Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Fat Fat the Water Liver

There were news vans outside of Mount Sinai yesterday when I went for my liver sonogram. The governor had checked in early that morning with a severe migraine. I had a severe migraine, too, but mine was from fasting for the sonogram, which is why I got there an hour early.

I breathed in that Sinai Smell, a potpourri of medicine and disinfectants that immediately took me back to four years ago this week, when my husband was brought there after collapsing on the living room floor from a seizure. Then, I'd been terrified at every sight and sound, certain that everything signified a death knell. I was a bit premature on that one, but I've never gotten immune to the smell.

A Russian lady did my sonogram. "You had gall bladder removed?"

"Yeah. Why, do you see one in there?"



When she was finished, she told me my doctor would notify me in two days.

"But if something were really wrong, you'd call right away, right?"

She paused. "Usually."

See, this is what happens in middle age: You go from reading nuances in whatever some guy you're interested in said, and start obsessing about them from medical professionals.

I got home to no messages on my machine, went out, came back two hours later, no messages, two hours later, no messages again. Then on the way to work this morning, it occurred to me that the doctor didn't know I'd taken the day off from work and could have called my office. Sure enough, as I crept up on my cubicle this morning, the light was on the phone and it was her, and the call had been made two hours after the test.

"Something they saw on your test from before grew, you should follow up with your PCP about that, and, oh yeah, you do have fatty liver."

A series of phone messages to both doctors and then I got her on the phone.

"Something they saw?"

"Yeah, you had a biopsy on something and it was benign?"


"It's probably that. I called your PCP and she'll let you know if there's anything else that needs to be done."

"So it's not pancreatic cancer?"

Hahaha, that's right, Melinda's a comedian. "No, it's not pancreatic cancer."

"Cause you know, my husband, James Konrad, he was your patient, died from metastatic cancer last year and every since know, cancer that metastasizes to the spouse and all that."

"Nah, nothing like that."

Okay, so now I'm waiting for the PCP, and telling myself that if something from three years ago took this long to grow, it's probably not going to kill me by lunchtime.

The governor's migraine was caused by glaucoma, and was cured by laser surgery. Mine was cured by a large but healthy meal in the Sinai cafeteria, complete with coffee. With skim milk and Splenda, of course. And The Smell.

Update, Thursday morning:

The PCP thinks the thing that got larger is a blood vessel, but wants me to have--guess what, folks? Go ahead, guess---yes, that's right, another test to confirm. She's going to get back to me to let me know whether it's going to be a CT scan or an MRI, which will pick up five other things that need to be rescanned.

cancer that metastasizes to the spouse

Omigod, Melinda.
I don't actually think the cancer jumped across the bed, but once a peer has been diagnosed with it, you lose your sense of "that happens to other people."

Especially since, once you're 50, they come up with another thing to screen every other day, and five more tests to figure out what they saw on the first test.

After three years, I was so immersed in the disease that I found myself thinking, "Will I ever get it" to "Which kind will I get?" That fear comes up whenever I'm waiting for the results of one of those screenings.
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