I am back from Atlanta for a few days. My daughter in law to be was found to have a second, deeper tumor, resting next to her carotid artery. The larger one is entwined with her facial nerves. The surgeon decided to send her on to a head and neck specialist, and her original surgery, which was supposed to take place on the 13th, was canceled.
On Friday, we went to Emory University in Atlanta. It is a beautiful campus, clean and well appointed. First to see Janeen was a third year resident, an exhausted looking, disheveled young woman named Lindsey. My blood pressure increased when she came in; too many bad vibes associated with residents. She wanted to insert the flexible endoscope up her nose and down her throat, which Janeen had just been subjected to the previous Friday. The purpose of looking is to see if there are any tumors in those areas and also to see if the tonsils are involved. My nursing knowledge was a definite stumbling block in this instance; a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.
We finally met the new surgeon; a rather intimidating Chinese lady. I didn’t ask a question or say much of anything, but listened in case Janeen couldn’t remember what was said to her.
The surgeon wanted to find out what the tumor was because if it isn’t cancer,the smaller one may be able to be left alone and watched, because those tumors are generally slow growing. She seemed certain the smaller one is made of the same thing as the larger. So we were sent to another building, the Winston Cancer Center, the words enough to scare us both,and a needle aspiration would be performed and hopefully, yield a diagnosis right away.
As luck would have it, the pathologist couldn’t identify the cells. She was hopeful that with some other tests they would have a diagnosis today. I’m expecting a phone call soon with good news.
The surgeon also told us that Janeen’s case was so interesting that they were going to present it to the tumor board today. For one thing, tumors of the deeper lobe of the parotid gland are rare. Also, the second tumor isn’t
attached to the larger one, which is unusual.
They were determined to get a diagnosis in time for their esteemed tumor board, which I found annoying. Get it for this young woman who has been basically jerked around by the medical establishment for the past six months, when she
first discovered a lump behind her jaw bone and had been fighting one cold after another. I think the first doctor she went to told her it was a probably a lymph node.
Just an interesting factoid; every doctor and resident we saw was female. It was really nice, I have to say. There is just a difference in the way woman relate to patients. (In general. I have met woman docs throughout the years who were unable to communicate anything, let alone compassion.) Also, the doctor who did the needle aspiration was a pathologist. This was the first time I have seen a pathologist dealing directly with a patient. And she was a lovely, kind woman.
For the time being, this is where my life is. I feel so happy to be available to support my son and his girlfriend. One thing I do is cook for them. My husband got wind of it and had a good laugh; he knows that isn’t happening here at home.
While I have the chance, I am forcing myself to get rid of a lot of things I have hoarded away for many, many years, including fleeces that I will never use because they are black or brown, lots of chachkas, weaving tools and yarn, of course. I am boxing stuff up and begging my friends to take them away, so anyone needs something to add to their stash, call me. Staying busy is a good thing!