Monday, September 17, 2012

Part 3 Dr. Flyboy

Part 3 Dr. Flyboy

The week after Meghan left, Dr. Wu's office called and told me that they had the results of my blood tests. You will never know how wonderful it is to hear that my parathyroid hormone level was in the nineties when normal is the thirties! This meant that something was malfunctioning with one of my parathyroid glands! We high-fived, hugged, and said we KNEW it was parathyroid the whole time!! Alfred referred me to an endocrinologist, a good surgeon, but I still had to go to the oncologist. I was walking on air!!! There was hope and it was my poor little parathyroid!

One of the symptoms that your parathyroid is out of whack is lethargy. LETHARGY=Serious sleepiness! It had gotten so bad that I would nod off during meetings, the second I got home, and it really had slowed me down. Bosco started driving me to doctor's appointments in Tucson and Sierra Vista so I wouldn't fall asleep while driving. I just couldn't get enough sleep!

The oncologist was...different. He looks like Peter Graves, you know, from Mission Impossible--the series? White hair, tall, stoic, no emotion. Let me stress STOIC! He doesn't laugh, he's pretty serious, and I bet he never does imitations. From the moment I met him I decided that it was my duty to make him laugh. Or chuckle. Or smile. He is nice, just serious. He doesn't seem convinced that the lytic lesions are anything besides cancer. After all, treating cancer IS his specialty, but THAT IS NOT WHAT I WANT TO HEAR!!!

My "endo" was an unusual little man who had a swanky office in
Tucson. My first visit to him was a little weird. He became unduly excited that my mother had had parathyroid surgery due to a benign tumor. After many blood tests and a freaky urinalysis, and a sonogram of my neck, he agreed that I had a tumor on my pt gland. I already had the name of a surgeon, and I was ready to get this thing out of my body so I could start feeling better.

So, I have Dr. Serious and Dr. Different. I learned right away, when you possibly have cancer or some condition, the doctors get kind of excited about the disease. Sometimes you can get lost in the tests and leave feeling pretty confused and frustrated. It's not their fault. We pay them to focus on the diseases.

My niece is an RN. When she learned that I had a surgeon and I was going to have the tumor removed, she was really impressed and excited that Alfred had recommended "Dr. Jim Balserak." I wish there was a way to circle his name with stars and sparkles in this blog! It would be accompanied by a trumpet fanfare and "Hail to the Chief." "Dr. Jim," as he asked me to call him (gush-gush) is pretty famous in the surgical circles and parathyroid is his admitted "favorite surgery." He is a Brigadier General in the AirGuard, had received commendations from at least two presidents, and is sssssssooooooo cute and nice! He is a pilot and several times a year, works with our troups in Afganistan. His office is not swank. In fact, it reminds me of Alfred's. Nothing flashy or too ritzy like the endo's. However, on the wall of the examining room are pictures of Dr. Jim and different presidents, world leaders, and various awards of merit for his bravery and his philantropy. Gotta love him! However, like the others, he ordered tests, scans, blood work... However, by January, I had a surgery date, and things were lookin' good!

And they were good! The surgery lasted less than an hour. The scar is barely visible. And I was starting to feel so much better. The sleepiness leveled out. I was more mentally "sharp." And once my calcium levels stabilized, I was feeling bulletproof. January and February blew by with work and wedding plans. Everyday was sunny and better for the most. When you don't wake-up worried about cancer, everything else is pretty good!

The oncologist's office manager called in March and told me that Dr. Serious wanted me to have another skeletal survey and a bone scan. This seemed reasonable. After all, it would take some time for the lesions to go away and he was overseeing that part of my health. I scheduled the procedure a week before Meg's wedding and would have the follow-up the Monday after her wedding.

The procedure was the same. I knew what to expect and I wasn't expecting anything new.

The day of the follow-up with Dr. Serious, I took my mom and dad with me to Sierra Vista. We would go to the appointment, I would run in, they would sit in the waiting area, and zip/bam/boom, we're back on the road for Douglas. However, Dr. Serious was more serious this time. There was a new lesion on my left hip. A "fairly large one." This was not what I wanted to hear. Dr. Serious and I verbally danced around the subject. Could it be this? Could it be that? Tell me about your surgery, parathroid? Not likely. Finally, wanting him to be more direct, I said, "What do YOU think it is? I have had all the tests, the scans, and my endo says the parathyroid could be causing these lesions." I could tell he didn't want to answer. So, I pushed him further... I said, "Go ahead. If you're wrong, I won't hold you to it." He very calmly and gently said, "I think it is some type of cancer in its earliest stages and it hasn't made itself known." I felt deflated and a little irritated. I asked him what the symptoms would be. He told me 1)Unexpected weight loss 2)Bone Pain to name two. I smirked (and if you know me well, you know I can be a Class One Smirker) and said, "Well, I am up four pounds and I haven't lost a pound since we started all of this! I feel great! No pain, no aches, nothing but feeling great!" Dr. Serious not look convinced. So, I took off my armor and asked him how we could find out if it really is cancer? He told me...more tests and scans. Crazy laughter in my brain at this point! Dr. Serious told me I would need scans with resonance and possibly even a bone marrow biopsy. I looked at Dr. Serious and said, "Well, let's get started!" We shook on the deal, I spoke with his scheduler, and I walked into the lobby like nothing was wrong and drove my parents back to Douglas. At this point, I was shaking, but determined to be bullet-proof.

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