Tag Archives: cat scan

‘Twas a Week since my Surg’ry

‘Twas a week since my surg’ry
To take out the mass
I still can’t believe
It all happened so fast

We started out chatting
And blogging ’bout boobs
Yet somehow this week
We’re onto chest tubes

We’ve learned about mole rats
The kind with no fur
And we’ve all guessed which boobs
Go with him or with her

We’ve met lots of doctors
Who all aim to please
Some say just a lift
Some say double Ds

If you go with an implant
Then, you’ll need to choose
‘Tween saline and silicone
With both you can’t lose

But you’re not done yet
Now you must decide
If it’s under or over
the muscle inside

The scars, anesthesia,
The risks and the price
It all made my head spin
This roll of the dice

And we found a lump
in my breast on the way
But learned it was nothing

Then later an x-ray
Revealed a round mass
Attached to my lung
And we struck an impasse

So a CAT scan, a spec’list,
A loud MRI
Soon gave us to know
that a surg’ry was nigh

So I dealt with my fears
And I packed up my stuff
And I went to the hospital
‘Cause I’d had enough!

Through IVs and catheters
Chills and Code Red
I came out of it all
I’m now home in my bed

My right side’s still achy
It hurts when I cough
So I’ll rest, write & e-shop
Hey, look! That’s half-off!

My friends were amazing
My family divine
But the best thing of all
was to hear “It’s benign.”


Tales from inside the MRI tube

I had my MRI bright and early this morning, a feat in and of itself for my mom and me to get there on time. I didn’t really know what to expect again as I’ve been a ridiculously healthy person all my life. (Thanks to those of you who attempted to prepare me verbally.) There was a little paperwork to fill out beforehand which I did mindlessly for about the dozenth time in the last few months. When I brought it back to the receptionist, I asked about the procedure and couldn’t figure out why she was staring at me as if I showed up at the medical center painted blue and walking a duck on a leash. And then I realized what I said,

When I go in for the MRI, will I be wearing only my wedding gown?

I guess I was more nervous than I thought … and maybe still a little Xanax’ed. I tried to correct myself but then the word ‘bridal’ then came out of my mouth. What the F was wrong with my brain? I finally forced my mouth to spit out the word ‘hospital’ and she smiled and said yes, probably moving her letter openers and other sharp instruments from the counter to underneath her desk as I walked away.

I sat only a few more minutes until they called my name. When I walked past my mom to go to the back with the tech, she reached up and high-fived me. ??? I was, of course, expecting a more stereotypical hug and words of encouragement from this very sentimental woman … but I think the hardwiring in her brain is a little whacked right now, too.

The tech brought me to a dressing room where I changed into my HOSPITAL gown and then moved on with her into the MRI room. I lay on the table with a wedge pillow under my knees while she put an egg crate cushion and then the brains of the whole device on my chest. She gave me a ‘panic ball’ (which looked a hell of a lot like a nasal aspirator) to hold in my left hand in case I felt the need for immediate ejection from the tube. She asked if I wanted my eyes covered to avoid feelings of claustrophobia. I said yes. And she placed the headphones on my ears. Friends told me to bring my iPod but I forgot. And I wouldn’t have been able to use it anyway. Her headphones allowed her to talk with me and play music between her instructions. She asked what I wanted to listen to and my mind went blank. ‘What are my choices?’ I asked, completely spoiled by the XM radio menu in my car. “Anything FM,” she said. I rattled off the only local call letters I could think of and found myself quickly tuned into a New Orleans easy listening station. Lionel Richie. Great.

She left the room and began the LOUDspeaker communication … and starting sucking me into the tube, head first. Unfortunately, I instinctively opened my eyes and realized that I could see the ceiling of the tube, which I was pretty sure was so close that I could touch it with my tongue if I tried. And, no, I didn’t like it. She kept moving me into the tube until I was waist-deep within it. At that point, the movement stopped and she asked if I was okay. I said, “As long as you’re not taking me into this thing any further.” She said she wasn’t, so I exhaled and decided to keep my eyes closed and attempt to relax to the smooth stylings of now-playing REO Speedwagon.

Anyone who tells you that he can sleep in the tube is lying his ass off, by the way. The noise was incredible. It vacillated between loud siren sounds and jackhammers. I closed my eyes and pretended to be in my favorite hotel room in New York City. Those sounds are extremely commonplace there, and I hear them all the time from my bed while on vacation. This ‘happy place’ thinking seemed to work for me. Until I realized I had been holding my breath the whole time and I flinched when I suddenly had to draw in a quick breath to keep from fainting on the table. Which meant we had to do that round of tests again.

There was a lot of “Take a deep breath … and hold it …” until I often felt like I was going to faint during the whole process anyway. I don’t know if these repeated loudspeaker instructions are normal or if they were just required for me because an inflated lung is easier to inspect than a deflated one. I just did what I was told. Over and over and over again. Until they told me that they had to put in an IV to inject me with some substance to help enhance the images again. (Remember the CT scan?)

