I thought I’d use this little lull before surgery to answer a few Frequently Asked Questions.
Keep reading to see why I included this pic
Is the mass benign?
We don’t know and won’t have details until it’s removed. The surgeon will not do a biopsy because the mass is nicely contained right now. Puncturing it for a biopsy could release dangerous cells into my body.
So far, my tests seem to be pointing to a non-functioning tumor (meaning it is not making hormones like cortisol). While that makes my surgery prep easier, in that the doctors won’t have to replace the hormones before removing the mass, it doesn’t tell us if the mass is benign or malignant.
Update (9/15/16): my jug test results are in and they are also normal. This means that the mass does not seem to be producing hormones. Here’s what Merck has to say about that. I’m trying to take those stats plus many people saying that adrenal cancers are very rare as good news.
A couple of days ago, I made the trek uptown to see the new tumor doctor for the read on my MRI.
The hospital, Mount Sinai, feels like a haul every time I go there. It isn’t close to the subway and that part of Manhattan is hilly. Choose the wrong street and suddenly you’re walking uphill way more than your chosen shoes will tolerate.
I’m usually nervous as I approach the hospital. Each time, I have wondered to myself if this might be the time I’m told “the tumor grew and you need to have it removed.”
There have been times when I have cried in nervous anticipation on my way to the appointment, and others when I have cried upon leaving, feeling relief.
This time, I walked from the subway thinking “Please, universe, no more bad news. I can’t take even one more thing.”
I am lying on my back in a metal tube. Not flat on my back but slightly tilted toward my right side. My left arm is raised up with my hand wrapped around my head.
It occurs to me that I might look like Elizabeth Wurtzel on her book cover although older, not as skinny and without the dead eyes (maybe).
Rights reserved by author and publisher
I don’t have dead eyes, at least not now, because my eyes are closed. Keeping one’s eyes closed is Rule #1 of not freaking out during an MRI. Rule #2 for most people is taking Xanax, but I am disciplined – for once in my life – about not opening my eyes so I don’t need Rule #2. Continue reading →