I got up at 5am this morning. Brian and I were on the road at 6:10am. I had an MRI at 12:15pm.
And now here we are. Brian and I are at Duke's Cancer Center, just outside the neuro-oncologists' office where my three medical folks will talk with me. It's 2:35pm, and we're early. We've been early every step of the day. Being early makes no difference--it could be an hour or more before we find out what Sharon, Gordana, and Elaine have learned in the MRI.
Will they see it exactly the same? Will they see it shrinking? Growing? This is a moment when they have to assess this tissue carefully, spending minutes, hours, to see what the MRI is saying. It's not easy, and obviously they have to take it very, very seriously.
Years ago, my neuro-oncologist was great, although I'm not sure I agree with everything he did. For example, I had an MRI before the holidays. Lights were up on trees on Rutledge Ave. We had a Christmas tree in our house. Maybelle and I were soon going to go home and be with my parents for a couple of weeks. Jim called (I always call professional doctors by their first names, and they do the same--works well). My body was instantly flushed with adrenaline.
"It's looking good," Jim told me. "Nothing to worry about. Merry Christmas!"
Relief washed through my body. Here we were, Christmas. Of course, it was the 2011 holidays--shit was all over the place in the holiday challenges--but they weren't about the brain tumor.
Shortly after the holidays were over, Jim called. "We're seeing a little growth in your tumor," he said. The tumor had begun growing before the holidays, but he didn't want me to have to deal with that fear and depression during the holiday season.
Kind, I know. But not what I want. This is my body. I am central to the decision-making here. The medical team will provide information, then we'll talk to find out what options are available, what they mean to me. Every time I'm interested in my death and whether it's time for me to begin making those plans. I feel like a full, blessed, loved, supported person when I'm allowed to be an adult in days like today.
The day before my birthday.
We're still waiting in the lobby. I'll let you know what I find out.