Monthly Archives: September 2016

At the oncologist

Let’s start this while I wait and see where it goes. My gastroenterologist suggested a tomography because my tummy is hard to tame and I went to the ER about a month ago, and the doctors initially suspected a blockage. I ruled it out immediately because I was pooping a massive flood and the nurses were already tired of wheeling me in my bed to the toilet, as their policy says, but I welcomed the tomography because it’s always better to see and know ahead than just waiting blindly. 

Results came in and there are calcifications here and there, and some could point to tumors, which scares me and makes me very nervous, because I should be clean. It is what it is. Dr. Internet said those things point to old lesions, but I need to hear the oncologist. For now the worst case would be a bad suspicion backed by my CEA marker requiring a PET. I haven’t seen the results of the CEA, because reality is tough, but I already downloaded them and asked the receptionists to print them for the doctor. It’s been a few minutes and they don’t call me yet. Sometimes my doctor arrives late. He once arrived casually for whatever other reason, not remembering my appointment. My wife said she just saw him, so it should be good. I brought the tomography in a USB I copied myself so he can keep it until our next appointment, and I copied the one from last year. I’m a smart patient, is like to say. We also brought mi wife’s laptop in case there was no other way to play the thing. 

I have been thinking a lot about my mortality. I tell my wife that it’s actually good, because if I were healthy and knowing nothing, it would come as a bucket of freezing water, and the surprising shock could be so bad that it can tear people apart. But I know the business I’m in, so the risks are known and I should be prepared to hear the most heartbreaking news, and I dearly hope I won’t. I dearly hope I will live. I dearly hope I will laugh at this when I’m eighty. 

My dad just turned seventy. We celebrated the last couple of weeks. I have him books he wanted and a CD player he needed. We went to a French restaurant yesterday and I enjoyed being with him and my uncles. They really had to be there. My dad lives with one of my aunt’s kidneys, and he has lived like that for about forty years almost. My aunt and my uncle also spent countless hijab Y my hospital bedside when I had my surgeries, and they are so dear to me. My wife, of course, was by my side and she has cared for me, supported me greatly, endured my storms and saved my life taking me to the ER so many times I can’t remember but the last one and the first one. My dad used to be a little sick most of the time when I was a kid, and because of this, I am a little ok with my current situation, far more sedentary than anybody my age. My dad now feels a lot better, and sometimes we talk about my future, wondering if I will feel like he does when I hit seventy. That would be very nice, but for now I am still covering from the heavy downpour that is this quarterly surveillance and uncertainty, I’m trying to do it as best I can. I don’t like the waiting room in oncology. It’s a ton of people and you don’t know anybody. Some women wear scarfs on their heads, and the rest you don’t know who is patient and who is company. When I was in radiotherapy we were an awesome bunch. I used to think of it as “the social club”. We all went there at the same hour every day, and while we were there rather briefly, we got to know each other a little bit. We used to share laughs and wish each other well. Everybody was kind and nice. We also got to see people in really bad shape every now and then, but that was not the norm. We used to sit and chat while waiting our turns. It was rather relaxing and encouraging, even though we knew that everybody was sick and we never knew what was going to happen to everybody. I hope they are around, remembering our “meetings”. 

It was raining outside and we’ve had three power failures already. The emergency power plant comes in soon and we don’t spend long in darkness. It’s now forty minutes after the appointment and we haven’t been called. Maybe the doctor isn’t here, I don’t know. 

The doctor just came in. My wife had mistaken somebody that looked like him, but he just arrived. He didn’t see us in the waiting room, but now he’s calling us in. 

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He looked at it all and decided to measure again in six weeks. The marker is a bit higher, and higher than the maximum safe value. My liquid balance issues make him want to wait this bit more before requesting a positron emission tomography. He looks very, very calm. He says I look very healthy, and I wouldn’t expect to feel any different even if I were starting to get into big trouble, but I do feel assurance. I am happy, even if there’s no reason to celebrate. A “we don’t know” is not a “you are as healthy as when you ran the marathon or when you biked the pacific coast”, but it isn’t a “the ship has sunk” either. We walked out and now it’s dark. I wanted the hot chocolate mexican style they are offering in Starbucks as one of the specials for this season, so I told my wife I’d buy her chocolate. I drank the hot chocolate from there to her car. I opened the passenger door for her, gave her the chocolate and drove off. The chocolate is ok, but it isn’t like the one brought from Oaxaca. It’s pretty good and it was gone soon. My heart is resting. The tension is gone for now. What can I do? The doctor is the one who knows and I never ask them to be simple on me, they know that I will do what they say it’s needed. Why worry? Why not worry? It’s my life what is being gambled, but I put my trust in this man, and he should have a good judgement to guide my health. 

Tomorrow is Tuesday, I will continue to work my shift, and then try to enjoy my time. I am reading a book (this books with 800 pages make me nervous, because as a cancer patient, you’d better hurry to make sure you will finish it!), I started building a plastic model airplane, and we have a young puppy that just became old enough to go out, so I have to walk him whenever possible. The little guy is awesome and keeps me happy. I will enjoy the coming six weeks and I will make an effort not to visit the ER during this time. On Friday I see my gastroenterologist, and I wonder if he will see in the tomography any reason that may explain why my tummy is so difficult and stubborn. I judge these problems outside of the domain of cancer. These problems explain why I have written almost nothing in the past two years. I hope I can write more often.