Monday, June 5, 2017

I Asked

So, we're sitting in the Radiation Oncologist's office, you know, like you do....

Kinda glad to see him...kinda not.

He's the one responsible for, essentially, being a main player in the medical team that saved my husband's life last summer. 

And he kinda looks a little like Paul McCartney.

He could've been a Beatle.

Or a child of a Beatle, anyway.

He's easy on the eyes.

I wouldn't kick him out of bed for farting. 

Don't judge.

Just because I'm on a diet doesn't mean I don't look at the menu.

I got eyes.

Anyway....

The Radiation Oncologist walks in, and he's got a very casual bedside manner, and he's incredibly smart. So we're chatting away and he does his exam and he reviews the notes from the Lady ENT and we talk about Randy's upcoming throat surgery, which is scheduled for later this month.

And when he said, "Do you have any questions, Mrs. Anderson?"

You bet your sweet ass I have questions.

Here's the thing, Dr. J, I've got a pair of kids at home who are tapped out. My family has been dealt a lot of life, particularly in the last two summers.

Nodding from the doctor.

My 8-year-old looked at me point blank and said "Mommy, I'm afraid I'll get cancer. I'm afraid my brother will get cancer. And I'm really afraid that you and Daddy are going to get cancer again," and so, I need to know, Doctor.

More nodding from the doctor.

He's a very attentive listener.

I know you can't say 100% for sure until the warts caused by HPV on my husband's vocal cords are removed and biopsied, but in looking at the research, in your experience, with your best gut reaction on this, speaking from an epidemiological perspective, what are you thinking? Do you anticipate that this is another summer full of cancer?

I do not, Mrs. Anderson.

Silence from us.

I know each of you, as well as your boys, have been through a huge...amount of...major life occurrences...in a very short amount of time. But I do not anticipate that you'll have another summer full of cancer.

We have the PET scan from the end of February and the results were negative for cancer cells. We have the fact that your husband's taste is returning, his saliva production is increasing. On a visual exam of his throat, it looks really good.

Exhale.

And, no, I cannot be 100% certain until we get the biopsy. But I can say that I'm pretty certain that this isn't cancer of the vocal cords.

Ok. Thank you, Dear Doctor, for you have helped to instill hope into my heart.

A little bit later, as my husband and I sat eating Mexican food for lunch, enjoying each other's company, we agreed that the Radiation Oncologist did not say what he said to pacify us. We do not feel that the Lady ENT said what she did to placate us. We recognize that several friends have been diagnosed with cancer who kept receiving misdiagnoses. And our hearts break because of the countless situations across the globe where people are dying because of this fucking disease.

My husband, who is a very logical thinker, goes back to the fact that we don't have data about the warts on his vocal cords. So, for now, we're continuing to focus on what we know: surgery is coming. We're trying our best to remain calm and centered. And enjoy each day.

The next step, before surgery, is for my husband to get approval from his neurologist before receiving sedation from the anesthesiologist. Because the last time my husband went under for surgery was June 30, 2016, and that could have gone much better.

So, today, my husband was in Seattle, seeing his neurologist, who ordered an outpatient EEG be done before surgery. The EEG is scheduled for Friday. An electroencephalogram (or EEG, thank god for acronyms, right?!) is where they hook your head up to about 20 electrodes--and a few on your chest to monitor your heartbeat and respiration rate--and they are looking for seizure activity. I've been through countless EEG's with our older son, and all I can really say is, "thank you iPad." It doesn't hurt, but glue and hair don't really mix well. We're both thankful my husband is bald. 

My husband had an outpatient EEG last year, after his seizure in the operating room. Last time, the results were normal; and the neurologist anticipates the same this year.

The thing about EEG's is they totally suck because you cannot sleep more than 3-4 hours prior to the test.  No coffee. No chocolate. No soda. No caffeine. They are looking for abnormal brain activity...and caffeine makes our brain kinda active...and it can skew the results. And ain't nobody got time for skewed results.

So, he'll go over on Thursday and stay up late and then get up super early and go to the hospital for his 7:45 am appointment. The test should take about 90 minutes, and when the EEG is done, if he feels like he needs to, he can go back to the hotel, and take a nap. If he feels ok, then he'll catch the ferry home. He can sleep on the boat.

The neurologist said we'll have the results the next business day. So, we are cautiously optimistic that we'll know for sure surgery is a go on Monday, June 12th. But, let's be real...more like Wednesday, June 14th.

During finals week.

Three days before commencement.

No pressure.