Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Oncologist Revisited (Not For the Faint of Heart)

When I called to make my appointment, on September 1st, the scheduler girl told me that Dr. McC didn't have any appointments available for 3 weeks, I told her that I had just had surgery with Dr. McC and it was discovered that my Shrek was malignant and I was told by my OB/GYN to make an appointment with her for the following week. She told me that she would have to speak to Dr. McC and call me back. She called me back the following Tuesday, after the Labor Day weekend. Friday Sept 4th at Noon would be my appointment.

I woke up that morning feeling anxious and wishing Ale was here with me. I just wanted to get it over with. As I was getting ready, I remembered that Ale had brought me a Bialetti for 3 people. He used it almost everyday he was here. I remember him saying, "I can't see my face if I don't have my cafe'..." So, just to feel a little closer to him, I made myself some espresso. Problem is..I drank enough for 3 people! Oops.....

Dr. McC was running around the office juggling about 3 patients at once. I remember thinking, does this woman eat?? I sat restless in the lobby. Fidgetting, shifting in the chair. My hands were shaking. I was beginning to think I might have a panic attack. Then I remembered, "Um, you had a triple shot of espresso! Of course your fidgetty!!" Finally, the nurse called my name and off I went. She put me in an exam room and asked me some questions. When she took my blood pressure it was insanely high! 144/99 Normally it's around 110/65 I told her that not only was I nervous, I had also drank a triple espresso. She smiled and said, "I'm not worried. We get high readings like that in this office all the time, so don't feel bad." Dr.McC came in shortly after and asked me how I was feeling. I told her I was feeling fine physically, but emotionally I was completely drained. She understood, of course. She examined my incisions and found that one was a little irritated, so she gave me some sample packets of Neosporin and some bandages to put on it. She told me that the lab was faxing over the final report but that she already suspected what would be in the final.

I will write for you here the description of Shrek (an appropriate name as you will read in it's description). Please bare in mind that this is NOT an embryo. This is simply a germ cell gone awry. The pathology report reads as follows:


All slides contain portions of an immature teratoma with numerous tissue types including skin, cartilage, respiratory epithelium, lymphocytes, bone, focal retina, teeth, nueral tissue, the latter was present in multiple slides. All but four foci of the neural tissue are immature glial tissue consistent with Grade 1 (cancer cells). Four foci of immature neuroectoderm resembling a notochord-type tissue are present, with two of the foci less than 1 high power field and two greater than 1 but less than 2 high power fields.

Disgusting, I know. To think that this little monster was growing inside of me well, I really can't describe what I felt. It goes on to say that hair was not identified grossly (which is quite common in dermoid cysts, but my Shrek was not hairy, phew...) Dr. McC. said that the cancer was in it's beginning stages. Grade 1. She said she is quite confident that the cancer was contained in the cyst. She went on to tell me that at one point when they were removing Shrek, there was a slight leak but they were very fast to irrigate and suction it all out. So, based on the pathology results and her expert opinion, I am cancer free!!!! However, (isn't there always a however) she wants to follow me for the next year or so, seeing me perhaps every 3 months with a CatScan thrown in there every couple of months for good measure. I can't explain to you the relief I felt, but I also couldn't help but ask, are you sure you got it all??? She said that this would be the reason for the follow-up visits with her. She would hate to put me back on the operating table, if there was really no need, and she said that we should wait a bit to do a CatScan so that it shows everything clearly. 2 weeks to be exact. She also told me that they took pictures of Shrek because it was quite different than your average Dermoid Cyst and she asked me if I had a chance to see them. No!! Had I known I would have definitely taken a look. I'm curious by nature and want to see it. She's going to get the pics so I can have a look. The Residents and Interns were happy to see such a thing...ew!

I walked out of that office having a new appreciation for life. I am never going to take even one second for granted. After several deep breaths, I cried tears of joy. I wasn't going to have to tell my Mom anything and I was going to have another chance to follow my dreams. Ale and I would have a chance to really be together and I have one good ovary left, which means, I still have a chance to be a Mommy. I'm a cancer survivor. God is good, He really is.


sognatrice said...

Thank goodness! Woohoo!

Ciaoooooooo Shrek!

KC said...

What a relief that they were able to get Shrek out of you that quickly. Congratulations on being a cancer survivor!

Piccola said...

Thanks girls!