2011-08-03 / News

Routine x-ray saves Lexington woman’s life

BY MARGARET WHITMER Reporter


Yvonne Fagan Yvonne Fagan Yvonne Fagan went to an orthopedic physician because she had a sore shoulder.

The last thing she expected was that he would discover she had lung cancer.

“Now every time I go to see him I tell him he saved my life,” said Fagan, 77, of Lexington.

Fagan is now cancerfree and she credits a routine x-ray taken in October 2008 by Dr. Wilmont Kreis of Orthopedic Associates of Port Huron.

“I went for a bad shoulder and he gave me a cortisone shot, but he also took this x-ray,” Fagan said. “On it there was a little spot near my rib. He thought it might be a spot near my lung and he’d like me to get a CT scan, which I did. It turned out I had cancer.

“I was just blown away,” said Fagan. “I had no symptoms. I had no cough. I wasn’t tired. I had quit smoking at fifty. I was a very healthy woman. But I found out my younger and older sisters had both died of lung cancer.”

About a month later, Fagan saw a pulmonologist while wintering in Florida, who confirmed she had cancer in her left lower lobe. She had her lower lobe removed in November 2008 in Venice, Fla. and went through chemotherapy in 2009.

When she returned to Michigan in the fall of 2009, she had a positron emission tomography (PET) scan, which showed that the chemotherapy hadn’t worked.

She went through a course of radiation. She was fortunate in that she didn’t have many bad reactions to the radiation, she said.

Fagan was declared cancer free in 2010 and again this year.

“I’m hanging in there and I feel great!” She said. “With lung cancer, you normally don’t make it. I wanted to give Dr. Kreis credit for being a wonderful doctor, because a lot of doctors don’t bother x-raying you for a cortisone shot.”

Dr. Kreis said he considers an initial x-ray essential for any new patient.

“Sometimes people are critical of too many x-rays and some do order too many,” said Dr. Kreis. “But for any new patient, that first one is very important. Most doctors won’t take x-rays for a routine procedure. We pretty routinely will for pain in most things, especially when the source is not clear.”

He added, “Lung cancer often has no symptoms. Most malignancies are asymptomatic. What hurts is the pressure as the tumor grows and destroys other tissue.”

Now whenever Fagan visits Dr. Kreis, she always thanks him again with saving her life.

“It’s kind of nice when people are appreciative, too,” Dr. Kreis said.

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