Tuesday, September 12, 2006


Which I didn’t even realize was a possibility: No change.

I don’t know which is worse …. Bad news; no news; or confusing news. Well, yes, bad news would have been the worst and thankfully we didn’t get that. At least, I don’t think so. But I’m not really sure. All you tumor-veterans out there will have to explain this stupid process to me, so I can understand what today’s results mean. Because Lord knows my husband is incapable of asking the doctor the questions that **I** need him to ask. And since we were too cheap to pay for the airfare for me to go with him, after the Air Force turned down my request to accompany him on *their* dime …. I was unable to interrogate the doctor myself, so I needed for Blaine to understand my questions telepathically and relay them to the oncologist, which he failed to do. Nineteen years of marriage and the guy still can’t read my mind.

Apparently the day started off badly when they were unable to do the MRI with contrast like they wanted, because Blaine has the veins of a 7-yr old butterfly princess and no-one could get an IV going, even though “They poked me at least ten damn times and none of them worked!” So he only got one of the scans for which he was scheduled.

He had a meeting with the oncologist several hours later, and thanks to the time zone difference, it took me until after dinner tonight to get the results from him. But the oncologist had looked at the pictures, and that was his official, executive, authorized, I-went-to-medical-school diagnosis: No change.

What does that mean?????

This is the phone conversation we had. Verbatim. I swear, you will wonder how we’ve stayed married for so long.

Blaine: “So how was your day today?”

Kristie: “Knock off the chitchat and tell me what they said”

Blaine: “About the scans?” --- My hand to God, he said that. No, about the price of rice in China …. Yes you bonehead, about the scans.

Kristie: “Yes, about the scans”

Blaine: “The tumors are exactly like they were before, no change”

Kristie: “What do you mean no change? They’re supposed to be gone”

Blaine: “They’re not”

Kristie: “Well then they’re supposed to be smaller”

Blaine: “They’re not”

Kristie: “So the radiation didn’t work?”

Blaine: “I think it worked. The tumors haven’t grown.”

Kristie: “But what does that mean?”

Blaine: “It means they’re not any bigger.”

Kristie: “Yes, I’m aware of what the word ‘grown’ implies. So does that mean you still have cancer?”

Blaine: “I think it means the radiation made the cancer cells dormant”

Kristie: “So what does that mean?”

Blaine: “Dormant means it’s not growing”

Kristie: (really gritting my teeth about now) “Yes, I own a dictionary. I know the meaning of the word dormant. What does it mean with regards to your cancer? The tumors in YOUR head???”

Blaine: “I’m not sure”

Kristie: “So did the doctor say it will stay dormant?”

Blaine: “I don’t know”

Kristie: “Will it start growing again at some point?”

Blaine: “I hope not”

Kristie: “Did the doctor say this was good?”

Blaine: “Not really”

Kristie: “Did the doctor say this was bad?”

Blaine: “Not really”

Kristie: “So what happens now?”

Blaine: “I don’t know”

Kristie: “Are you going to be able to get that one test done again?”

Blaine: “The doctor didn’t mention it.”

Kristie: “Did you ask? Would it make a difference in the results?”

Blaine: “Um, no. I don't think so. I don't know.”

Kristie: “What did he say about your pain?”

Blaine: “He doesn’t know.”

Kristie: "Does he think it will get better anytime soon?"

Blaine: "He's not sure"

Kristie: “Well, what did he recommend you DO about it?”

Blaine: “See a neurosurgeon”

Kristie: “A neurosurgeon? Why a neurosurgeon? What could a neurosurgeon do?”

Blaine: “A neurosurgeon has something to do with nerves”


Etc. Etc. Etc. Seriously, it’s a good thing we were on our cell phones because if I’d had a phone cord handy, I’d have strangled him with it.

Bottom line is this (I think): The tumors aren’t any bigger, which is good. But they’re still there. I don’t know the risk posed by dormant tumors. How often do they stay dormant? Can they stay dormant forever? Since they’re not smaller, they don’t plan to operate. Unless they grow larger, I don’t think we do anything. The oncologist wants to see Blaine in four months for repeat scans. And he gave him the go-ahead to meet with the oral surgeon on Thursday to discuss continuing the reconstruction work.

So overall, I guess its good news.

Isn’t it? Is it? Why did four weeks of radiation not eradicate the tumors? Or even shrink them? Is a dormant tumor no more threatening than any other non-malignant tumor? Are they just like fatty tumors now, in his head? Are there still cancer cells there? What might trigger them to become active again? Will the tumor shrink on its own? Why the hell do I mis-type tumor as tumour every single time I type the damn word?!?!?!?!?!

I’m sorry if I’m coming across as frustrated. I’m grateful they’ve not grown. Really. I am. But I had every intention of sitting here tonight, updating you with the fabulous news that they were GONE. I had already picked out the celebratory song I was going to put up on the site. Instead, we’re back to Seal’s “Crazy” because that’s my permanent state of mind these days.

His head is not the one I’m worried about anymore. It’s mine. It’s going to explode. Although since my brain is so tiny and confused, it probably won’t make that big of a mess.

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