The phone rang at 3:00 P.M. today. We’d been expecting the call since Friday, but realistically imagined it would not happen until tomorrow. We had hope, faith and trust that all was well. And so when Dr. Fung called and said he wanted Sue to come in to the office today after 4:00 P.M. and bring me with her, Sue looked blenched. I heard her tell him that I’d have to stay with Shannon if she wasn’t to come along. He said it would be best if it was just me. Aunt Laurie left work early and came home to watch P.
A few weeks ago, Sue had been experiencing pain in her leg and she finally got to the point where she sought medical attention. Just above the knee, near the thigh, a hardness developed and the doc thought to x-ray it. Sue has a history of melanoma, though all have been excised in situ-which means in place-and there were no consequences. Still, best to not fool around with these things–but the x-ray saw nothing, picked nothing up.
To be prudent, because she was still in pain, Doc ordered a CT Scan on her leg. We waited two days for results of that, nervously, but all was well. No issues and we were happy. The doc suggested, though, that since there was a history of melanoma, that we have a baseline PET CT scan. This is a pretty involved 3 or 4 hour procedure in which dye is injected into the patient and the scanner runs head to toe to pick up “tracers” or “markers” that might indicate abnormal or rapid tissue growth. He said it was a cautionary measure and a good idea given her history. We were happily agreeable seeing as the leg seemed not to present a problem and Sue’s hysterectomy in the fall allowed for a battery of medical tests in which they determined she was fairly healthy.
On Friday, Sue went off to take the scan and I took Peanut to the movies where we saw How to Train Your Dragon. We had a good time and it was a Friday, what could be better? Sue got home from the scan, I took P. to her dance class while Sue and Laurie made pasta and pizza and we had a nice evening together. We basked in Peanut’s birthday party over the weekend and generally enjoyed ourselves.
Monday dawned beautiful and cool and as I’m on break, we both took Shannon to her horseback riding camp she’s taking this week. We came home and walked the track together over at the park along with Scoop the wonderdog, he and I lapping Sue, but she humming happily to REM on the ipod and enjoying the cool breeze, the sunshine, the day. I washed and waxed her car for her and replaced some burned out lamps in the rear tail-light.
We picked up P. together and debriefed her on her glorious first day of being a cowgirl and we came home to relax a bit, Peanut read and I did some work on the computer. The phone rang at 3…..
We drove first to McDonald’s to get a cup of coffee. It wouldn’t do to get drunk and then go see the doc, so coffee seemed a good substitute. It was early and we had no expectation that we would do anything other than sit in the waiting room. Sue had been, was still crying and she was helpless to stop the tears. I kept Peanut away from her and it seemed to work fairly well. She had no real clue what was happening.
The wait was interminable and we sat together in the doc’s office, tears streaming down her face and me trying to comfort, but not knowing what to say. In my own head, the world was spinning. Weak-kneed and forced to think “happy thoughts” just to keep from going mad, I found myself flailing. My wife needed me to be a man at this moment and all I could think of was a line from Hamlet in which King Claudius says, “She’s so conjunctive to my life and soul, That, as the star moves not but in his sphere, I could not but by her.” I found myself wanting inwardly. Outwardly, I clowned, tried to feign peace and calm.
When the doc came in, he looked at Sue and said, “I knew I said too much. It’s nothing earth shattering, really. Here’s the situation…” He began to unpack the results of the PET CT scan. Sue’s leg was fine and there was nothing to worry about there. The scan, however, had red-flagged her right ovary. It found a mass on it or at least a swelling and the radiologist thought it was cause for concern.
And it is. But it wasn’t as bad as it sounds. First, what the scan also revealed is that even in the worst case scenario of the ovary being malignant, it has not spread and if that’s the case, the ovary can be removed. Sue had a hysterectomy in October of last year and at that time, her OB/GYN noted the ovary, took an ultrasound of it but was comfortable enough with the results that she didn’t follow up.
Dr. Fung said that he wanted Sue to go back to Dr. Ferro, show her the result of the PET CT scan and simply have her do another ultrasound on the ovary. Since she’s already had a hysterectomy that left ovaries in tact and since Dr. Ferro saw the ovary up close and also did the ultrasound, he was fairly confident. Sue has a history of ovarian cysts and this could merely be one more of those.
Whatever the case, even if it’s the worst case scenario, it means they take the ovary out and all will be well. The PET CT scan was fairly clear about that–there were no other major areas of concern.
Sue breathed a sigh of relief. “It’s OK,” said Dr. Fung. “You’re OK.” It was the longest hour of my life, I think. Nothing comes close except my daughter’s birth and the complications that ensued then with Sue. That was over fairly quickly as well and we were in the hospital awaiting results. Here, we have just simply been left to stew in test after test–and then, when we got the results, we had to wait an hour before we learned the details.
We walked immediately over to Dr. Ferro’s office, gave her a copy of the report and set up an appointment. Sue will go in to see her April 8 and have another ultrasound. If Dr. Ferro feels it is warranted, she’ll either biopsy–or schedule to remove the ovary. Or, she may see it as a cyst and deal with it that way. Whatever the case–we are OK and our prayers have been answered. Sure, the news could have been, “no worries–all is fine and well.” But, if it had to be anything, this will do for a faithful positive answer.
Thanks for reading. Thanks for prayers.