Monday, November 6, 2006

30 Days

It's not cancer. If only Abby could have told me that...

After the initial scare, after the weeks of waiting, after the moments of hope followed by the moments of fear... after meeting Mom and Dad in Amarillo to pick Mom (and Abby!) up so she could stay with me during the biopsy and recovery... and after receiving cautionary good news that, amazingly, didn't change... it's not cancer.

My God. Amen.

Instead, I picked up some kind of respiratory bug sometime this year... and it managed to do a pretty good impression of cancer on the CT scans and PET scan.

I had the biopsy done October 17. The docs collapsed my left lung and everything, to remove the growth. A frozen dissection of the swollen lymph node showed it was reacting to the lung growth, and wasn't itself cancerous.

The surgeon -- who told me before I went under he suspected it was nothing more than "fleas and ticks," as he put it -- confirmed that suspicion to my Mom in the waiting room, after my two hour surgery. "It's nothing. He'll be fine. Fleas and ticks."

We're still waiting on the definitive answer of what, exactly, I managed to catch. Turns out the hospital didn't draw all the necessary blood to run a second set of tests, to identify what breed of fungus I managed to breathe in (I won't get into the creepy, morphine-fueled dream I had in the hospital the night after they told me, where I had mushrooms growing on my arms.)

But the docs aren't very concerned... people breathe in these things all the time. Sometimes, they make us sick... most often, we never really think anything of it. This appears to be one of those "bugs" people talk about having, that they can't seem to shake, but live with for awhile without very much further thought. The difference is, most people don't get regularly-scheduled CT scans.

Dr B, my oncologist, was downright giddy at last Monday's follow-up appointment... which was originally scheduled to start me on the chemo he expected I'd have to go on. Instead, he did a cursory exam, before more or less tossing me out of his office with the blessing, "go live your life. Oh, and did you ever get that car?"

So it's back to normal. Mom and Abby went back to ABQ Saturday... even with everything going on, it was great having her here, and it was a very nice visit. And later this week, I'm flying to Palm Springs, to cover the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) Expo show.

I gotta tell you... one month ago, I did not expect this to be the way things would turn out.

Wow. And Amen

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