Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Clock Ticks But The Phone Doesn't Ring

This time the waiting is difficult.

I want, and do not want, the phone to ring.

But it will, likely today, but certainly before the week is out.

The doctor who did my CT guided biopsy last Wednesday was cheerfully certain what the results would show.

"Oh it will be a mat for sure," he told me.

"A mat?"

"Oh sorry," he looked confused for a second, as if having to remind himself that he was talking to a patient. "A metastasizing of your esophageal cancer to the bone in your spine."

"To the bone marrow," I corrected.

"No to the bone. To the bony lesion we discovered on your last CT scan. It wasn't there on the earlier scan and there it was on the last scan. Got to be a mat."

I'm puzzled and alarmed. "No one's mentioned the involvement of the bone before. That can't be a good thing."

"Nope, not good at all." He agreed. In fact, I thought, a pretty cruel twist of fate so deep into the game, with the goal line tantalizingly within reach.

"It couldn't be a second primary cancer? That's what the oncologist thought."

The doctor waved the idea away. "Oh no. impossible. We never see this form of cancer as a primary in anyone over thirty. Never. Can't happen. It will be a mat." He replied with breezy confidence in his diagnosis.

"How long before the biopsy results are back?" I ask.

"Shouldn't take more than a few days. A week at most." He smiled.

Today the week is up. No phone call so far, but then there was the long weekend in the middle to delay things.

I am feeling great. The best I've felt since last February. I can eat anything without pain, my energy level is as high as it ever was, I've regained 7 kilos. The chemo and radiation must have done a thorough job on the cancer in my esophagus. Perhaps even eliminating it. In fact I have no symptom that would indicate I have an illness of any sort.

But if the cancer escaped the confines of my throat, ignored the tasty nearby organs such as the kidneys, the liver or the lungs, and made the unlikely voyage down to the bones in my hip and then into my spine, I am no longer curable. Treatable sure. But not curable. They can try more radiation, although radiating the spine is very tricky and fraught with severe problems. But if they do it carefully, it will buy me some time. If it doesn't put me in a wheelchair.

Decisions will have to be made.

Once the phone rings. And my new future begins.


Wednesday is Lindsay's tenth birthday. We will be putting aside all morbid thoughts, all mention of illness, and just party. Be sure to join us here tomorrow for a special celebration!

Even though it seems the party girl could care less.

The clock photo at the top of this post is courtesy of Photobucket.