Monday, April 26, 2010

Knowledge Is Power

My surgeon Dr. C was in at 7:30 this morning, the whole parade of interns, residents, and so on in train, and he confirms that I can go home today, hooray.

(True, all systems are not Go as yet, if you know what I mean, but they have ways of dealing with that . . . Yes.)

Dr. C sees no need to wait for the pathology report; everything points to my "low malignant-potential tumor" as having been Stage 1; that is, confined to the one ovary. That bit of me and rather more is now out, out, out, which means Problem Solved. The tumor was only 6 cm long, compared to the 9.7 it was scaled from the February 19th sonogram, so there's no way to get a comparison to see if it grew in the last two months. But it's nice to know it wasn't as honking big as my gynecologist originally thought.

No chemo, Dr. C confirmed. Great to hear; I wouldn't have looked forward to that, even if I did have insurance.

This is all very good, but I had more questions. Only 15% chance of recurrance, right. But if it does come back, how will I know?

There'd be lower digestive tract problems that don't respond to anything else. In fact, where LMP ovarian tumor fatalities come about is due to bowel obstructions and the attendant sepsis, not because its cells infiltrate and change an affected organ.

Where would it come back?

Someplace in the abdomen.

And the response?

Surgery, again, unless that meant taking out something I couldn't do without. In which case they'd try chemo, even though it's not that effective, since the LMPT cells are so close to normal cells it's hard to hone in on that target.

But, says Dr. C, why am I fretting over this!? We're only talking 15%!

No, I'm not fretting! In fact, it makes me fretful that he should think I'm fretting! My academic mind wants to know all the facts, sort through them, arrange them as needed, and go on from there! In one of my favorite novels, Dorothy L. Sayers' Gaudy Night, the hero Lord Peter Wimsey, is shown to be a paragon among men because he correctly interprets a female academic's question about a certain male wardrobe malfunction not as skittishness, but as a desire for precise information. My Dr. C is not necessarily a paragon of that calibre, but he knows his medicine. So if he wants to chaff me for being a worrywart, he can do it, as long as he answers the questions.

Though maybe I should admit to an smidge of Eeyoreishness . . . My prevailing feeling is that with me, a 15% chance of anything is like 0% should it be about something good. Like if I should play the lottery or if we're desperate for rain or I'm angling for a job. But if it's something undesirable . . . it may as well be even odds. I mean, I already "beat the odds" and got this weird kind of tumor, didn't I?

Never mind. Knowledge is power, and the more I'm master of it, the better. Anyway, who wants to be one of those patients who don't have all the available facts and goes around believing and talking as if her doctor is withholding information and may be doesn't know what he's talking about?

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