I had some blood work and a CAT scan to show to Dr. Restrepo. The things he had ordered in our last appointment. As far as I (and some doctor friends) could tell, everything looked fine in both of them. But there was something that kept bugging me in the scan. The radiologist reported seeing some sort of calcification somewhere around the left tonsels. Everyone said it was totally unrelated to the Hogkins, but it still kept bugging me. Probably 'cause I'm not a doctor. Why the hell would that be there? Was there a chance it was some sort of tumor? The doctor friends had no answer to why and said they were quite sure it was no tumor. However, one of them suggested my oncologist would order a biopsy. I was sort of between calm, optimistic and... working on trying not to freak out: keeping busy with so many things in my head.
Me and my blue companion got there a little before four and had time to take it slowly, not like last time. We walked slowly out the parking garage, took our time to get to the elevators and I even stopped to go to the bathroom. The doctor was running late, as he usually is, so we played some Tetris on our computers while we waited. Finally, after losing about 20 games, the nurse called my name, we stood up, and walked to his office. He was as cheerful and smiley as he usually is.
We sat across from him at his desk and I started passing the tests one by one. Keeping the offending CAT scan last. He said the blood looked fine and I passed the radiologist's report saying I was worried there was something weird in the neck section. He read it carefully and took a while. It seemed like forever. We waited in silence for him to pronounce his judgment. His pen scribbled on my history, his eyes went over the short paragraph a few times and finally he said it was nothing to worry about. "It is very probably a consequence of the radiation therapy."
I retorted. "The left tonsel was outside the radiation field," and started rummaging in my folder, looking for the drawings they'd copied for me in Boston as part of my history. I found one, just a generic skull with a square and some measurements, and he said, "It's inside the field". I found a PET scan that showed the field somewhat better and he showed me how the area was inside the radiation field. I was still not satisfied... Still worried. "It was not there last year, in the April CT scan." Here, I have images from then.
I produced the slides from April 2006 and the ones from three weeks ago. He put them up on his light box and started looking carefully. Passing from one to the other. He thought the radiologist who interpreted last year's was less of an alarmist than this one. His words were close to that. He found the offending white spot on both slides and showed us. He was right: it was on both. He insisted it was nothing to worry about and the previous radiologist didn't mention it because it was insignificant, meaningless. He said he himself wouldn't have. I asked about a biopsy and he said he felt certain it wasn't necessary. I believed him. I chose to believe him. It is nothing to worry about. If it were, he would have ordered a biopsy.
Science works! We smiled. We thanked him. He left his office exchanging the usual Merry Christmasses and Happy New Years. Right outside his door we hugged. We laughed. I felt a huge burden had been taken off the back of my head. I know my blue companion did too. Now I have about 4 more months of calm, before I have to go back and get checked again.
So... all's well. Again. Smile if you wish, laugh as we did if you feel like it. Toast as we did. And feel free of that particular worry pulling down the back of your head... as I did.
Alias blue girl: thank you for caring, thank you for coming by, thank you for kicking my ass in Tetris, and thank you for really holding my hand.