Friday, January 23, 2015

Progress in America: (9) A Non-Cancer Diary? Part II

Trouble Brewing

        October 7, Doc Lisa learns that the radiologist checking my MRI diagnosed me with probable metastasized cancer.  Less than a blink later I got a phone call:  “You need a bone scan of your pelvic area.  We need to clear up this bone island thing.  Get it – as soon as you can.” 

    Still no mention to me, the patient, of cancer.  Just a slow escalation of tests since July. 

    I googled MRI, CT-scan, and bone scan.  Googling ‘bone scan,’ had a ‘chilling effect.’  The search results puts ‘cancer’ all over my screen.  Nary a discussion of bone scan didn’t start with cancer.  Alarmed and depressed, I scheduled the bone scan for the first available date:  October 13.

    Now I had to let the kids know; we had long standing agreements to share serious medical news.  I began with a call to my daughter.  She didn’t pick up.  That wasn’t unusual and when that happens I often have to call her wife, whom I shall call Helen.  Helen told me my daughter was unreachable – on her way to Ohio.  So I told Helen, a doctor at a major University, that I was ordered to have a bone scan.  She said that such scans are ordered when there is strong evidence of cancer. 

    Now it was out in the open.  I shared it with the other kids.  On the 13th, I went for the pelvic bone scan.  Surprisingly, the doctor had ordered more: a whole body bone scan.  I got concerned.  The next day, my good Doc Lisa called to say I needed a biopsy.  On the 15th I went to see her.  She said the tests indicated metastasized cancer in the spine, the ribs and the hips.  She wanted one more CT scan of the chest area, to be sure the lungs were clear: they were.  She recommended that I get the biopsy with one of two doctors, at one of two hospitals.  I made my choice.  The biopsy was schedule for the middle of the next week. 

    By the end of the week my wife was reeling from the news.  On Monday she felt ill and went to the family Doc.  They had a long, emotional meeting, not all about her own symptoms.  That night the doctor looked at my entire medical history.  She discovered a record of a CT scan done in 2007.  Then we had a different doctor; the scan had been done at a different lab.  The report indicated there might have been a bone island at that time.  

    In the morning, Doc Lisa called the radiologist and insisted that he reevaluate the current CT-scan and MRI’s by comparing them with the 2007 scan.  By Tuesday afternoon the radiologist reported that there appeared to be no change between the scans.  Doc Lisa called me.

    “Put off that biopsy.  Take some time off, and then go to your bone doctor, and to a rheumatologist.  Let’s get some 2nd opinions.”

    Prescription 1 for the system: All test results must be readily available for viewing by all my docs ‘in the system,’ with the summary reports.  Records must be kept in a manner that facilitates searches (i.e. electronically).

    Case closed?  No way!

(to be continued)

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