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Watching 'Grey's Anatomy' Saved My Life, Mom With Cancer Says

A mom from Israel says watching her favorite TV show saved her life after a storyline prompted her to seek a second opinion on a cancer diagnosis.
Sarit Fishbaine and husband, Noam.
Sarit Fishbaine and husband, Noam.Courtesy of Sarit Fishbaine

TEL AVIV, Israel — Who said that watching television was a waste of time?

Israeli mother-of-three Sarit Fishbaine says that watching her favorite medical drama, "Grey’s Anatomy," saved her life after a storyline prompted her to seek a second opinion.

The 35-year-old felt an unusual lump on her breast two years ago and had it checked out by a doctor, who told her everything was normal and it was likely to be milk because she was breastfeeding.

Six months later, she still felt a l arge lump despite having finished breastfeeding — but dismissed her concerns until she saw an episode of "Gray's Anatomy" in which a young mother undergoes a mastectomy after her cancer was initially mistaken for milk.

That episode — the fifth of season three — set off alarm bells for Fishbaine, who resolved to go for a second checkup just to be safe.

“That night I literally didn’t sleep,” she said. “I laid in bed and felt that lump, thinking ‘What could it be?”

The next morning, she called the clinic and asked for an appointment. “The checkup went on and on," she said. "I kept asking the doctor ‘What is it? Is it milk?”

The doctor sent Fishbaine for an urgent mammogram and biopsy, which showed cancer.

“I started six months of chemo right away and after that I had surgery, I had a mastectomy and then I had radiation therapy so I got the full package,” said the mother, who lives in Kvutzat Yavne, a religious kibbutz in the center of Israel. “I love Grey’s Anatomy and I love watching TV and I think God works in mysterious ways and that watching that TV show was probably my sign.”

Today, she is slowly recovering and trying to regain her life back.

“I have a wonderful family and a great network of friends who helped me throughout the process and I couldn’t do this without them,” she explained.

The remarkable tale was recognized over the weekend when Shonda Rhimes — the screenwriter, director, and producer of "Grey’s Anatomy" — posted a mention of Fishbaine's story on her official Facebook page with just one word: “Humbling.”