Wednesday, January 30, 2008

So Will This Be On The Final Exam?

One of my New Year's resolutions for 2008 was to take more risks, to exercise more courage, to try to step outside my comfort zone at least once a day. And it has been my fortune, good or otherwise, that I rarely have to go seeking excuses to cross my ever-expanding comfort zone border: my life seems to regularly hand out prime opportunities, served right to my door on a sterling silver platter.

Today's little adventure was an MRI of my brain.

Being strapped into the dark noisy pounding tube for 45 minutes was strange and creepy and dreadfully claustrophobic, and yet not nearly as bad as I'd feared it would be. Probably, in large part, because over the past two years I've perfected my ability to put myself into a dissociative trance to a high art. And anyway, I'm not particularly anxious about the results of this MRI. I mean, I'm not suspecting brain tumors or degenerative lesions or anything more dramatic than just a little residual chemo brain damage, which may or may not show up on the scan.

What happened was, the last time I went in for my routine six-month oncology clinic visit, I complained about having memory and concentration problems and just generally being a spacey ditz. I figure the chemo brain phenomenon still hasn't fully resolved, so I asked the young resident if there was anything I could take for it, like maybe Ritalin or one of those drugs. He went back to ask the oncologist on duty, and the way she described it to me when she could finally stop laughing was he burst into her office with this incredibly hopeful look on his face and gasped, "A lady out there wants to know if there's a pill she can take to improve her memory. Is there such a thing???"

Now this brilliant oncologist is actually rather well known around these parts, though I'd never seen her before and had no idea she was even doing time at Our Lady of the Damned. So it was a huge honor when she sat down to casually chat with me. I liked her a lot.

After reviewing my chart and asking me some basic questions, she said, "You know, it's not really unusual for our memories to give us a little trouble, what with aging and menopause and all. What sorts of problems have you been having?"

"Well," I said. "Last week I locked my keys in my car."

"Ha!" she said. "That's nothing. Last week I locked my keys, my phone, and my emergency beeper in my trunk. And the whole 45 minutes while I was waiting for the Pop-A-Lock truck, I had to listen to the phone ringing and the emergency beeper frantically beeping, like all my patients were dying."

"Well," I said. "I missed my turnoff on the interstate. I was halfway to Shreveport before I even realized it."

"Ha!" she said. "That's nothing. One Tuesday I went to my Wednesday hospital by mistake, and I was on my third patient before I realized it."

"Ok," I said. "I accidentally sent a fuck-you email intended for my ex to my landlord in California instead."

"Whoa," she said. "Wow. Ok. I'm ordering you an MRI of the brain, stat."

Anyway, it'll probably be a week before I can get these results since everything kind of shuts down for Mardi Gras around here. But meanwhile, to tide us over, this morning after the MRI I went to the medical records department and obtained the results for last Friday's CT scans. And here's what they have to say:

Impression: Negative CT of soft tissues of neck, unchanged since August 27, 2007. Negative CT abdomen & pelvis, unchanged from August 27, 2007. Negative CT thorax, unchanged from prior exam.


100% negative, still clean as a whistle, not a trace of trouble anywhere! I've been free of disease for one year since my last chemo now, and though the odds are still uncomfortably high that the lymphoma could return, passing the one year mark means they are considerably less uncomfortably high. Prognostically speaking, this is a statistical milestone. Or vice versa. Anyway, the best possible news.

And now with a tip o' the wig to my wise spiritual mentor the Ever Ob. Rev. B. Dagger Lee, would you all please join me in singing along to the Great Goddess of Soul:

22 Comments:

Blogger Kristi said...

Didn't Pat Roberts say he was taking memory pills? Scratch that, you don't want whatever he's taking.

Congratulations on the clean scan, and good luck with the brain MRI. I hear that chemo brain can linger for awhile.

3:54 PM  
Blogger Melinda said...

I was so happy to see another new post!! Even happier to read it!! (notice all of the exclamation marks!!)

I wouldn't worry about those little forgetful things - I'm 28 and regularly wear mismatched socks, forget what day of the week it is, and just this morning put the milk in the cupboard.

Best of luck with the MRI and please keep those posts coming - whatever you decide to write about.

11:07 PM  
Blogger Axon said...

Hey baby, way to represent! Good to see you up and invincible.

--Ax

11:35 PM  
Blogger Optimist said...

