Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Green bananas

I’m back to buying green bananas. It’s almost embarrassing now to speak with people who only heard about the first half of my diagnostic workup last week. That was an unwelcome shock to me and to some of you. I liked the second half of the workup a lot better. Once you’ve been through cancer treatment and survived, you don’t want to become the boy who cried wolf. So to all of you who were kind enough to tune in for my latest medical misadventure, let me just say: (click here).

I’ll be visiting with my oncologist today to plot the next few months. He’s already advised me to plan on a plain-vanilla chest CT in three months, which seems reasonable. Whatever those snot balls are in my chest, they continue to merit a close watch. My pet theory is that they’re granulomas, which are small, inflammatory masses that are formed when the immune system tracks down and kills a foreign invader—like cancer cells. My doc will probably roll his eyes at my online sleuthing, but I doubt he’ll have a better story. I also have an appointment next Monday with a melanoma specialist in Portland to make sure I’m on the right track in terms of ongoing surveillance. There is no standard of care for stage III melanoma survivors, so I want at least a second opinion on this. Lord willing, my healthcare next year will consist of little more than a few scans.

I continue to believe we are meant to live life boldly. This doesn’t come naturally to us all. My latest favorite quote is: “The one thing we owe absolutely to God is never to be afraid of anything” (Charles de Foucauld, desert hermit). Medical technology like CT and PET can stress us out because they reveal truth—and lies—about our physical condition that we can’t discover with our five senses. We place entirely too much faith in them. They can be like the weather report that tells us a deadly storm is barreling our way, but which veers off at the last moment. My personal Hurricane Katrina was averted last week. I have no quarrel with how my care was handled, and it gives me insight into how I can staunch my fear the next time I have a scan. This is something that I believe can get easier as time goes by. I owe it to the One who made me.

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