Arizona surgeon inspires others after lung cancer diagnosis
TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) – You would never know that the director of surgery at Banner University Medical Center has only one lung as she crossed the finish line in a 5K race through the heart of Tucson early Sunday morning.
“Who needs two lungs?” “Said Dr Taylor Riall. “It’s been two months and 10 days since the operation.”
Dr Riall was diagnosed with lung cancer earlier this year.
âIn December 2020, during our biggest [COVID-19] thrust, I started to cough.[It was] a really unhappy time to start coughing because everyone thought you had COVID. It was just that kind of dry, incessant cough, âshe said.
Then January turned around and she had a chest x-ray.
âI had a lump in my left lung. There are a million things that could be, you know, nobody thinks of cancer and someone who is non-smoker and very, very healthy, âshe said.
She underwent a series of tests for COVID-19 and even valley fever before deciding to see a surgeon for a third opinion.
It was then that the surgeon usually treating cancer patients became the patient.
“It can’t be fair, you know?” Why me? It’s not fair, âshe said.
For the surgeon who never slowed down, the operation was a failure.
âThe operation took place on Friday. I had planned to get out of there on Sunday and had planned to go to our resident graduation ceremony the following Saturday. I thought I was just going to cross. I didn’t, “she said.
Although she had to deal with a collapsed lung and a longer-than-expected recovery time, she didn’t let it down.
She was back at cleaning and treating the Tucsonans shortly thereafter.
âIt changed my perspective as a doctor, especially taking care of patients who come up with one thing that just changed my level of empathy – being able to really understand what they’re going through,â he said. she explains.
Brilliant as she crossed the finish line in less than twenty-five minutes, her resilience continues to inspire those around her.
âI love to run and I’m happy to know I can do it. Life is too short not to do the things you love, âshe said.