Tuesday, April 22, 2014
.... the CT results and what is next...
....in this journey.....
I arrive at the clinic after spending most of the day at a local high school getting familiar with their greenhouse and then heading off to a local greenhouse grower to ask them a few questions and to pick up some seeds. It seems I know someone everywhere I go and within minutes of arriving at Parkway Gardens, righting a fallen tree outside the entrance doors, I spot Mario but first he has to attend to a curious furry visitor who is now making its way between the two layers of roofing plastic that forms the greenhouse. Upon his return he notes that he has only a few short minutes until they can locate the travelling raccoon. Thumping noises announce the ascent of an employee on an external ladder...an eerie shadow cast on the gloomy roof covering and the sound of muffled voices has Mario keeping a close watch over his shoulder. The humidity hangs in the air. Its a sharp contrast from yesterday's sunny and warm temperatures to today's cool, windy and overcast skies. Questions answered in a common sense manner and quick as Mario is called once again to attend to the re-discovered 'bandit'. A quick wave bye and I head over to the seeds. The majority of my plants have expired.... too cold with the garage door left open so long. We have a gameplan for next year to remedy this. For now, the urban garden has been built and we are just awaiting soil this week.
I head home to write letters of reference for my students and get lost in time until I stare at the clock.... where did the time go? I have to head out to the hospital to see the oncologist and to discuss my CT results. Today will be an exceptionally long wait. It doesn't often happen but then there are always reasons why. The reason became clear when I asked the lady sitting adjacent and a few seats down if she was OK? She turned and smiled and then we both began to chat. Her hair above her ears is sparse in comparison to the hair on the crown and down her neck. She has a brain tumour. Most of it was removed by surgery but there is still some in there which is growing. She was told that she only has a year at best. She asks me if I have ever been depressed? Yes, it spurts and then it culminated at Christmas when all I wanted to do was sleep and let the world go by....and then that spark of hope in the form of radiation which got me going in a really positive direction. It helped that I had the support of family, friends, colleagues and students. She tells me about her brothers and how they rallied around her in her time of need. She is alone otherwise and I cannot imagine what was going on in her thoughts when she had one seizure after another and not being aware that she was growing a sizeable tumour in her head and no one to notice until it was almost too late.
A man approaches us and asks Deb to move to another chair. He has to set up a ladder next to the railing in order to guide a rather oversized poster into place. I watch as they swing it into place on cables and note that the rope attaching these circular posters one beneath the other is tangle around the uppermost one. The gentleman had to return step up onto the ladder to right the situation and then voila, success!!! He looks down and grins widely. He has been joking with me since Deb was called in for her appointment.....when she was finally called, she stood and we shook hands and wished each other well.... then she turned to look at me and thanked me for asking her how she was. I just knew she needed someone to talk to.... and I recognized the anxiety written all over her face. I watched as she moved through the door and silently wished her all the best. Now she and the man are gone and it is just me and a few others left in the waiting room. The patient reception is closed and the staff are chatting in front of the closed window planning out the next day's activities.
It has been a long wait but finally my pager comes to life in my hand. BRRR BRRR BRRR. The nurse heads out of the door from the patient reception and guides me to an exam room. The doctor will be right with you but first she asks how I am feeling? Are you in pain? Any concerns? Are your bowels a light colour? Well, they were red today because of the beets I juiced this morning! She laughs and says that she loves beets but never considered juicing them? She heads out the door once she is satisfied she has collected enough information and within a few minutes Dr. Locke steps through the door. How are you? He reaches out to shake my hand and we smile at each other. Let's talk about the report....
The report indicates an active spot in my chest and neck and of course there is now a shadow in the liver near where we have effectively killed the first liver lesion. Do we know if there are any more in there? No. That's the thing about cancer.... there could be hundreds of lesions but not detectable until they become large enough for the contrast to light them up in an MRI or CT scan. Good news - the lesion targeted by radiation in the liver is gone. Bad news besides the shadow in the IVC of the liver is the lesion in the neck is larger. Of course it is. I can feel it. Other than that, he grins, you are perfectly healthy. I laugh at the irony of this. I feel good and am keeping active. What's next? Well, he says, we have an appointment for you on the 2 May with the Chemotherapist and of course your ultrasound in the morning on that day. He likely will not do anything with regards to chemotherapy but yes, there are still options available for you should the need arrive. By 'need' he means life saving.... Any questions? No, not at this time. OK, well then, we will see you in 3 months for a follow-up with CT scan but for now, you will be with Dr. Younis. We shake hands and I leave to go home....2 1/2 hours after arriving.
I call Max on my way home and let him know the good news bad news scenario. No surprises there. So we do what we always do.... turn up the radio, drive through traffic and contemplate life... today's life exercise...how I will section off the garden to plant the vegetables...life goes on.
***note: We build the entire above ground vegetable garden during the long weekend when our obnoxious neighbors went out of town.... wonder what they thought when they came upon this... my lovely beautiful new Urban garden. I want to thank my soul mate for spending time with us to create this wonderful garden with me..... I weaved the willow fence in the front.... thank you to Mitchel who helped and to Lydia for making yummy lunches for us. xoxoxoxo