I suppose I’m virtually lost. Wednesday’s doctor’s visit was perhaps the most devastating that I have encountered. First… let me say that my new doctor seems to be the perfect caring soul that I have needed. I do however, reserve the right to change my mind. She was extremely knowledgeable concerning my PET scan of three weeks ago. I had suspected that, like most docs I have encountered in recent years, didn’t have a clue about what was going on until ten minutes before they came into the exam room, checking results of tests just before they see you and in some cases, after they enter the room and log on to their computers. She evidently had been studying all of it for some time. She knew exactly where the largest tumor was and where the many new ones were loitering.
I didn’t like what she had to say however. How could I? I have no recording or notes from the appointment except what lingers in my head, but she was profoundly and personally direct in her presentation of the facts. I believe she fully intended for me to pay close attention to what she was about to tell me.
Here’s how that went:
She rolled the stool she was sitting on across the floor till she was directly in front of me. She leaned forward, placing her face about six to eight inches from mine… looked me directly in the eyes and said:
“The tumor in your lung is very large.” As she said this, she placed her hand against the place in my chest where the tumor is located, positioning her hand and fingers as if she was holding a baseball… perhaps something a bit larger… then a moment of silence while she looked into my eyes… maybe my soul. She then took her fingers and gently started touching other areas of my chest, indicating where numerous other tumors were now located. Then, she touched the side of my ribs in several locations and said, “These that have developed in the pleural areas indicate that the cancer is extremely advanced.”
Wow… I always wanted a doctor that would tell it like it is, but this was a harsh reality that was difficult to accept. How did this get so out of hand? I knew from the report and viewing the disc myself that I was perhaps in deeper trouble than I have previously been, but to hear it told to me like that was… well… still a bit of a shock.
She then leaned back a bit and told me that she understood my concerns about chemo due to my severe heart and vascular condition… although there were still things about my heart that she was unaware of, mainly due to my ignorance of forgetting to tell her… like the fact that the electrical impulse point in my heart has relocated itself to a very unusual position and sometimes fires backwards… causing the chambers to fire out of sequence. Yes… I know that’s weird and yes… it is not a pleasant feeling when it happens.
She then recommended… ummm… maybe it wasn’t exactly a recommendation, but more of a command… that I get a biopsy to determine for sure the type of cancer, although everyone before her had assumed that the tumors in the lung, hilum and subcarina were metastasized from the squamous cells first found in the lymph nodes of the neck. She said that we have to know specifics in order to consider immunotherapy because the drugs are specific to the type of cancer.
She also said that I had to have a brain scan to see if the cancer had spread to my brain because it likes to travel (my first impulse was to start talking funny, slurring my words and tell her that I couldn’t possibly have brain cancer… but I quickly decided that might not be the best choice I could make at this moment)… and that I would need to attend the pain clinic because of what I’ve been experiencing as of late… evidently… cancer related, though I had suspected that… as well as pinched nerves in the neck and or shoulder.
After all of that… which had me dumbfounded… she said this… if we do this… we may be able to extend your life for six months… ‘pause’… maybe a year… ‘longer pause’… maybe two.
Now is the time that I must consider both sides of this situation… very seriously. Do I really want to extend my life for six months… maybe a little longer… by undergoing test after test and God only knows how many treatments with medications that are most likely going to make me far weaker than I already am… most like causing nausea and other crap like that… possibly causing more heart trouble than my un-normal heart already experiences… day after day of those six months? If it wasn’t for those who care about me… I already know the answer. But I must consider how they feel about this as well. It’s not an easy decision.
Whew! I’m worn out already and haven’t even gotten the appointments as yet. I suppose I spent the remainder of the day in a bit of a disgruntled stupor. Yeah… I’m not sure of the definition of disgruntled stupor, but I’m fairly certain that I was in one. Today…? Well… I’m not real sure of my mental state of being. I do know that I still have my sense of humor, so things aren’t all bad. Although, there are some who don’t always appreciate my un-normal sense of humor, but there aren’t many who haven’t pretty much abandoned the one who is ill at this point anyway, so I’m sure they won’t be in any way offended by my sarcasm or the fact that I often laugh at all the wrong moments.
I’m not going to make this journal entry as long as the last. I do know that no one really enjoys reading long posts about someone who is ill or anything else for that matter.
I wish all of you well-ness, happiness, and a most beautiful day.
Update to the update:
I now have appointments for the biopsy, blood work for the VA and to see a Palliative Care doc all next week. Yummy… Just what my little heart desires.
I had to look up Palliative care… I didn’t even know what it was… then I noticed that the docs of that department are all palliative care and hospice. Hospice? Really? Are they trying to tell me something?