I am a cancer survivor. In December 1993, I was diagnosed with Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia. The following June, of 1994, I had a bone marrow transplant.
When I was diagnosed, I immediately started a regimen of chemotherapy drugs. While I was doing well with the drugs, I was concerned about my future. It was determined that my life expectancy would be about three years. I asked my hematologist about the possibility of my having a bone marrow transplant. He told me that I would not be eligible because I was 54 years old. His answer bothered me because other than finding out I was sick, I actually felt fairly healthy.
Not willing to simply accept his answer, I began to research what hospitals and hematologists performed transplants. I gathered all the pertinent information and asked my hematologist for his input regarding obtaining a second opinion. He was very supportive of my thinking, and said he knew of a hematologist at the Detroit Medical Center. I scheduled an appointment at the DMC and, thankfully, learned that I would be eligible for the program.
Because of my age, I was not eligible for the donor registry; and a family member would have to be the donor. My younger sister was a match. I also was informed that the cut-off age for the transplant is age 55. That was in March of 1994. My birthday is in September so scheduling the transplant soon was imperative.
The reason I chose to share my story, happily some 23-plus years later, is to explain the extreme importance of seeking a second opinion. Whether you stay with the doctor you see for a second opinion, or remain with your current doctor, the knowledge you gain will help you to decide which course of treatment is best for you to follow. Be your own patient advocate when your life is on the line. Taking care of yourself is vital and gives you peace of mind. In my case, getting a second opinion saved my life.
I wish you the very best of good health as you continue to live your life as a cancer survivor.