Gail B's Story

gail patient story pageGetting sick while on vacation is never fun. But if Gail B hadn’t caught a bad bug while in Florida she wouldn’t have gotten chest x-rays and a CAT scan which lead doctors to discover the abnormal spot on her lung.

In 2012, while vacationing in Florida in the early spring, Gail B got sick. After her cough refused to get any better, she went to see a doctor. Several tests later, it was recommended that she see a pulmonologist. Gail turned to Dr. Michael Dunn of Henry Ford, who was the pulmonologist for her husband years prior. Gail’s test results were sent to Dr. Dunn at Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital. He determined that the spot on her lung was not concerning at that time. To be safe, he had Gail come in for a CAT scan every six months to keep an eye on it and watch for growth or change.

In December 2015, nearly 4 years later, Gail’s CAT scan revealed that the spot had gotten bigger since her last visit. Dr. Dunn referred her to Dr. Miguel Alvelo-Rivera, a thoracic surgeon at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. Gail made the trip downtown to have a PET scan done. PET scans are used to identify diseases within the body using a special dye. Usually, when there is cancer the scan “lights up.” The results of Gail’s scan were not indicative of cancer, but to make sure, surgery was scheduled to remove the spot. Gail was hesitant at first when she learned that her surgery would be downtown but praises her experience and her care there.

Gail had surgery in February 2016 to remove the spot on her lung through a process called wedge resection. Tests done during the procedure revealed that the spot was, in fact, lung cancer. For precautionary measures, some surrounding tissue and a few lymph nodes were also removed. Fortunately for Gail, the cancer had not spread elsewhere.

“I healed very well, thank the Lord,” Gail said. She spent 8 days in the hospital recovering from her procedure, and while she did experience some shortness of breath, that was to be expected. Since then, Gail returned to see Dr. Rivera at Henry Ford in the fall and on February 28, 2017 for CAT scans to check for any cancer. Gail is considered cancer free!

Fortunately, the spot on her lung was caught early enough that it could be monitored over the course of several years. For someone who had both parents pass away from cancer, it was important to monitor anything that could potentially end up being cancerous. When a change in the spot was noticed, she was able to have the cancer removed without needing to go through chemotherapy or radiation. She thanks her doctors, Dr. Dunn and Dr. Rivera. “They are outstanding doctors,” she said. She is also thankful for the “wonderful care at downtown Henry Ford”. Thanks to the hospital’s commitment to care, Gail is back to living her life as normal including playing bridge every week and visiting her friends in Florida over the holidays.

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