Sunday, January 20, 2008

Cancer Sucks: Part One

I am certain my doctor thinks that I am a hypochondriac. Somewhere in his charts and history of me is the notation, 'possible hypochondriac'. I suppose he actually might have a good reason to believe that, since I once insisted he authorize a MRI of my head, because I thought I might have a brain tumor. Then there was the time I truly believed that I had a cracked vertebrae or some such thing because of the tingling in my arms and legs. That time he sent me to a neurologist who did another MRI and other tests, all of which came back negative. The brain tumor might just have been too many nights out drinking with Dennis, and the tingling is probably the morphing of my body from a young man to a somewhat older man.

I wasn't always like this. There was a time when I would never have thought of seeing a doctor. Not unless I chopped off my finger, or if one of my testicles swelled up to the size of a grapefruit, (which actually did happen once and the doctor did say grapefruit) but that's another story. No I was quite stoic about my health, I would quietly suffer through illnesses and just let them run their course. That is until the autumn of 1987, when I found myself falling asleep in my car while I should have been working, and waking up in the middle of the night in a soaking sweat. I went to my doctor and his diagnosis was 'post nasal drip'. Post nasal drip? I thought that was one of those made up things they put on television commercials just to sell some stupid nasal spray.

So for three and a half months I kept returning to the doctor and I took the pills that he prescribed, and nothing changed. When I returned to see the doctor for a fourth follow-up visit, he was gone and another physician was taking his place. This new doctor immediately sent me for some x-rays. After my x-rays, the technician told me I couldn't leave and that the doctor wanted to talk to me. When the doctor came in he told me that he wanted to admit me to the hospital immediately. Not later that day, not tomorrow, but now. It seems that, to put it in the terms of the doctor, I had a tumor the size of a grapefruit in my chest.

Those god-damn grapefruit, they'll get you every time.

To be continued.......


  1. Yes, I remember that well. I also remember that your head also began to take on the look of a grapefruit once the chemo kicked in. So glad you made it through all that mess. So I guess the moral of this story is to always, always get a second opinion from another doctor.

  2. I am so glad that you made it through your cancer ordeal. I remember you having such lovely curly hair when it grew back!!!

  3. I remember that time also.... it just proves that sometimes WE do know our bodies are not "running" right and we have to do some insisting. The second time you saw your 1st doctor, he should have done that chest xray at the very least....thank god you ended up with the partner! Just proves that not all M.D.'s are as "attuned" as wqe would like to think that they are.