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.