The Importance of November 10th


Most, who have had a relationship with the United States Marine Corps (USMC), know that November 10th marks the USMC’s birthday. Today is their 241st birthday.  So, I begin by wishing all of you who are Marines–“Once a Marine, always a Marine”–a very happy birthday. Semper Fi!

November 10 also represents something very important to me.

November 10th is Neuroendocrine Tumor (NET)/Carcinoid Cancer Awareness Day. November is Awareness Month for this cancer that has been previously considered a rare cancer. It is now being recognized around the world  as the day and month to build awareness of this cancer.

As many know bits and piece of my story with this cancer,  I am living with Stage 4  Neuroendocrine (aka Carcinoid) cancer, having been diagnosed in May 2012. There is no cure (yet).

As I have been told by several in the medical field that I have known, there was not a lot of teaching of this cancer during their time in medical school.  “Under an hour,” and “15 minutes” are two answers that were shared with me.

This cancer is generally misdiagnosed on average of 10 years, and over 90% of us, who are called “Zebras,” are diagnosed in advanced Stage 4 levels.

In my case, some of the things that I had heard suggested, tested for, diagnosed with, and/or treated for over a period of over 20 years were (not necessarily at the same time and in no particular order) : Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Diverticulitis, Asthma, and more.

I am not here today to rehash things that you can read elsewhere on my blog, but simply to let you know that today is a day that I want have you consider learning what you may not know.  I knew nothing (and I fear many medical professionals had no idea either) of this disease before my diagnoses in the spring of 2012.

I believe true learning comes from discovery, when we are challenged in some way to find out answers, rather than being force-fed the information.

So, my challenge you is to start by discovering a little today, by becoming curious enough to find out WHY we are called “zebras.” Let it begin there.

Then, I want you to encourage you to find some other bit of information that you find interesting about this disease, and then share this information on your social media sites. Begin by becoming aware, then by passing awareness along.

Feel free to share my story, if you wish, but I IMPLORE YOU to start by learning more yourself.  There are many people who are (were) walking around with this cancer and do  (did) not know it yet.

I am one of those people.

Please keep in mind that today, November 10th, is one day to remember to build awareness. Or to say, “Happy birthday!” to a Marine.  But we can have 365 days of building awareness. Or thanking a veteran.

It all starts with one day.  Today is the day to begin.

Check out these resources to start:

http://carcinoidawareness.org/  and  http://carcinoid.org

Zebra 1

 

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2 thoughts on “The Importance of November 10th

  1. Good medics never stop learning. Their training is known as Continuous Professional Development for a reason, and they are expected to keep up with current and emerging clinical practice in their specialty as a matter of course. I’m glad your medics had enough CPD to eventually diagnose you, even though the outcome was not really what you wanted to hear.

    1. Though I appreciate this sentiment, and I appreciate some of the medical staff, I still have a sour taste the one doctor (Army Lt. Colonel), who decided to let his ego overrun his sensibilities. (I share part of that in my blog entries from April through June 2012.) Part of being a good doctor is to leave the ego at the door. I am ever-grateful that I was given a pain-in-the-ass spirit, who is willing to ask questions, seek more understanding, and challenge things and people who do not make sense. I am also blessed to have landed in the paths of people who were willing to listen and give me honest answers, even when their own jobs could be on the line had I ever shared what they said to me as other military medical professionals. I made my way to the University of Washington Medical Center, and found doctors who were sympathetic to my fight with the system, and helped to give me hope. They encouraged me to learn and challenge. The outcome is simply that I am alive, which is the outcome that I certainly needed to hear, when I had been told “six months to a year, two, if lucky.” Later on, from someone else, “…your mortality would have been at issue if …(certain procedure planned by first doctor) would have been completed). I am glad that there were people around me who helped keep me sane in the process, and in the subsequent four and a half years since that time! None of us should ever stop learning!! 🙂

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