11.25.2003

Our hungers make invitations of each whisper to our senses.

11.20.2003

They say the best revenge is success. It's true. Success at getting revenge.

11.19.2003

An update from the exciting world of "If I don't have cancer, what the hell is it?"

I went to the hospital for an ultrasound. You have to fast for six hours prior and then one hour prior, you have to drink a litre of water. I waited for my ultrasound for 90 minutes. Lemme tell ya, the bladder starts to get full after you drink a litre of water and then sit still. I really had to go but the ultrasound doesn't work unless you have a big, bloated sac of fluid in you. After 75 minutes of waiting (and recall that I had drunk the water an hour before arriving), I had to go so bad that I could have etched my name on the moon. I asked the nurse what I should do. I was told to go but not to empty.

I beg your pardon? Have you ever tried to start and then stop before you were done? It requires a lot more concentration than I thought I could muster. It's so unnatural that just thinking about it makes me want to go use the facilities. Anyways, I managed to relieve my stress to the point that I was worried that I was depleted.

I finally went in for the ultrasound and got the goo squirted on my belly (Might I add, I have now been on the receiving end of that sensation, though without the staccato) and the nurse started bouncing audio pulses off my innards. Once she reached my groinal regions, she remarked that my bladder was still full. I didn't think it was full until she moved a bit lower and pressed. Ay. Now I had to go again.

The nurse fetched the doctor quickly (she knew I was about to do my Hull-of-the-Titanic impression) and they went over my lower torso with the gusto of a needle merchant looking through a very special haystack. The doc pronounced me clean and clear so I cleaned up, changed out of the fancy hospital garment and headed straight for the bathroom where I nearly dented a ceramic toilet.

I also had bloodwork done. They drew four vials of blood for various viral tests. I won't find out about those for a while. So I was in and out of the hospital in about 2.5 hours and I now resume what remains of my daily routine.

11.14.2003

So I had my doctor's appointment today to find out exactly what caused my operation. The good news is: I don't have "make-out-your-will" cancer because they didn't see any in the biopsy but they can't rule out one specific type because the cells were too immature. So I have to get bloodwork to check for viruses (which could have caused my lymph node to swell up). I am also going in for an ultra-sound to check for other lumpiness (or babies! Maybe I have ovaries...).

So if the virus tests are negative, then I have to wait to see if anything comes back. If lumps comes back, then it's a treatable cancer. If nothing comes back, then I had some weird virus and my system worked it out. If the virus tests are positive, then I get treatment for them. Because it's close to the holidays, I might not get those results until January.

I will also have to go in for frequent check ups now for the rest of my life to be vigilant for unwanted groinal growths. The wanted groinal growths will continue unabated.
Here is my impression of a blogger:

Seriously, I hope the Hilton Hotel in Paris has a kick-ass web server to handle all the accidental traffic.

Well, a very slow-witted blogger.

11.13.2003

Two unrelated thoughts

Carol Burnett is one of the most underappreciated comedians ever. She is certainly not an unknown by any stretch of the imagination but she rates way higher than Lucille Ball in my opinion. Her characters are varied and distinctive, her timing is impeccable, her physicality is outstanding (certainly among the best ever) and quick as a fox on fire. I always hear female performers citing Lucille Ball or Gilda Radner, who were both excellent, but I can't recall too many giving a nod to Ms. Burnett. Gender isn't even the issue to me, Ms. Burnett is one of the funniest people on two legs. Period.

Things my generation loves:
-Excessive hyperbole
-Avoiding genuine sentiment
-The word "literally"
-Dismissal
-Things that glow
-Dissecting social phenomena

11.10.2003

Let's have little recap of recent events:

Early September
I have my annual physical with the family doctor. In Montreal, it's pretty tough to get a family doctor and we lucked out in getting a good one. During the exam, a 7cm long, 1 cm high bulge is found on the front of my left hip, towards the groinal region. I never noticed it. It was painless and didn't interefere with my movement so I doubt I would have picked it up for a while. The doctor says it seems like it's in a weird place for a swollen lymph node. She thinks it's possibly a hernia. I am given a referral to the same doctor who diagnosed my lipomas. Life goes on with me not lifting heavy objects in fear of exacerbating my potential hernia. Take that, heavy objects!

