Tag Archives: Dr. E

Summer of Suck 2.0: My lucky day (finally)

Last night, Dr. E texted me.

“Just checked. Pathology report not yet back.”

She knew I would be having my first post-op visit with Dr. S today and hoped to manage my expectations. Dr. E is thoughtful and kind like that.

The medical team had warned me that the report could take a week and I had been driving myself crazy, trying to decide what “a week” meant. Was it one week to the day from my surgery? Or perhaps one week from the day after my surgery to allow time for my excised tumor to be transported to the lab?

I opted not to bother the doctors or their staff with my pointless worrying. The report would arrive when it arrived. Nothing gave me the impression that the analysis of my tumor was anything but a priority.

So I arrived at Dr. S’s offices today expecting to have the dressings on my five incisions changed, to be weighed and to have a conversation about swelling and expectations for improvement. Dr. S’s PA J, who has been my go-to for email questions, thought all but one of the incisions looked very good. Just the one by my hip will need some extra TLC.

I told J about my appetite swings – from ravenous to unable to eat anything in the span of minutes – which she pronounced as normal for the post-op period. While I had a few days of pretty normal eating (just small portions), I suddenly found myself unable to tolerate much beyond applesauce and toast. And it showed when I stepped onto the scale: ten pounds lost, approximately two of which was the tumor.

Did I mention that the mass was enormous? I feel tumor-famous with Dr. S’s staff. Either that or they think I’m dumb and oblivious for not realizing I had a giant burrito in my belly. But whatever.

With my dressings changed, J called for Dr. S.

After a cursory examination of my exposed belly, he put both of his hands on my forearm and gave me the good news that the just-in pathology report revealed my tumor was NOT either of the worst possibilities (adrenocortical carcinoma or a form of lymphoma).

Instead, the mass was found to be something called a “oncocytic tumor with low malignancy potential.” I will need regular follow up in the forms of scans, but this was a good outcome.”You got very lucky,” he said, somehow mixing gravitas with a gentle smile.

Today Dr. S acted differently toward me than during our previous encounters. While I would never call him “cold,” he was clinical and didn’t waste a minute. I chalked that up to his life as a surgeon, his role as Chair of Surgery and the number of patients he sees each day. It didn’t bother me (at all) for I came to him for his expertise, not his friendship. Now I am grateful for not just his professionalism, but also his humanity.

As soon as Dr. S left the room, I burst into tears. All of the fear I had tried to keep in check finally leaked out via my eyes.

I’m waiting for J to email me the full pathology report [so I can google like a madwoman] but the reality is, I’ll probably crash before the message arrives. Recently I haven’t been sleeping well, even with the pain medication, but I am hopeful that this good news lets me relax a little.

Once I get through the next few weeks of healing, you should fully expect me to live like someone who just got very lucky.

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Summer of Suck 2.0 – Part Seven: White Knuckles

Tomorrow morning I will walk to the subway, hoping no one jostles me and hoping that I don’t see anyone I know. I will wish for a cloak of invisibility.

My worst nightmare, only for tomorrow, is getting mugged. I’m worried about muggings not because that sort of thing is common in Williamsburg (not at all), but because tomorrow, for one day only, I will be carrying a large orange jug full of twenty-four hours’ worth of my own urine with me like some kind of psycho.

Jug 20160901_204326

I still have to figure out how to actually carry the filled jug. Using a brown paper shopping, like when I picked it up, will not be an option. Too heavy (sorry. So gross.). I suppose one of my many drawstring bags from past events will have to be sacrificed for the cause, to be unceremoniously disposed of later when the job is done.


 

Otherwise, it’s status quo around here. Things are dull. I wouldn’t say “normal” because there’s nothing normal about this type of anticipation. But not much is happening.

I have a follow-up appointment Thursday regarding my finger. It hurts each morning when I first wake up, but improves throughout the course of the day. My hope is that the doctor pronounces this as expected because I really don’t want to start another course of antibiotics.

Tomorrow I should also hear the results of my second round of hormone-focused blood work. Round one was “mostly normal?” Yeah, the question mark is the sound of Dr. E’s voice each time we discuss the findings. Only my cortisol was slightly off–just slightly enough that I had to have a three or four more vials of blood drawn yesterday.

Just a reminder: the results of the blood work won’t provide a diagnosis, only a treatment plan as far as the need to replace hormones (or not).

On Friday, I am scheduled to have my pre-op physical. The hospital told me to expect it to take up to two hours so I’m thinking of using a vacation day for that plus a trip to the DMV. Might as well stack the drudgery, right?

My drivers’ license expires on my birthday and NYS now requires a fresh vision test either at the DMV or at a participating optometrist. Between that, my desire for a new license photo, the need to update my address (oops, I’m late) and the fact that I’ll be recovering from surgery when it expires, now seems like the time to do it.

With one exception, I feel like I am managing my new reality a bit better since getting the relative certainty of a surgery date. Having the date in mind, has given me a clear timeline of what needs to get done and by what day.

But I can’t sleep much at night and that’s a drag. My mind won’t rest, wondering about what it will all be like: the incisions, that lousy feeling of being awakened from general anesthesia when all you want to do is rest, the pain, the diagnosis and what comes next. One of my doctors prescribed Klonopin and while I filled it, I haven’t leaned on it much so far. But perhaps now is the time.

 

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