Subtlety

kaiserTomorrow I have my second appointment with my oncologist, post-diagnosis. In the meantime, I’ve had a battery of tests, including a bone biopsy (to confirm that this is the same cancer as before) and a brain scan, which is both troubling and fascinating.

Apparently, the full-body bone scan revealed an abnormality on my skull. I’m not a doctor and don’t know if whatever is going on in my skull can make its way into my brain, but I guess that’s one thing we’ll find out tomorrow.

My oncologist has a few things to learn about subtlety.

I like my oncologist; he is honest and forthright and I appreciate that in a doctor. But on our last visit, he prefaced his remarks by saying, “I have been dreading this appointment.” He went on to tell us (mostly) good news, but what can one expect to hear when one’s doctor is dreading a meeting? He then showed us the pictures from the full-body bone scan and again, oddly, stated, “I was hoping I could avoid showing you these.”

The pictures, I admit, were alarming. To my untrained eye, they looked like those of a severely ill old person. Several vertibrae were dark, as was my hip bone, and a chunk of my head, places where there was a lot of bone death and growth, indicating a fierce battle with cancer cells. They went a long way toward explaining why I’d been feeling so lousy. He expressed surprise that I hadn’t been in more pain than I was.

My drug regimen now includes Tamoxifen (again), and I have to say, it’s reduced the pain quite a bit. I hardly need the gigantic bottle of painkiller my oncologist prescribed for me. Some days, I wake up and it takes me a bit to remember that I have this problem. Most of the time, I can just go about my day and not think about it too much.

Days like today, though, when an appointment is imminent, I fall into an emotion that I can’t describe and can’t pull myself out of. Oncology visits bring knowledge and a plan, but they’re also milestones that change everything.

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One response to “Subtlety

  1. Jen,
    We don’t know each other, but I’ve followed you on social media for years, watched your kids grow up, seen photos of your trips and from your daily life.
    Thank you for all those moments, moments where I’d come across a picture of a fence you took, and just take a moment to take a breath and think about the light hitting it.
    And thank you for the moments now. Where you’re brutally honest about what you’re going through, how it’s effecting your family, the uncertainties, the love you share and the joy.
    You make me appreciate every little moment just a little bit more, from the epic trips to the mundane (like sitting in the dentist’s waiting room watching my kid play.)
    Lots of Aloha to you.

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