Ask Destinites: An Unusual Valentine’s Day


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Patricia Lee DestinitesBy Patricia Lee, Owner

For this month’s article, instead of sharing community thoughts or concerns from our Facebook Destinites Group (, I would like to share a personal Valentine’s Day story. Picture it—February 14, 2005—an almost 47-year-old lady in the hospital having just gone through surgery for a right mastectomy due to breast cancer. That lady was me and the surgery was followed by a grim diagnosis: stage 3C breast cancer.

Fifteen lymph nodes were removed and 14 were positive. Not only that, but the cancer had broken through the cells and were now running through my bloodstream. I later asked my Oncologist if I would live to see my son graduate high school. He sadly looked down at the ground as he said, “Probably not.” It’s important to note that my son was in 3rd grade and my daughter was in 10th grade, at that time. They are now ages 29 and 35.

I did receive a miracle from God and I well remember that blessed night. There’s not enough room to include that story in this article, but if you would like the details, I am happy to share. Feel free to reach out to me ( Also, you can read my story in the November 2021 Destin Life edition at

The main point to this story, for the moment, is for you to know the following: The reason my diagnosis was so grim is because I was originally misdiagnosed. My doctor sent me to a surgeon, because she thought they would want to do a biopsy. However, they did an X-ray only and the surgeon walked in the room saying, “Good news! It’s not cancer.” Words I wanted to believe so badly. So, I trusted her. I later learned that there was no way she could have known for sure if it was cancer or not without doing a biopsy. I didn’t know she couldn’t tell just from looking at an X-ray. She hung a name on the knot and told me that they never bother with “those.” I said, “What if it starts to grow and bothers me?” She said, “If that happens, we might possibly remove it. But, normally, we just leave these types of knots alone.”

Well, it did grow, but I wasn’t worried about it at the time since she said so emphatically that it wasn’t cancer. However, I did eventually get it looked at and that is when the truth was discovered. But, it was too late.

My point is, please be proactive with taking care of yourself. Don’t get excited just because a doctor is giving you news you want to hear. If something on or in your body doesn’t look or feel right and you are told it’s nothing to worry about, go get a second opinion. I never dreamed that the surgeon would dare play with my life that way; but, she certainly did. Second opinions can save a lot of heartache, suffering and maybe even save your life. Yes, it’s a little trouble, but your life is worth it. You matter! Just do it!

If you are a Destin resident or in the close surrounding area, I invite you to join our private group at groups/Destinites with more than 9,500 members (Est. Oct. 2018). Check out our monthly newsletters and sponsored local business directory at