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No news was not good news for one mother who found out later she had cervical cancer

Friday, January 18, 2013

What happens when you take a medical test? Do you always call and check on the results? Or like the woman in this story, do you think "no news is good news?"

Susan Daniels is living every woman's nightmare, in which the one thing you overlook, turns deadly.

"I never got results from my pap smear. And I found out two years later written on the side of the paper. Tried to contact, but couldn't reach," Daniels said.

An ultrasound done at the same time was normal. And Daniels was taking care of her husband who had surgery to remove a large, benign brain tumor. While she was busy -- not focused on herself -- cervical cancer was growing. It took two more years to find it.

"That's when I discovered I had a tumor so large it was inoperable. Good fortune got me here to Dr. Lee," said Daniels.

Doctor Christine Lee gave her two options: one year to live or a surgery so radical that Daniels had to think about it. But she wanted to survive for her three daughters and husband.

"The concept behind the surgery is to remove all the parts in the pelvis," said Dr. Lee.

In the eight-hour surgery, Dr. Lee removed Daniels' bladder, urethra, the uterus, the vagina, the colon, and the rectum. All necessary to get the cancer out. Then they began the reconstruction surgery.

She now has a colostomy and a urostomy.

"A major operation but often times the only chance for long term survival," Dr. Lee said.

One year later, Daniels is cancer free and working full-time.

"It just makes me proud she could recover so fast," said her daughter, Margaret Daniels.

"She's a special lady. She's done great and I love her very much," said her husband, David Daniels.

Eleven-year-old Margaret is grateful to have both her parents.

"It means so much to me I want to spend every day with them," Margaret said.

Daniels is not bitter, but she wants to spare others her heartbreak.

"I want other people to know you have to take responsibility for yourself," she said.

And keep calling until you get the results of your tests.

Another lesson from this story is to get a second opinion. Her first doctor told her that her cancer was inoperable. But Dr. Lee was able to operate and save Daniels' life using a rare surgery that worked.
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