Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Doctor's waiting rooms pt 2.

As some of you know, for about a month my husband, Skip, has been suffering from what we thought was extreme sciatica. Terrible pain. And weird cramps, tingling, numbness. He was unable to sit or lay down, so no rest—and nothing seemed to help the pain. So, we made the round of docs- -and had lots of tests. An MRI and dexascan showed a mass located at the sacrum (right above the tailbone) and another hot spot at the base of Skip’s skull. So last week the back surgeon referred Skip to the Simon Cancer Center to see an oncologist.

Horrible week waiting for the oncology consultation. We went yesterday- and the news is good, compared to the worst we feared-- but also not so good. The doc thinks Skip has a “giant cell tumor” in the bone at his sacrum. This is a Nazi tumor—it has already eaten away a good section of bone and is beginning to encroach on the nerve canal (hence the pain, tingling etc).So it’s a good thing we caught it before there was any permanent nerve damage. As for the skull "hot spot," an anomaly, the doc says.

There will be a biopsy this week, just to confirm that it’s little “c” cancer (the kind that doesn’t spread to other parts of your body and metastasize). At the same time, they'll do another CT-scan to get a better pic of that skull "hot spot." Once we’re positive what we’re dealing with, there will be major surgery to remove the tumor and scrape out the inside of the bone— recovery won’t be fun, but no chemo, no radiation, and no sword of Damocles hanging over our heads. And new pain meds! Percoset, which seems to be helping with the worst of Skip's pain.

In the meantime, I went to the doc this morning. I have a rash which is either shingles or poison ivy. I haven't been out in the yard for ages, and the garden looks like a Rousseau painting-- all jungle lush and full of neighborhood cats. The cats and I are great friends, so I may indeed have gotten poison ivy from my favorite felines.

So two long doctor waiting room stretches and I finished Eileen Myles's Inferno. Two particularly gorgeous passages right at the end. "The place I found was carved out of sadness and sex and to write a poem there you merely needed to gather." And a little later, "In that place (and poetry is most of all a mastery of places, not the world but the weather of the states that form your life and what you read and how things were taken and what came back) each of these series of occurrences creates a season" (p. 261).

Harvey Pekar and wife Joyce did that marvelous book, Our Cancer Year. For Skip and I, it's the season of little c.

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