My mother diagnosed with stomach cancer post mortum - her endoscopy showed nothing! Yet for months, she was losing weight, bowel problems, abdominal pain, anemia. She also suffered from a heart condition and our focus was on that, so I guess the abdominal situation was not given the priority (in retrospect) that it needed.
It was only after the autopsy report was provided, did I learn that she was suffering and died from aggressive disease which invaded many other organs. Did she have H.Pylori? Or was it really a breast tumor metastasis? I will never know.
Poor girl. She died not knowing about her malignancy, though she may have had a fleeting concern. Since it went undiagnosed, she was spared the fear, but she was also denied the ability to say her goodbyes. It is sad to think about how her life ended. It was a life well lived, though. Miss her.
PS. lessons have been learned: breast tumors can be associated with gastric tumors years later. Upon early digestive disruptions, get to a GI doc, get second opinions from expert Digestive GI docs, be tested for H.Pylori, have a biopsy when an endoscopy is done, and more.
Thank you for sharing such a very personal story with all of us. These personal writings show the frailties that are in all health care systems and that no test is 100%.
No more so than with your mothers normal endoscopy and yet she had the disease. Whether due to the malignancy being missed by the endoscopist or that it was in deeper tissues, and not visible, you’ll never know.
Your mother was clearly not in the best of health with her heart condition and yet this is little consolation with all that she suffered.
Health care systems rely on so many different things – humans, machines, luck and much more. Sometimes as doctors we get it wrong, sometimes our investigations let us down. For every one that goes wrong there are many, many more that we get right, but that is no consolation to you.
Health care is a very unforgiving place in that respect. One thing I do know is that most doctors take things deeply to heart when something goes wrong. No one can get everything right, but if we could reverse the situation we would.
And finally, I totally agree with you. If suffering GI symptoms, always get it checked out and secondly no doctor worth his salt would disagree with you about having a second opinion. Take care. Peter
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