Sunday, October 04, 2009

Dear cancer, I hate you


I'm in the freakin' hospital again. Agh.* Just when I was starting to feel better this week - finally able to do more than lie on the couch in a vegetating stupor (I even went out for dinner on Friday with some friends: thanks guys!) - I started having pain in my right side again. It started Wed night when I was watching "Monsters vs. Aliens" (a much funnier movie than I expected) and my right side felt sore from laughing. It was just positionally sore for a couple days, then it started hurting more and more consistently. Finally I was having trouble sleeping from the pain and came into the ER on Saturday morning. The symptoms were similar to the last time I had a liver bleed, so they wanted to do a contrast CT to check for bleeding. The slightly good news is there was no sign of bleeding. The bad news is that the mass has almost doubled in size since Sept. 1. WTF? It looks like a freaking grapefruit on the scan.

For now they've kept me here for monitoring to make sure the mass doesn't rupture and start bleeding. Right now we just don't have enough information about what the mass is. The CT can't show if it's blood or tumor. A PET-CT could show how much of it is tumor (if it's the whole thing it should light up like a beacon) but of course you can't get a PET-CT on the weekend because apparently there's just not much call for emergency PET-CTs. This is just one of those rare cases where it'd really be useful to have one in a hurry. One of these days I should be able to go to Vegas and cash in this bad luck for something good.

In any case it hasn't been too bad waiting around. They've been controlling my pain pretty well and I've had friends in town to visit (maybe not the party they were looking for, but they've been good sports to hang out here).

Supposedly the oncology team got in touch with someone in nuclear medicine this weekend, so they at least know of the problem. Of course the PET-CT hasn't actually been scheduled yet, but the plan is to do it tomorrow morning.** Hopefully then we'll have the information needed to act next - either drain the blood or do something about the tumor (or both). The astute reader might ask, "Why not just go in and drain the thing now? You know it was bleeding before, so some of it must be blood." Well, the problem is if they stick a needle into the tumor, then when they pull the needle out, the track it was in can actually spread tumor cells around, which is bad news. So, again, it's hurry up and wait. . .

* "Agh" obviously doesn't cover what I'm feeling right now, but a post filled with rampant cursing probably isn't very pleasant to read either. But really, I'm f&#king sick of this sh*t. It really seems like every time I'm starting to have good news, more sh*t piles on. Don't get me wrong, I'll fight it tooth and nail, because cancer is a cowardly bastard and doesn't deserve any kind of respect. But damn, this f&#king sucks.

** Fun little fact: apparently it's really hard to get a PET-CT done as an in-patient procedure. My doctor friend Sarah says it's because of the way the reimbursement gets handled. Somehow an in-patient scan is not reimbursed as much as an out-patient scan. That's right, somehow the same exact procedure costs two different amounts. Another quirky obnoxious insurance issue that makes no sense.


Sharon U. said...

Aw, man. That does f&#king suck. You just can't catch a break, can you? I say we blame Monsters vs. Aliens. F&#king DreamWorks made you laugh too hard!

Hope the PET scan happens soon so you've got some answers.

ejwong said...

"One of these days I should be able to go to Vegas and cash in this bad luck for something good."

YES!!! I couldn't agree more!! I'll drive :)

Hm. Probably something sentimental belongs here. Um.. cancer sucks. These guys are all the same. It'll get tired of picking on you soon enough, and move on to the next guy. Maybe then, you can sneak up behind it, stick its head in a toilet, and give it a swirly.

Sarah said...

hey alex-

i read your blog all the time and never post comments, so i just thought i'd say hi and man that does suck. im impressed with how resilient you are! (resilient was a vocab word for my 10th grade English class this week). good luck!

sarah (barthelow)