I’m not fond of doctors. I don’t hold them in ethereal awe as all-knowing. Instead, I think of them as a necessary annoyance. You might ask why and I’ll tell you it is probably because I’ve had more poking and prodding than the average person should.
You see 14.5 years ago I was given a death sentence and while it was ‘only’ four to five months that I was to live, I chose instead to become a human guinea pig. (BLOG) As a result, I obviously survived.
Here’s the thing though when you survive. They want to know WHY. As a result they want you to come in at least once a month for that first year, twice a year after that, until finally it’s a health check once year. I’m not the most patient of people and I didn’t go in for years. As I get older though and other health concerns come up, I go in a little more frequently.
This last summer I had pneumonia. In fact, those of you who met me in New Orleans for the Golden Crown Literary Society conference may not have known it but I was sick…very sick. I hid it quite well, had a good time, but there is much about that conference I simply do not remember due to the way I was feeling. When I got back from the trip I went directly to the hospital, I had the car rental guy drop me off there! Walking pneumonia turned to viral pneumonia and that hung on for eight weeks! The doctor called for a follow up visit a couple of weeks ago because pneumonia is one of those things that can come back easily. So I went in on a Thursday in October for a chest x-ray. They called me on Friday because there was an area of concern that they had seen over the summer that seemed to be worse and they wanted an MRI. That MRI was Monday. As I left, the technician said we will let you know in 5-7 days. Well, anyone who knows me knows that I’m NOT going to wait that long for any test results. I went across the medical center to my doctor’s office and asked if there was anything they could do ‘hurry this along,’ as it were. I said the things going through my brain (yes I am imaginative) would be more damaging than anything physical they could do. The doctor called two days later.
When you have a mass the size I did over my heart/lung (mine was four inches across) and they shrink it, the body has to fill that empty space. As a result, calcium can fill it in. Well this calcium was cause for concern. Apparently she believed I ‘may’ have a two inch tumor in my heart (or so she said at first) in my aortic arch (whatever that is). Looking such things up in Web MD, I do NOT recommend. You will only find yourself ‘sicker’ than you believe with all that helpful information. My doctor, who is one of the most thorough women you ever want to meet, was meeting with the x-ray people and others because they thought this two inch (whatever) was growing. Only they thought it was in my lung, over the heart. Well, I can be blunt and I called bullshit. You know, knowledgeable and educated people of that caliber tend to be taken aback when you challenge them. I’m challenging enough but I’m also educated and knowing about what has happened to me. They wanted to wait three months to ‘see’ if it grew more, as we had from this last summer. I happened to know that lung cancer is one of the fastest growing cancers there is and I wasn’t going to sit back and wait. I told her so too. I also challenged why all the other MRI’s and chest x-rays weren’t available for comparison.
Here’s the thing. Where I live here in the Northwood’s, they have two health systems. Apparently they don’t share information…unless you ask. My doctor, while extremely competent, didn’t have all the information she needed to do the comparison. I was convinced that the two inch ‘mass’ she was telling me about was a shadow, reduced from the four inch mass that had been there fourteen years ago. I found it too much of a coincidence that in nearly the same place as I had a tumor before there was one now, it had to be scar tissue. I told her so too. So, she sent for the information. If not from across town we were going to send to Stanford for the results of my experimental procedure and all the data that we could get to compare…before and after. This all takes time. As I mentioned before I am not the most patient of people.
I told a few friends, but I also stated, I’m not fighting if this is what they think it is…you see, I fought so hard when I was younger and it took everything out of me. That procedure was so horrible, I was so sick, that I don’t even want to remember it. Much of it I have blocked out and forgotten. I don’t want a repeat of it, in any form. So, I’ve already made my decision. I won’t fight it if the fates give me cancer again because I don’t have it in me to fight it again.
Fortunately I didn’t have to make that dire decision. I was right. I don’t like saying ‘I told you so,’ I really don’t, but in this case… The doctor called today to tell me the ‘mass’ is indeed the shadow, the scar tissue from old. I’m terrible about scarring on the outside, I can imagine what I’m like on the inside where all this went on. It’s been a rough couple of weeks I’ll tell you, but I got a lot of tears and lot of thoughts out of the way. It’s amazing how much you introspect when something like this happens to you. So I’m here for a while yet, to tell more of my stories, to annoy my friends (lol), and to keep going…until next time!
I once wrote about my cancer by giving one of my characters my cancer and some of what I went through. I didn’t have to embellish it, it was dramatic enough. If you want to read that story, please check out my book GERMANIC here on my website at www.kannemeinel.com. I recently upgraded my website, take a look around, it’s fantastic what technology can do!
See you around cyber!