The windchimes are ringing and shutters clattering. If I could see the garden flag I am sure that it would be standing straight out to the side. March is waiting in the wings.
Things have progressed so quickly that it is hard to imagne that it has only been a little over a week since we blithe fully threw a few things in a bag and started the six hour drive to Duke for my quarterly surveillance visit. This visit was to include a full body PET scan with a full CAT scan. We arrived on Wednesday evening and on Thursday I went in for the scan. PET scans depend on the uptake of body cells of a radio-labeled glucose molecule. In this case the label was an isotope of flourine. Except for the needle prick when our glucose level is cheecked and the intravenous line for administering the labeled glucose the process is painless. The whole process takes about 2 hours because the patient subject has to wait while the glucose goes where it is wanted. I asked the young lady who gave me the glucose whether it bothered her to work around isotopes. She was pretty blasé about the whole thing and then told me that she was leaving the room because I had become the “source”.
I finished and went to see my radiation oncologist.
My wife picked up on the difference before I did. “Something’s not right.”, she said. We had met the oncologist in the hall and he had barely spoken.
As we sat in the room a young man came in, introduced himself as Dr. Kirsch’s resident, and told us that there was a 3 cm. Mass in my right frontal cortex that loked like a metastatic carcinoma. He would go talk with Dr. Kirsch and they would come back with a plan of action.
Things moved quickly. I had an appointment with a medical oncologist, about using modalities other than surgery or radiation, met with the neurosurgon, Dr. Fecci, and on Monday underwent a craniotomy with resection of the tumor.
As Dr. Fecci put it, “Luckily, the tumor is sitting in low priced real estate.” I understood his statement. Some parts of the brain have very critical and specific functions. Damaging them can leave one unable to fuction normally, or even result in death. The frontal lobe has executive function. It evaluates incoming data, makes decisions, and executes actions. That’s all important. Maybe more important than recognizing a Mozart symphony, or being able to pitch a fastball. Time will tell, because I now have a golf-ball sized hole in my brain, and am scheduled to go back to start radiation in a couple of weeks.
Recovery was languid and uneventful. Moved from room to room I mostly slept. I was told to “Call don’t fall” and did, using a walker to go to the bathroom.
Today is a week since surgery and I seem to be doing fine.
You tell me. If this writing looks like my executive is out to lunch let me know.
I've been up wearing those "footies" with the little grippers that you get issued in hospital stays. The cold has finally gotten through the tile and I'm going back to bed.