Living with Cancer

Winter 2011

Hearing my Doctor’s Voice

And so it begins … .

Those were the first words that went through my head when my doctor told me that he found a tumor during a routine CAT scan.

“Crap” was the word that sums up my feelings about this matter. Crap.

Tumors are amazing creatures with minds of their own apparently. Not too long ago ‘they’ discovered a carcinoid tumor on my small intestine and said it had to come out. Imagine all of those life changing words in one sentence aimed at me. But we’re lucky; carcinoid tumors are exceedingly slow growing tumors. Apparently there are few if any symptoms for these tumors. Most are found incidentally while looking for something different. That’s what happened to me.

Several years ago I was diagnosed with gastrointestinal reflux disease (GURD). It  has been relatively easy to live with and didn’t require me to change my daily life much. I took my meds, cut down on acid foods like tomatoes, and didn’t eat right before going to bed. For the most part, GURD and I were getting along nicely.

Upon occasion, a strange feeling would travel through my intestinal track, though. Over the years I had learned to feel the different levels of discomfort. Most of the time the aches were routine. Nothing bizarre, nothing really painful. Just different.

That is until last September when a completely different pain struck my gut. My husband and I went to the ER where I drank a liquid that could be tracked via a CAT scan. Without any obvious blockage or fever, I was given the appropriate meds and told to follow up with our family doctor within 3 to 5 days.

Before I could get into the appointment, our family physician called with results of the CAT scan. He has been our family physician since 2000 so he knows us well. But he never calls. He’s busy, we respect that. He’s with us when he needs to be; he knows our lifestyle, likes, and work habits. Besides, over the years most every member of his staff has relayed his messages in terms that we can understand. I trust any and all of his staff, knowing they will convey accurate and timely information.

So, when I heard his voice, my heart sank. I zoned out. Crap.

I believe by the third time he repeated his message he finally got my attention. My mind shut down when I heard his voice. After all, I was expecting one of his staff members to call with the CAT scan results.

I remember hearing his worlds, “It’s my job to inform and educate you while settling your down.” I know he said much more but that’s when I heard. Hummm … . My first thought was to tell him to put his assistant on the phone but the words didn’t come out. I listened to him again.

As always he had done his homework before he calling. We had trusted him for twelve years, I knew I had to hang in there and hear what he was saying. He started talking about carcinoid tumors and how to deal with them. I’m not liking this but I’m listening.

I heard, ‘mumble mumble surgery mumble mumble surgery’. Then silence took over again. Guess I was processing the surgery word and couldn’t take in any more. Denial is defiantly a self preservation tactic.

Next I heard that his assistant would be calling me back with the appointment with the surgeon. And I thought a dentist was scary. A surgeon? Crap.

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