“Mrs. Pomon, I see you are here for an abdominal resection,” conversed a young nurse, glancing up from the chart at the anxious middle-aged woman in the white surgery gown. In that moment, Dianne’s patience snapped -- with healthcare, with prior medical malpractice, with previous incomplete attempts to remove cancerous breast tissue and with humankind as a whole.
“Abdominal resection?! I have breast cancer. That’s it! You are not touching me. I am leaving here. Where are my clothes? Where are my pants? I am taking off this gown. You don’t even know what I’m here for. SURGERY CANCELLED.”
Calmed by her husband and the reassurance of a supervisor, Dianne stayed but grilled each person as they came into the room. To the anesthesiologist, she questioned every drug, every needle, every move. To the nurses, she wanted to know exactly who would be in the room -- specifically making sure the first one didn’t come back. To the doctors, she again questioned each step.
Lying quietly, waiting for the anesthesia to kick in, Dianne could hear the nurses whisper, “She’s an RN.” Knowing that RN’s or registered nurses and medical professionals in general make the worst patients, she chuckled to herself. When she apologized to the nurse anesthetist for how she acted with the first nurse, the woman kindly offered to pray before surgery. Dianne nodded, tears streaming down her emotionally drained face.
In March of 1992, Dianne found a small lump on her right breast through self-examination. Being a registered nurse, she remembered that 80% of breast lumps are benign growths. Urged by her husband whose own mother died early of breast cancer, Dianne agreed to have a biopsy done.
In those days, patients could go directly to the family M.D. to get their lumps excised and tested. Concerned but optimistic, Dianne discussed the options with the doctor as he removed the tissue and sutured the incision. The next three days were the longest Dianne had ever endured as she waited for results.
“You have cancer,” blurted a new surgeon. No attempt to sugarcoat the diagnosis, the doctor told Dianne she must have it removed in the next three days. Feeling like someone had just thrown a pitcher of cold water in her face, Dianne left the office in a state of shock.
“Me? Breast Cancer? Could the lab have made a mistake? But I am only 44 years old and have always been healthy. How could this be? Why, God? Why me?” With questions flooding through her head, Dianne answered her own questions with “Why not you?” which she feels came straight from the Lord.
“She’s an RN.” Knowing that RN’s or registered nurses and medical professionals in general make the worst patients, she chuckled to herself.
Following the diagnosis, Dianne was drawn to the creation around her. The grass and trees seemed suddenly greener; the sky more blue; the clouds more puffy and white. Dianne shares, “It was suddenly like God provided me with an enhanced vision of His creation. I wondered how long I’d remain on earth to view and appreciate it. I shamefully thought to myself how I had failed to thank God for His handiwork.”
Dianne had the lumpectomy with good results, with tests showing no lymph node involvement and no metastasis of the cancer. For having cancer, Dianne had one of the better kinds.
Surviving radiation therapy, Dianne continued to struggle with life and death issues, fearing the return of cancer. Once you have cancer, it is a shadow that follows you the remainder of your life. How you cope is the key.
Sixteen years after the first diagnosis, Dianne was struck again with a more challenging case. Another lump was found but determined to be benign, despite the growth Dianne could feel happening. Waiting until after the holidays for another mammogram, the doctor was livid to learn three other doctors had missed a malignant tumor, due to insufficient tissue obtained thru needle biopsy for evaluation. A mastectomy followed shortly.
Not willing to accept chemotherapy since there was no lymph node involvement, Dianne took mega-doses of Vitamin C intravenously. This form of treatment is still being researched for possible prevention of cancer metastasis. She began taking several herbal preparations for further prevention.
About five months later, a chest wall recurrence was noted and was again determined to be “benign” by needle biopsy. Again, records indicating “insufficient tissue for evaluation” caused the labs to be incorrect. Dianne advises, “Always obtain all written lab and biopsy results. It is your right. This simple procedure may save your life.”
Dianne was strongly advised to have additional surgery to remove any remaining cancer cells followed by chest wall radiation and hyperthermia. Spending time with other patients, Dianne recalls a time of great spiritual growth and opportunity to share the message of the Gospel. During this time, she began writing down her thoughts, scriptures and experiences related to cancer and the treatments. She offers, “Through the grace of God, I have survived three episodes of early stage cancer.”
Dianne has shared her cancer story and listened to many others for several years. A common thread running through most of them is the woman’s fear of death. For believers, it is not the fear of death itself, but the fear of how we will get there. Will there be extreme pain and suffering? How will our family left behind cope when we are gone? What will this transition be like? For unbelievers, there is simply fear of the unknown.
Knowing the fear women have when faced suddenly with cancer, Dianne hopes her story can help others through medical malpractice, treatment, family issues and most of all, give the hope that there is life after death when you put your whole hope and belief in Christ. In this world, that belief translates into peace, contentment, strength and joy to endure whatever life brings our way.
Dianne Pomon is the director of the Genesis Pregnancy Center in Pottstown, PA where, for 17 years, she has helped girls in crisis pregnancies deal with every issue life has to offer.
Visit their site at www.genpcc.org
Thank you Dianne, for sharing your Story with us.
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