Thursday, June 28, 2007

June 28, 2007 - In Search of the Lost Node

This afternoon, I go to Ocean Medical Center for an ultrasound test ordered by Dr. Gornish. He handed me the test script on Monday, just after my aborted surgical procedure, but suggested I check with Dr. Lerner before scheduling it. It took me a couple of days to track Dr. Lerner down through phone messages, but eventually his benediction came back: do whatever Dr. Gornish suggests.

So, today I lie back on a narrow examining-bed in the dim light of an outpatient radiology procedure room, while a friendly, efficient technician squeezes warm goo around the base of my neck, then slowly sends her handheld transducer gliding over my skin. She concentrates on the right side, where the phantom lymph nodes are, but also takes a quick look at the left, for comparison purposes. She peers into a computer monitor, looking at the watery, black-and-white images. (They don't look like much to me, but diagnosis is in the eye of the beholder.) Every once in a while, an automaton beep emanates from the machine. This, I take it, means she's capturing a screen shot for the radiologist to look at, to compare with my earlier CT scan images.

I ask her if she can pick out the infamous, distended lymph node, behind the collarbone, and she says yes, she can. She points it out on the screen: a roundish area, darker than the surrounding tissue.

So, no miraculous disappearance. I didn’t think so, anyway.

After five minutes or so of this, the tech asks me to just lie there and stay comfortable, while she steps out to confer with the radiologist. A few minutes later, she returns. He wants a few more pictures. More goo, more images – then, she steps out again.

This time, she returns with the radiologist, Dr. Jeffrey DiPaolo, who smiles and introduces himself to me. We go through the scan routine a third time, this time with the doctor looking directly at the images on the screen. He instructs his assistant to tweak them here and there, before the two excuse themselves once again.

The technician returns: "You're all done," she says, cheerily. When will the results be ready, I ask? Possibly as early as tomorrow afternoon. It all depends on how fast the doctor's report gets transcribed.

A staffer from Dr. Gornish's office told me yesterday that he probably wouldn't get any word to me before Monday, so that sounds consistent. I wonder if he's going to be in the office on Friday – and, if so, if there's any chance he could get back to me before the weekend? It would be nice to hear sooner, rather than later: to find out what my next step on this journey will be. I'm getting tired of this interminable, one-day-at-a-time vagueness. It's been more than a month since Dr. Lerner told me I'd need a biopsy, and I'm still not any closer to having one, let alone knowing the results. This is playing havoc with my summer plans, particularly with knowing whether or not I'll get any significant chunk of time up at our Adirondacks place.

I could really use a vacation – although, as I should know by now, there's no vacation from cancer.

1 comment:

swgqrgtt said...

Carl; Do you remember that old Tom Petty song, "the waiaiaiting is the hardest part"? Go find it and put it on. Then go outside and play. Have a nice weekend. MB