After a good bit of pain getting the IV in while I was still all covered on the table, the tech told me that the vein she was working with was no good so she’d need to do it again. She then gave me THE singlemost painful needle insertion I’ve ever experienced in my life. I actually apologized for the howl I let out. But at least the f-er was in now. And she said that this injectable dye would not give me the urinating sensation I got with the CT scan injectable. But I did get the mouth-full-of-turpentine, chemical taste again. (I honestly wonder about the damage I’m doing to myself with injectable dyes, multiple x-rays, CT scans which are said to equal 100 x-rays each, MRIs, etc.)

Now with this foreign chemical surging through my veins, they took another whole series of images … and friends like Michael Jackson, Norah Jones and Oasis kept me company. After about an hour, I was able to get up, get dressed and return to my mom, who kept herself busy on her iPad in the waiting area. My results are expected by Monday. Surgery is guaranteed, but there are still a lot of questions surrounding it that I’m hoping things like this MRI will help to answer.

More soon ….


Meeting the thoracic surgeon today and planning the next steps

It’s now the end of another long day. I had my specialist appointment today. He was very knowledgeable and had a great bedside manner. And he is apparently the best in his field anywhere in this area.

Thankfully, my husband and father came along with me or there’s a good chance I wouldn’t be able to report on a damned thing. For every ‘it has the look of a benign mass’ there was a ‘we can easily collapse the lung and remove a chunk of it or your chest wall to get everything out.’ (Deep breaths.) He does this kind of thing every day. But I don’t.

Following the appointment, my husband carefully scripted the following text that we have now collectively forwarded to more than fifty people:

“We saw the thoracic surgeon today. He looked at the CAT scan, etc. He seemed pretty confident that the mass is benign, again citing shape, location and density. But we won’t know for sure until he is in there. Regardless of what it is, he wants to go in, check it out and remove it. He might be able to do everything thoracoscopically but will be prepared to go in with traditional surgery to remove it if necessary. The next step is an MRI, which will happen either Friday or Monday. We should also have a surgery date by Monday. It will probably happen right after Thanksgiving.”

Since his text, we have scheduled my MRI for the crack of dawn tomorrow morning. Which will be good practice for the 5am arrival time I’ve already been quoted for the upcoming surgery. I am a big baby about sleep. I love it and don’t like ending it so early in the morning. So, the sweats I’m sleeping in tonight added to a ponytail and possible toothbrushing should complete my morning regimen before my mom (who is sleeping here tonight) and I head out tomorrow morning.

I had another little moment of anxiety today when the surgery options were being explained to me. A little dizziness as I’m prone to nervous fainting and some nausea. So I was prescribed a little oral ‘help’ from my doctor and am feeling well enough to write everything down tonight before I fall asleep. (Here’s hoping I sound lucid.) Writing about everything may seem odd at a time like this one but organizing my brain is helpful, even therapeutic, for me. So thanks for listening.

And please continue to keep my friend in your thoughts and prayers. She still really needs all the positivity she can get.

Talk to everyone soon. Oh, and if you’ve ever had an MRI, I’d love details and advice for tomorrow. Thanks, all.


This blog entry is the hardest one I’ve written to date

Will insurance cover any complications that arise during elective surgery?

Remember the question my husband keeps asking the doctors … and how the answer we keep hearing is basically … NO?  For this reason, all breast doctors want you to get a mammogram before surgery.  Some doctors (Doctor 1 in our case) even want you to get a full physical workup. By doing so and ruling out any potential health issues beforehand, your risk of problems during surgery drop to almost nothing.

Seemed like a pretty good idea to me. Plus I haven’t had a good workup in years.  “Years” meaning never.  So, I decided to bite the bullet and submit to a complete medical examination and all the joys that go along with it.  It’s always good to know where your health stands anyway, right? I called my regular doctor … which resulted in a general exam (weight, blood pressure, etc.), blood tests and a surprise PAP (and it wasn’t even my birthday) yesterday as well as chest x-rays and an EKG today.

Some, not all, of the results are in.  The blood work is fine.  Always good to hear. Unfortunately, the chest x-ray (the first I’ve ever received) is not.

I have a tumor. On my right lung.  On the pleura (lining) of my right lung.  Which, apparently, if you’re going to have a tumor on your lung is the best place to have it.  About the size of a ping pong ball.  Or a jawbreaker.  Believe it or not, this was debated for a few minutes.

They don’t know what it is. So, I’m going in for a cat scan tomorrow. My husband and my parents know. And two of my good friends.  And now you.

For the record, yes, I am concerned.  More so than with the breast lump we discovered six weeks ago.  And pissed off with myself for being concerned.  I have a good friend in the hospital who is actually having surgery tomorrow to have a mass removed.  If you send out any good vibes tonight, send them to her.  She needs them.  I need a good night’s sleep. And maybe a valium. I’ll be fine.