Awesome news! yeah!

Thanks for the Nina Simone - you know, you learn something new everyday.

Tuesday, I forgot I was supposed to take lunch to 40 doctors! oops.
I am putting it down to "TBD" (too buzy disorder)

xox Bonnie in Houston

1:07 AM  
Blogger George said...

Great to hear that you're doing well!

3:20 AM  
Blogger I. said...

Hi,

Can I ask you a question off-line? Please let me know how I can Email you. My Email address is davidson787@gmail.com.

Thank you. Idelle

8:47 AM  
Blogger Rev BDL said...

It is all written in the Book of Nina! Gloria in excelsior Nina!

I pretty regularly try to answer the phone on the TV remote.

Yrs, the Ever Obtusely Reverend BDL

10:37 AM  
Blogger Rev BDL said...

O man, fuck me! Gloria in Excelsis Nina!

10:56 AM  
Blogger Suzanne Horn said...

Congratulations on your GREAT test results!!! It has been said that joy shared is doubled, and that troubles shared are cut in half. Lots of us are out here celebrating for you!

What a joy to see you post again. Looking forward to hearing the results of the MRI, too, especially since there's not a lot of worry attached to it. I also hope you will "take us to Mardi Gras" with you and the pooches.

Starting my day with your blog has been my daily routine since September of 2006. (I'm a follwer from your Dr. Leda Horticulture days.) Your blog took me through a health crisis of my own (which thankfully passed) and gave me more courage in my own life. Your blog has become a great joy to me, and I am sure to so many others.

Thank you again for posting!

Suzanne Horn in California

11:19 AM  
Blogger Corvi said...

Well, halle-freakin'-lujah! I'm thrilled for you, and very glad to see you post. I've missed you.

Liz, you ROCK! Happy Mardi Gras!

1:15 PM  
Blogger Yankee T said...

What excellent news! So happy to see this post!D

1:29 PM  
Blogger Carole said...

I had a brain MRI too and no, the wait is not easy. I've learned never to tell them that you sometimes feel dizzy or that you think you still have chemo brain a year after chemo. Congrats on the good scans!

1:40 PM  
Blogger Abdul said...

Congrats on your good MRI scan, did you look at the images of the scan yourself? When I did my MRI scan, the radiologist showed me my little tumor in multiple 3d images, it was fascinating to see my lungs, body organs, bones, soft tissues and the ribs, etc. I had no idea what they were, the doctor pointed out all these to me, amazing stuff!

Also, did you receive an injection of contrast in your bloodstream before taking the MRI scan? Or any other injection? I had to take one! Also, was the MRI painful at all? Not for me! You can learn more about my tumor @ my blog www.researchmesotheliomacancer.com thanks!

11:02 AM  
Blogger leslie said...

fabulous news - hopefully the full report will only confirm what you've heard so far.

I laughed so hard at the memory stuff. I keep intending to take gingko for my memory only I never remember to take it.

glad to see a post from you!

11:26 AM  
Blogger Lene Andersen said...

That's wonderful news! It was nice to see you post again and with such good news!

10:25 AM  
Blogger Val said...

Thanks for the laugh -- needed it on a day-like-today...:-(

1:23 PM  
Blogger monicac2 said...

So glad to read about your clean scans! That is great news!

6:48 PM  
Blogger Prole said...

Hi, terribly sorry for the completely OT post, but I couldn’t find an email anywhere.

You’ve been nominated for a Canadian F-word Blog Award!

Details (and code for a badge if you like) are at A Creative Revolution. Congratulations and good luck!

http://www.acreativerevolution.ca/node/596/

6:41 PM  
Blogger Emmah said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

10:21 PM  
Blogger Emmah said...

HI my name is Emmah and I'm 12yrs old and 2 years ago I was diagnosed with neuroblastoma high risk stage 4. and I have a blog as well as you It talks about me and my family and what I've been through the last 2yrs. But I have a port to and what you said about it in one of your posted in 06 or 07 is so very very very very very True. I hope that I could maybe talk to you.

10:32 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

Oops, if you're willing to talk, then just leave a comment to this post saying so, then we just have to figure out how to connect somehow... privately.

Hopefully we can.

Clean scans = good thing...

(this comment is being posted by Emmah's dad)

2:57 AM  
Blogger Vanda said...

Hey liz, are you ok? Long time no hear from you.

4:19 PM  

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