As this is unofficially pink ribbon month, I thought I’d share a story with you. My mother is a breast cancer survivor; My dad fights his own battle with melanomias and won his fight against prostrate cancer. Yet, the very word cancer is the stuff of nightmares.
Last November, we got another scare when my dad had to have part of his lung biopsied to check for cancer. Those were very long weeks. And I’m very thankful that it was just scar tissue. Scar tissue is pretty normal for those who live in Phoenix. Valley Fever tends to leave its mark on us long after we recover.
You’d think with such a family history, I’d be certain to get my yearly check-ups. You’d be wrong. I hate those stirrups. On our recent trip to Colorado, we stopped in at a medical museum and there were those darn things apparently in use since at least the mid-1800s. Ugh. I guess it doesn’t really matter. Even painted pink and bejeweled, it would still be hideous.
But they serve a purpose and what’s more hideous than stirrups (and its pal the duck-billed spectula) is dying of something that needn’t kill you if caught early enough. So off I went. And to punish myself for delaying my exam by a year, I decided to have a complete workup.
Over several weeks I had blood work taken, my mammo and accompanying ultrasound (because I have dense boobs, not that I am a dense boob) and then the piece de la resistance, I had a lung xray.
You see, I’ve had a chronic cough for about a year. Couple my dad’s scare with spending the first 20 years of my life with a smoker, the next 20 living in a house with asbestos (yes, I disturbed it) and sprinkle in a rather toxic exposure to chemicals that scarred my lungs and did nasty things to my liver (although it’s much better now) and you have a pretty good cancer cocktail.
So after all my tests, I learned I have a Vitamin D deficiency. Yep, I live in AZ but I wear sun screen. Cancer or Vitamin D. I’m taking a supplement. I did manage to have one fibroid in my breast go away. Come on menopause!
And then came the x-ray results.
It seems there was a shadow on my lung–lower left.
Huh? That wasn’t supposed to happen. After my doctor cleared it with my insurance, I made the appointment to have the CT scan. I can tell you I wrote zilch for two weeks. Why? Well scar tissue is as common around here as red-skinned tourists so that meant the x-ray had revealed something else. Something potentially sinister.
My husband went with me to get the CT scan. After tasting and sniffing the saline then feeling like I wet myself with the iodine, I managed not to freak out in the ring so they could take their pictures.
That was Friday. After a long weekend, Monday finally arrived and I waited for the phone call from the doctor. And waited. And waited. Bejeweled Blitz was my friend because I couldn’t really think about much of anything.
Finally, I called the doctor. The results had just been faxed to her and she’d get back to me the next morning. Ack! Thankfully, my GP is excellent and she had her assistant get back to me within the hour.
My lungs are clear–no sign of the shadow.
I have a gall stone that doesn’t bother me, so I won’t bother it.
And I have a benign tumor on my adrenal gland.
Life is good.