, she finally went to her doctor. The initial lab work did not reveal anything, but her doctor was nevertheless concerned. After performing a complete exam, he ordered a CT scan to rule out every possibility. At 28 years of age, Victoria was shocked by the results.
A large tumor was growing on her liver. Worse yet, it had been bleeding, explaining the ongoing fatigue she had been fighting. Surgery revealed the tumor to be benign, but an entire lobe of her liver had to be removed to avoid rupture. The surgery required 18 hours to complete, but that image literally saved her life.
Life Changing News
The sudden diagnosis of a medical condition can feel like a life-changing whirlwind. An unexpected diagnosis amounts to a very up close and personal crisis. Patients often feel overwhelmed and frightened. It is normal to feel a variety of emotions, even anger or disbelief. You should understand, however, that this is all part of the healing process.
You should also know it will not always feel like this. Take the time to process the unexpected results and really understand your treatment options. You are not a machine and will need to allow yourself the freedom to feel whatever you feel, for however long you feel it. No matter what anyone says, each experience is different because each person is different. You are not a cookie-cutter cutout, and your feelings will reflect your underlying emotional and physical state.
Try to honor this by allowing yourself the space and time you need to think. That may mean taking some time off of work or school, and putting other things on the back burner for a while so you can deal with the issue at hand. It is okay for you to focus on you for a bit.
It is also important to understand that more testing may also be required. The extra workups can give your doctor important information so that they can pinpoint the issues. When it comes to imaging, the more detailed the information, the better your course of treatment can be tailored to fit your needs. You may be facing a battle, and imaging gives your treatment team the additional ammo they need to fight back.
Finding Good Informational Resources
You should also understand that you are going to be inundated with information about a condition you may never even have heard of before. Many people run straight to the internet for answers, but those answers may not really reflect your unique medical situation. The internet can be a wonderful source of information. It can help you ask the right questions and become more informed. Just remember that it isn’t a doctor and take online horror stories with a grain of salt. Instead of relying solely on the internet for a prognosis, try to utilize resources provided by your doctor.
Reach Out and Get Support
Once you have a diagnosis, you can become better equipped to deal with it by connecting to support groups who have had or have the same medical condition or issue. People in a support group can understand what you are going through and provide an outlet for the emotional roller coaster ride you may be facing.
Try to Stay Positive
Many people will tell you that an unexpected test result can be scary, but in an odd way, it can also have an upbeat side. In Victoria’s case, she was able to beat the diagnosis and live with more purpose. She started volunteering, giving back and helping others.
Over twenty years later, she is still going strong. Her advice? Live fully and work with your treatment team to find the best route forward for you. How do I know? My name is Victoria and I wrote this article.
If you need exceptional care from one of our board-certified radiologists in the in Wellington, Belle Glade, Lake Worth or Royal Palm Beach areas, please call (561) 795-5558, or request an appointment online today. We are here to help.