Early October
My appointment with the specialist arrives and the doctor thinks it' probably a lipoma but it's pretty big. She recommends removal. In case it's something more serious, I am given an appointment 2 weeks later. That's fast-tracking, for you non-Canadian, non-Medicare using mofos. The possibilty of something being wrong with my lymph node is brought up again but in a "that doesn't make sense" kind of way.

October 20
It's surgery day. My wife takes the day off. In I go for day surgery; it's the same specialist that I saw a few weeks ago who will perform the operation. I have cleared a week with work but figure to be back in action within a couple days. Surgery begins. I feel pulling and tugging. I hear snipping and slurping. I'm carefully analysing the ceiling. I've folded my hands behind my head and, eventually, my hands fall asleep. Nice move. I bring them back to my sides, but out of the doctor's way. During the surgery, the doctor announces that I have a "juicy" lymph node. My incision gets bigger as doc needs more room to maneuver. It takes a while because she has to work around a vein.

She said at the start that if it looked serious, she'd send it to the lab right away. Otherwise, it'd go to the two-week lab. As the lymph node comes out, I'm told she's sending it for analysis right away. Aw. Yeah. I've got something. It could be TB or cancer or something else. I'm asked about recent injuries, travel, my occupation. It's sent to pathology and mycology. The doc only sends a bit to mycology. Looks like the doc suspects cancer. Nice.

I have the doctor tell my wife what she's told me so far (minus the conclusions I've had to reach on my own). The wife is winded. No kidding. We go home and await the results of the testing that should be given us by the end of the day. The whole ordeal is done in under an hour.

October 20, Home
I have aprescription for strong painkillers but after the anasthetic wears off, I get by with Advil and ice. We get the call after much anxiety, silence. There's been a nervous crackle in the air all afternoon. No one wants to talk about it in any detail until we hear from the hospital. An appointment is made for my follow-up in two weeks as advised at the hospital.
My doctor calls back. The word "cancer" is not used, the word "lymphoma" is not used. Instead, I hear "early stage", "immature cells", and "nothing angry". Nothing urgent. See you at the follow-up.

I miss the full week of work mostly because I can't really walk due to the position of cut. I admit that I missed it partly because I needed the time recollect my thoughts. I don't have the information I need to swallow this, even now. I don't know what I have really. Maybe the doctor isn't sure either. But I don't know what my next step is, what to expect from here, what kind of treatments I should be, will be taking. I finish The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker and Otherland by Tad Williams. Who wants to leave unfinished projects behind. Ugh. Morbid thoughts have already left their fingerprints.

I return to work and find out that I've been laid off. Eight people were cut. It happened while I was away and I wasn't told because I was home recovering. I can't decide if that was courtesy or otherwise. My supervisor was clearly uncomfotable. He's a nice guy and we got along great. He was told to cut people and chose me. That's cool. Maybe my unhappiness at work was showing. In any case, my wife had to deal with another blow. She's holding up pretty well. I kind of expect her to collapse or something but I guess she doesn't have time for it. Her work is going crazy, too. She needs a big vacation. Big time.

End of recap.

So I await my appointment this Friday. I will hopefully find out more details about what I have, what the treatments are, what kind of plans I should be making. I'm mentally preparing myself for things like chemo therapy or fighting a hungry tiger with my bare hands. I'm also preparing myself for "Cancer? No, you have lymph flu. Boy, are you a hypochondriac or what?" I really don't have a lot of concrete information so any speculation on my part is about as valid as a Nostradamus fortune cookie.

So far, only my wife and immediate family know most of the details. I haven't really told my friends what's going on because they'll ask questions I can't answer. I've been vague and demurring. I can already see they're worried; I imagine my lack of clarity only heightens the concern. I can feel them talking about me in serious tones behind my back. Once I visit the doctor and I can answer the questions myself, I'll be able to let everyone else in.

I'm not down or depressed. Life deals you cards and you play them. That's a big part of what this blog is for. To help me deal with and absorb this world, these days, these people. All this input and me, trying to turn it around, making output.