Am I the only one?

I have a bunch of blog posts started but that I can't quite finish. In the interim, here's something fun inspired by my friend Sara Lang's Facebook post:

What's something you've done that you're reasonably confident you're the only person on my friends list who has done it?

Two things quickly came to mind. And then another and another. Here's my running list.

  • Spent a night at Bill Walton's house
  • Spent 2.5 nights in the hospital after a cat bit me
  • Put in a straightjacket--at age 2 when I needed stitches in my nose
  • Had my picture taken with Lil B Da Based God and ended up in XXL's twitter feed
  • Broke my sternum playing sorority league flag football at Cornell and spent a night in intensive care
  • Hitchhiked in St. Barths with a driver who only spoke French

 

  • Danced to Taylor Swift on the pitch at Wembley Stadium before an NFL game
  • Flew across Kenya in a plane that was probably manufactured in 1970
  • Shot military grade weapons in the Utah desert
  • Was kissed by a doctor in his office (I was 22 or 23 at the time and had a huge crush on him, but I realize it sounds crazy in retrospect)

What's on your list?

The latest and greatest

Spoiler alert: this post features zero gross pictures. Apologies to the disappointed.

Today was my most recent CT scan. As I mentioned before, I'm slated to have scans every three months for a year. 

I prepare myself for the waiting, and yet I still find myself bewildered by the actual experience. In situations like mine, appointments are more suggestion than commitment. It's the trade-off for accessing a world-class specialist, and for him offering to review your raw test output with you in real time, same day. It's the knowledge that a patient in my situation will wait pretty much as long as is required to get whatever answers and comfort are available.

There is much variety within the waiting. Am I waiting in the wrong place? Did I arrive on the wrong day? Did I fail to prepare? Or is someone simply out to lunch?

Ebates Coupons and Cash Back

 

Do I risk adding to my waiting by pointing out the waiting? Or is speaking up essential to ending my waiting?

Although this was my third time seeing Dr. T, I'm still figuring out his systems. Whereas my surgeon was with one hospital, Dr. T is with another. Everything I learned dealing with my surgeon is useless now.

And no matter how much I prep, it seems like curveballs are the norm. Today I arrived at 1 pm for a 1:20 pm scan, only to find out that the test would be done without the gross barium drink (that requires approximately thirty minutes to drink and thirty minutes to digest). While this was good news, it also meant sitting in the crowded radiology waiting room until the actual test time: 2:20 pm.

Each visit with Dr. T makes the waiting worthwhile. At our first appointment, Dr. T picked up on my interest in medicine - beyond my own situation - and since then he has happily indulged my every question and even laughed at my jokes. I'm grateful for the way he treats me, as if I'm part patient, part student and part daughter.

So far, our appointments have started with a brief pronouncement from Dr. T - this time that the initial read of my scan says nothing in my abdomen has changed - before doing a deeper review and chat.

At this visit, he pulled up my CT scan images and methodically talked me through his process of evaluating them, what he hoped to see and what he did actually see. He shared with me how he determines if a spot is a blood vessel, some other organ structure or something in need of further investigation. He has studied my liver and kidneys, and complimented my gallbladder, noting that while it often swells with bile after a few hours of fasting, but mine has not done so. I suppose that's good. We looked at my bones, my lymph nodes and the spaces in between.

Dr. T took extra time considering the area where my left adrenal gland used to be, its former 'nest' now marked with medical clips no one had told me about before. 

"If there's trouble anywhere, it will most likely be here," he notes before adding "but it looks good." 

Dr. T will review the more official radiology report that arrives in a day or two, and share anything we might have missed. But the expectation is that I will have my third quarterly scan in July.

And then? Well, that is the subject of today's reality check. After two more quarterly scans, the plan is for me to begin having scans every four months instead of three. In my head, I had thought perhaps six months, so I felt disappointment I hadn't expected.

But the tumor took a long time to grow so large (working theory: ten years) meaning patience is necessary.

And so it goes. Give me a day or two, and hopefully I'll be able to turn my focus to the good news instead of the long road ahead.

Update: the July scan was also clear. I'll get my next scan in November.

"I hope that's not a @Cowboys star"

There I was, minding my own business, as I approached the TSA agent handling the TSA Pre check in at LAX, when suddenly I heard the man say "I hope that's not a Cowboys star."

"It's Hamilton, sir," I told him, moving my hair away from the embroidered logo on my sweatshirt.

"However..." I thought to myself, laughing at how the man might react if he knew

[And yes, I am wearing jeans and a sweatshirt while flying. I've been traveling a lot, ok?]


While I have you...hi. I am doing pretty well. Six months after my surgery, I only have three real reminders of what I experienced.

Itchy, unscratchable scars. I read this article in the NY Times and nodded. It should have occurred to me that I would feel this way given that I previously had ankle surgery and many years later, I still have a pins and needles feeling along one toe. But it's weird how surgeons never mention this likelihood. 

Annoying CT scans. I had one in January and my next one is in mid-April. The scan itself is easy and brief, but I dread drinking the gross barium 'milkshake' and the cumulative radiation exposure is scary.

Fatigue. Whoa. I need more sleep than I used to--and I have always been a sleeper. To be honest, I am tired all the time and it's a factor in my lack of recent blog posts. But the docs say this is normal so I sleep when I can.

Thanks for reading.

Progress report

Just a quick post to share the good news that yesterday I had my first CT scan since surgery and everything looks good. No sign of any tumors elsewhere.

Celebrate!

I'm cleared for three months. My next scan is scheduled for mid-April. The plan is for me to get scanned every three months for the first year. Beyond that...well, I'm not sure.

Dr. T let me take some pics of my CT images so if you'd like to see the "after" shot, just ask. 😀

A Woman's Place is in the Resistance

I went to the Women's March in NYC today - perhaps obviously. Surely none of you pegged me for a Trump supporter. 

(And if you did, please call a doctor to get your head examined ASAP.)

It was a wonderful day. I brought my patience because I knew crowds would be huge. It was tough to connect with friends because of all of the people and limited cell service.

 

Fortunately the one friend I was able to link up with, Karen, is wonderful. We enjoyed ourselves.

I was grateful to be among people who share my views about government, and that none of this is normal

Today isn't the end, but the beginning. I will resist this administration every step of the way.