Friday, December 23, 2016

November 28, 2016 - Part II

Today marks 2 weeks post-op for me.  But, we are not quite there yet in this story.

I arrive at the radiologist clinic for my ultrasound.  I am still a bit in shock as to how quickly everything has moved.  I really wasn't expecting it to go like this.  I thought I would go in and Dr. Marum would know exactly what was wrong with me.  I would get a prescription and go home.  Things were getting a little bit scary.

The radiology office knew I was coming.  I checked in and they said there was an appointment available at 1 pm.  At this point, it was about 11:45 am.  They said the 1pm appointment would work perfectly.  When had I last eaten?  I had a bowl of cereal at 8am and missed my morning snack.  Perfect - I had to fast for at least 5 hours.  With over an hour to appointment time, I had a chance to drink plenty of fluid to get my bladder full - another requirement for the procedure.  I had already missed more work than expected for the day.  It was 2 days before our fiscal year end and I had plenty of work to get done.  They offered to re-schedule me, but I was already there.  I texted work and started drinking water.

The wait was horrible.  I didn't bring a book because I hadn't expected this to happen.  There was no regular TV in the waiting area - it was a stupid professional channel that flashed information about the practice interspersed with 5-10 clips from various TV shows.  It was hardly entertaining.  I did have my phone, but after a bit I just closed my eyes and tried to meditate.  I had a full bladder and an empty stomach - I was ready to be done.

After what seemed like forever, the tech called me back. I got settled on the table and the hour long ultrasound procedure started. The tech noted that I had been in 10 years ago for a quick version of this ultrasound.  She said they had found fibroids in my uterus - a very common non-cancerous growth.  I remembered that appointment.  She began the current ultrasound with great humor and friendly banter.  One of the first things she said was that I still had a fibroid, but this one was "the size of Texas."  I peed, moved in different positions, and was checked out all over my abdomen.  As we continued, it seemed that she became quieter and quieter.  I wasn't sure if she was concentrating or thinking, or worse of all, if she saw something truly scary.  She seemed a bit confused, too, especially while looking at the sides of my abdomen.  Finally, it was over.  I dressed, and she asked me to wait in the lobby per Dr. Marum's request.

My doctor wanted the ultrasound read immediately and requested I wait for the results.  After a few minutes, the tech came out just as my phone rang.  It was Dr. Marum.  She had already been appraised of the results and was calling to tell me she was going to refer me to a specialist at Duke.  She wanted me to see an oncologist who specialized in gynecology cases.  She would have her office set up the appointment as soon as possible and have them contact me.  I thanked her and prepared to check out.

The tech brought me a CD copy of my ultrasound to give to the specialist.  She half laughed and said that the radiologist didn't know what it was either.  Great - what a wonderful thing to say to a person after going through all of the things I had on that day.  Nice parting shot.

As I do with most things in my life, I shoved the worry to the side - to a place in my brain where I don't think about things too hard.  I called Bill and told him there was some sort of mass.  He was so sweet and caring and asked if I needed him.  I said I was going back to work and I would fill him in on the details later.  I went to the nearest fast food place for a late lunch (it was about 3pm), and went back to work as I said.  Thinking about it anymore would have to wait until a later time.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

November 28, 2016 - Part I

Something extraordinary has happened to me.  Something crazy.  I have decided a good way to deal with it is to write about it.  I could journal it, but it seems OK to write about my journey on this blog. Here is the story.

I had been feeling bloated for a few weeks.  I noticed by stomach was rather rigid at times, and it was sore when I tried to lay on it.  It didn't really get in the way of doing anything - I still exercised, slept, worked, and played.  Life went on, but it didn't seem right.  I was finally ready to have it checked.  So, I did what anyone would do - I made an appointment with my general practitioner.

When I called, they tried to stick my with a nurse practitioner at the practice.  She is great - I had gone to her earlier in the year for a different issue.  Of course, I had to go back several times and see a specialist to get it resolved finally.  I was leery of seeing her when the receptionist said my doctor did have an available space on the Monday after Thanksgiving.  I made my appointment with a sigh of relief.

I told her it was for an annual exam, but that I was also having issues with my abdomen.  I guess Dr. Marum thought that was the resin I was there.  It was good to see her - she has always done right by me.  She is overly cautious, but she is also very smart and very thorough.  We began the appointment as normal.  I told her about my abdomen issue and she felt my tummy.  She could immediately see what I meant.  Initially, she was not going to do a pelvic exam (I was not due for a pap smear), but she was a bit concerned by what she felt.  She also decided to take a pregnancy test.  Wouldn't it be funny if I were expecting?  I certainly hadn't planned for that in my life and I wasn't acting like a pregnant person should.  I was a little scared that could be the issue, but deep down I knew it was something else.  I was right.

After the pelvic exam where she decided to take a pap smear just in case, she left the room.  Before that, we had gone over my family history and I relayed that my paternal grandmother had uterine cancer.  It was like I had forgot about her cancer until the moment I told Dr. Marum.  I started to wonder and to fear if that could be what was happening here.  She returned to the exam room and told me to immediately go down the road to the diagnostic imaging office.  She had called to schedule a full ultrasound for me.  I was a little confused - right this minute?  Yes, right now.

I had taken an early lunch from work to go to my initial exam.  Now, I was heading to another office. It looked like it was going to be a long afternoon.