A veterinarian's life-saving story

UF associate professor writes book about her second chance at life

GAINESVILLE, FlaSarah Boston, DVM, DVSc, Associate professor of Surgical Oncology at the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Florida knows her second chance at life is not a coincidence. That's because it took her persistence and determination to fight for it.

"I found a mass in my neck and because of my experience treating thyroid cancer in dogs, I knew that it was in my thyroid and I knew that it was a new mass and I was very suspicious that it was a thyroid carcinoma," explained Boston. 

But she says it took a lot of convincing to get her doctors to believe something was actually wrong and to finally get an ultrasound showing the mass. Several doctors didn't even think it was cancer.

"My husband is a large animal vet so I took matters into my own hands and I asked him to bring home their shiny new ultrasound machine that they had for breeding horses and cows. Unfortunately what I saw was very consistent with what I see in dogs and with Thyroid carcinoma and I was pretty sure that's what it was," Boston explained.

So she went back to her doctor's office with those images and she was able to get a more urgent referral.

"From the time I found the mass until the time I was able to see a surgeon it was about a month and a half," she said.

But that lack of urgency isn't something her four legged patients and their owners worry about.

"The first time I met her, she referred to him as your baby. She also got things done very quickly which is a direct contrast to I think what humans have to deal with when they're dealing with a diagnosis with cancer," said dog owner, Laura Capolon,

Having beaten her own illness, her advice is simple.

"I definitely recommend people get a hold of their own cytology and histopathology reports and try to read it themselves and if they can't understand it find someone who is able to do that, because I was able to do that for myself," Boston said.

She tells her entire story of hope and determination in her new book: "Lucky Dog: How Being a Veterinarian Saved My Life."