Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Biopsy: an inoccuous name for human exploratory drilling

Good news, they didn't strike oil! Or maybe that's the bad news considering gas prices these days. I could have been my own energy source.

Instead, they struck blood. Plenty of it! Running down my stomach and down my back simultaneously. I wish I'd had someone there with a camera so I could play dead while bleeding from front and back. It would have scared the crap out of Mom. Sorry Mom! You know I wouldn't have done that to you, but it sounded funny.

So, I get called back and meet the doctor who happens to be the brother of my neurologist. I haven't decided which one is the evil twin (not that they are even twins), but this one looks more like George Clooney. Both of them are the nicest guys you ever want to meet -- their mother must be so proud!

He tells me his nurse will numb me up and then we'll get started. Fortunately all three moles are located at roughly the same vertical position up my spine. The one in front, an inch or two above my navel on the left, and the other 2 within a half inch apart from each other right along my spine in the back. All I had to do was hold my shirt up and expose my midriff. No clothing removal, however I did take my sandals off to get more comfy.

The nurse came at me with this little baby of a needle citing her rehearsed speech meant to calm my fears. I laughed and said "is that all you've got! I stick myself in the leg once a week with the granddaddy of that baby needle!"

It didn't even hurt, but then I guess when it's filled with numbing agent it wouldn't tend to hurt, would it? Why don't they put a little bit of that in Copaxone needles? That stuff BURNS! A touch of Novocain would be humane, don't you think?

It only took a couple minutes before the doctor came back in and hovered close. I looked at the ceiling while he did something I couldn't see or feel. Then he said "all done!" and he was.

"That's it? Wow! That was fast and I didn't feel a thing!"

I asked if the family had any more doctors I could use, like a dentist or GYN or something. He just laughed and said "Fresh out of doctors; that's all we had."

I asked if he would be doing the pathology on them and he said no. I stressed the imperative, urgent need to get the results STAT. (I thought he'd understand the lingo if I put it that way, and besides, how many times does a patient get to tell a doctor "STAT"?) He said he'd send it to Shands Jacksonville and let them do the pathology. Fortunately, since the research dept. for this study is also at Shands Jacksonville, my trial coordinator can now pester them until they hurry up and say "Benign".

Which is what they'd better say, because I found out yesterday that Novartis will take nothing less for an answer. If these spots contain even one "atypical" or "questionable" cell, I'm kicked to the curb like yesterday's trash.

I can't let that happen. It's my only social outing to go to the study center and visit with all the nurses and doctors. If they take away that I'll have no reason to ever leave home again.

Worse, I will be feeling like the wicked witch of the west after they poured water on her. Take my Fingolimod away and I'll probably melt into a puddle and disappear, too. Perish the thought! I can't control what happens. The moles are now out of my hands, or off my skin, or however you want to say it. The results are going to be what they are. All I can do is send "benign" thoughts out into space and hope the words ricochet around enough to hit the brain of the pathologist and force him to dictate it as my path results.

I'll know something sometime...anywhere between today and 10 days from now.

In the meantime I'm out of shots and have about 12 pills left.

I'm starting to get that feeling of panic I used to get when I only had a couple of cigarettes left. Only I can't run to the convenience store and buy another bottle of pills. Gulp.

We shall see.

I survived Fay and all I got was this lousy T-shirt

I spent over $200 preparing for every imaginable emergency that could possibly come from a tropical storm/hurricane passing over us, and she turned out to be a gardener with a bad perspiration problem. All the dead stuff was blown from the trees, along with a couple of new branches that I suppose Fay thought needed pruning.

When the rain finally subsided, and the winds calmed down, I decided to go to the grocery store (and you're thinking "like they're going to be open!"). Floridian's are either tough-skinned or crazy, or both. The store was doing better business than ever before. I guess everyone else was also sick of being stuck in their homes for 3 days waiting for the drama of Fay to arrive and leave when she got hung up over the Daytona area set on the spin cycle.

I deliberately didn't purchase much fresh food prior to the storm knowing full well that, if the power went out, we'd be much better off surviving on Chef Boyardee ravioli or Dinty Moore Beef Stew. But after waiting and waiting...with the rain and wind slowly building, we had to actually start EATING that stuff. Blech! God only put these things on Earth to nourish Floridians through times without electric and punish them for living in what was only ever intended to be alligator breeding grounds at the same time.

I guess everyone else felt the same about their stash of Beanie Weenies and that's why the grocery store was filled to capacity.

Our electric never even flickered, but the satellite TV did go out at times. Ooooo! Scary!

Turns out Fay was just a dress rehearsal for her brother Gustav.Where the HECK do they come up with these names??! I think the nerds in the National Hurricane Center are teehee-ing at the office as they brainstorm the name list. I think they try them out on their tongue to see which names evoke the funniest reactions among their peers.

"Hey, how does 'Cootie devastates North Florida' sound to you, guys?"

Laughing to tears, his coworkers all give him 2 thumbs up as they move on to the D names.

Very funny. We are the ones who have to report this stuff to the insurance companies and hire tree removal services, etc. all the while referring to the storm with that ridiculous name you gave it. And YOU guys aren't out of the woods either, you know. Your central office is in Miami! Maybe the storms resent the names and hit Florida so often in repeated attempts to punish you. Ever think of that??!

Anyhow, Fay has left the building and she was just a warm-up act for Gustav. Naturally. Because I only managed to get my biopsies during all this mess...there's still the big day ahead for starting the extension phase and I only have so many pills to last me until then. Why not have another hurricane looming ominously over the whole affair? I wonder if the girl on the box of Miss Clairol is as gray as I am underneath all that. Probably not, but I am living proof that it has superior gray coverage.

I mentioned the biopsies, didn't I? That deserves an entry all it's own so I close this out by saying "Farewell, Fay, and don't come back. Four times is more than enough for any one storm to visit Florida."