Well, it IS called the Practice of Medicine….

Posted on October 25, 2009. Filed under: The 'C' Word |

My Dad (God love him, and rest his soul), a well-known curmudgeon, skeptic, and Doctor-hater had a saying: “The profession is called the practice of Medicine, and they are practicing on YOU!”. Well, in reality, this is right.  Nothing about the Medical profession is perfect, but it’s better than what we would have had a scant 400 years ago when the typical treatments were to use lancets to open a vein and ‘let blood’ or any other number of barbaric treatments for what might ail you.  And, yes – as little as 100 years ago the Barber, the Dentist and the Doctor were usually the same person.  Your best hope was that he remembered why he was seeing you, and if he was cutting, pulling, or whatever – it was what you actually came to see him for.  Seemingly a diverse set of talents there.  I can’t really imagine going to my Dentist today and saying, “Um, have a little bit of a toothache in the right upper molar, and oh… Can I get the hair just a bit shorter this time? And, how about a steam and a shave?”

Anyone that has been following my Facebook along with my wife, Sue’s, knows that the tumor just isn’t cooperating.  Or, if you want to look at it another way – it’s cooperating just fine.  Visually, anyone could concede that I’ve got cancer.  It’s not pretty, and it does some very nasty things, all in all.  But, I’ve submitted to a total of three biopsies – all of which keep coming back as “high grade dysplasia”, which essentially means “It’s not cancer – yet…”  I’m fairly sure that the Insurance Co. isn’t going to want to pay for any more biopsies – as least one’s that aren’t mandated with the removal of the mass.

Being unlike my Dad, I generally like Doctors. I’ve met some real clods in my day – complete lack of a bedside manner, no empathy whatsoever or sympathy for the situation – just a cold, clinical attitude to whatever you’re going through.  I get the need to emotionally detach, but there are limits to that as well.  Fortunately, none of the Doctors that I’ve seen are in that category (but then – I didn’t have much of a discussion with the first Doctor who did the initial colonoscopy….  Sue says he pretty much fit into that ‘clod’ category.  Me, I was simply enjoying the Fentanyl and I don’t remember much. Possibly that’s why I like Doctors…  For the drugs?  🙂 )

So, I’ve had pretty meaningful discussions with my oncologist, my radiation oncologist, and my surgeon over the past couple of days.  The bottom line – three biopsy attempts do not show any cancer activity.  Only ‘suspicion’ of cancer.  Suspicion is not a good reason to submit someone to extremely aggressive therapy such as chemo and radiation. So, the oncologist says seriously consider having the tumor removed and we’ll biopsy it after the fact.  The radiation oncologist says pretty much the same thing.  The surgeon – right in line….. We can either do more biopsies (of which the insurance company at some point is going to wonder if we’re just waiting for it to BECOME cancer….) or we can go in, remove the tumor, put me back together as well as possible, and then determine what the steps are post-surgery.

There is still the real possibility that there is cancer.  Best scenario is that the cancer is localized to the tumor itself. Second best – the cancer has left the main tumor and involved the bowel wall. Third scenario – and what we’ve been thinking it is all along – it has left the main tumor, involved the bowel wall and a couple small lymph nodes.

I’ve already made the decision to go ahead with the surgery.  It’s time to move forward and get something done.  I should have a conversation with the surgeon’s scheduler tomorrow (Monday, 10/26) and would expect to have surgery to remove the tumor and a section of the bowel within two weeks or so.

One thing is for sure: Once the tumor is removed and the biopsy on the tissue is done – we will know with 100% certainty if we are dealing with any form of cancer. With it out, it doesn’t really have any place left to hide.  And, if the pathologist’s do find something – then it can be dealt with post-operatively.

In the end (no pun intended) there may be no “glowing”, short of the PET scan which apparently associated me rather closely with a lightning bug – given that both myself and a lightning bug have a butt that glows.  OK, now that I’ve ruined your love for lightning bugs by comparing them with my glowing tumor in a PET scan, I’ll leave for now.

Rick

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