"Listen to your doctor. I did and I'm alive today."
As a critical care nurse in the Intensive Care Unit’s surgical recovery room for most of his 46 years at BMC, Bill Chazey, 66, of Windsor, had plenty of experience with the life-and-death realities of his profession. He also gained a deep respect for the knowledge and skill of physicians who treat very sick patients every day.
Two years ago, when his primary care physician recommended that he have a low-dose CT scan based on his history of smoking a pack of cigarettes a day, Bill didn’t hesitate. That first scan detected no issues, just a sigh of relief. A year later at his annual physical, even though he still had no outward symptoms, Bill’s doctor recommended the same scan. This time, the scan revealed something that had developed over the previous 12 months – a small spot on the middle lobe of his right lung. A follow-up PET scan “lit up like a Christmas tree,” and he knew right away that doctors would recommend swift surgical intervention.
“I was offered a choice of surgery or surgery, so I chose surgery,” he said wryly. In January of 2016, surgeon Christian Galvez, MD, removed a Stage II lymph node from Bill’s lung. The surgery was followed by a three-month course of chemotherapy at the BMC Cancer Center. By the end of the year, after continued scans and checkups, there were no signs of lingering cancer. He will continue to be tested.
Bill Chazey is a living, breathing example of how early screening for lung cancer can save lives. Screening is a simple, quick and painless procedure. “There’s nothing to be afraid of. It’s not all that much different from having a chest x-ray,” he said.
“Listen to your doctor,” Bill advised. “I did, and I’m alive today because I listened. If you’re not going to believe and trust your doctor, you’re making a big mistake. You’re risking your life unnecessarily.”