Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Diagnosis

On Monday, June 4, I underwent the first of two MRI's. The test was in the morning, and I did not hear about the results until after 6PM. I received excellent care in both hospitals I was in, but there was a LOT of waiting, and the facts I so desperately needed to hear were slow in coming.

I knew the neurologist standing next to my bed that evening did not have good news; she asked if my children should leave the room with my wife before she discussed my results. There was a tumor. It was small, she said (about 3 cm), and in one place. It was easy to get to. But it was a tumor, nonetheless, and until it was biopsied, we would not know how bad it was.

I was transferred to Northridge Hospital the next day and scheduled for a biopsy by a neurosurgeon on Thursday.

The neurosurgeon came to see me Wednesday night. He surprised me by saying that he planned to actually remove the tumor the next day. I balked. "I thought we were just doing a biopsy," I said, "I'd like to get a second opinion, if I have time." The surgeon's bedside manner left something to be desired, but he assured me that I would be in no danger waiting, and agreed to just do the biopsy.

He told me the biopsy would be about 1/2 hour, but they actually kept me under General Anasthesia about 4.5 hours! I'd never been under GA that long, and it took me a long time to recover.

The next day, the surgeon came with the biopsy results: A grade 2 Astrocytoma. Cancer. He explained that tumors are rated on a 4-point scale, with 4 being the most aggressive. So, all things considered, things could be worse. I'll take a 2. I'll take a 2 in an operable location with no metastasis.

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