Walking Through Cancer?/Part 7


                                                     Still Digging

Time flies. It’s March now, a long time to not know what’s wrong with me. But the medical community operates, sometimes, at a snail’s pace.

Gene and I drove back to Fred Hutch in Seattle for my second PET scan. We had another dinner out and stayed at the same hotel so we would be close by for the 8:15 am appointment. I needled my doctor to secure two (2) Ambien for me from the pharmacy. I am extremely claustrophobic, which is the principle reason for the prescription. They’re not really “coddling” me. They just want to avoid a disaster in the PET machine.

The nurse injected the radioactive liquid into a prominent vein and waited for it to circulate in my system. It usually takes an hour, but I was asleep and didn’t notice. They walked me into the machine and then walked me out. Gene drove me home where I had another long lunch and another long nap.

Today is March 18. I had a Zoom meeting with my doctor at Fred Hutch. What are my hopes? That they found no areas of concern and refer me back to my original hematologist, Dr. Julia at Providence oncology, and let her come up with an explanation. You can’t fault the doctors at Fred Hutch for thoroughness. They seem to have pulled out all the stops.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. This is an example of my “future-tripping,” which I’ve done too much of. Enjoy every moment I have. Today is sunny and 70 degrees. I will indulge in my “spiritual” weeding (oh yes, weeding is a spiritual exercise for me!) and be grateful for the sunshine.

Dr. Malakoti, Dr. Poh’s P.A., addressed me on Zoom and said that the second PET scan showed lots of lymph node involvement. So they want to do another biopsy of another node in my groin, near the last one they removed. It’s the fastest way to rule out lymphoma. Another one? The queen (lately I’ve been demoted to princess) of silver linings sees this added surgery not only as a probable end to all our uncertainty but also a chance to learn from my mistake the last time. After the surgery, go home and stay there for two weeks. Suspend all activities.

Waiting for the scheduler to call me for the exam with my doctor, my negative side internally whines that, since I live two hours away from Fred Hutch, going back and forth on Route 5 will be another weekly hassle.

“Oh Carter, I’m so sick of the Route 5 parking lot. Now I have several more trips down to Seattle to endure.”

But my son rescues me from myself momentarily:

“Endure? How about you put a brighter face on it? Instead of dreading the traffic, the pain of surgery and the waiting for results, why don’t you and Gene come down to Seattle for two nights and spend time seeing your grandchildren and having some fun?”

Out of the mouths of babes…

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