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Second opinion pays off for local breast cancer patient

Published on | Eric Brown

Tami Lysher understands first hand the value of a second opinion. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006

Instead of being a passive patient, be part of the team by seeking out as much information as possible.

Grand Blanc resident, early childhood educator and owner of Studio T Pilates, Tami Lysher understands first hand the value of a second opinion. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006, and referred to a surgeon who, “without even reviewing my chart or my test results, told me I needed a mastectomy. I was given no other options,” Tami reports.

“I was a hot mess when I left the doctor’s office,” Tami recalls that day vividly. She immediately called her radiologist Randy Hicks, MD, to report her devastating experience.

“Dr. Hicks told me, ‘I want you to see a friend of mine for a second opinion – Linsey Gold,'” and he arranged the second opinion visit.

Two days later, Tami was in the office of Linsey Gold, DO, FACOS, FACS, a board certified breast surgeon. “She saw me on a day she normally does not see patients,” Tami learned.

Dr. Gold spent 3 1/2 hours with Tami. “She told me I had choices and explained each one in detail.” Dr. Gold also noted to Tami that her cancer was slow growing so she had time to make a decision regarding her treatment.

“I was so impressed that she spent 3 1/2 hours with me! We talked about the surgery; she educated me on my treatment options; she told me it was OK for me to be my own advocate for what I want, and she spent time getting to know me personally.

“I’m not one to shop around for a doctor, but I’m so glad I did.”

Tami chose a lumpectomy, and Dr. Gold as her surgeon. The surgery took place around Thanksgiving of 2006. Tami recovered rapidly from her surgery and was back to work and the gym in less than a week.

She did need 32 rounds of radiation, which took place at the Genesys Hurley Cancer Institute, a place she describes as warm and caring.

“I was shocked to see the size of the incisions on some of the women,” Tami reports. “Dr. Gold made a very tiny incision.”

If Tami could give one piece of advice to other women in a similar situation, she is quick to say, “get a second opinion.

“I’m so glad I found Dr. Gold! I think the world of her. She is kind, compassionate, understanding, and an advocate for women and women’s breast health. We connected right away. Not only is her skill level exceptional, but, hands down, she is the best. There is no other choice when it comes to a breast surgeon. She taught me so much about breast cancer and being an advocate for my own health. I truly admire her.

“My husband came with me for my initial appointment with Dr. Gold and after the visit, he said, ‘she’s the one.’

“My life didn’t miss a beat when I was under Dr. Gold’s care,” Tami adds.

It’s been more than 12 years since she was diagnosed with breast cancer. “I still stay in touch with Dr. Gold. In fact, we spoke not too long ago. She asked me how my daughters were doing. We both have two girls. She sees me more than a patient; she sees me as a woman, a mom and a person.

“When I heard I had breast cancer, my first reaction was complete shock,” Tami reflects. “I take care of myself, I eat right and I’ve been teaching exercise classes for more than 25 years. This was not supposed to happen to me. I’m just grateful I chose to have a second opinion.

“And, it’s important that I tell other women to take the time to find the right doctor like I did.”

The value of a second opinion

Tami is a certified instructor for the Pink Ribbon Program for breast cancer patients to assist them in regaining full range of motion in their upper body. Visit pinkribbonprogram.com

When patients hear the words “you have cancer,” oftentimes their brain shuts off to any other information shared with them at that time. As a result, they may leave the doctor’s office frightened, worried, and unclear on what to do next. The patient couldn’t possibly expect to be able to digest the treatment plan the physician prescribed because she or he is still in shock.

Many patients panic and think, “I have to get the cancer out of me now.” The reality is they have time to get a second opinion. Find a physician with at least the same level of skills, experience and expertise of your current health care provider.

Ask both doctors to outline your options and describe the possible risks and recovery expectations. Instead of being a passive patient, be part of the team by seeking out as much information as possible.

Even if patients receive the same diagnosis and prognosis, they can walk away with reassurance. A second opinion confirms the course of action.
Remember you have every right to ask as many questions as necessary to fully understand your diagnosis, treatment options, the procedure, its risks and the recovery process.

To learn more about the importance of a second opinion, visit the website of Dr. Gold and Eric Brown, MD, FACS, board certified breast surgeon; at CompBreastCare.com. If you would like to make an appointment to see one of the surgeons, simply call 248.687.7300.

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