Wednesday, March 17, 2010

March 17, 2010
Part 2: Round and Round She Goes

Today is MRI day.

And it is also St. Patrick's Day.

So Happy St. Patrick's Day! everybody.

And, if like me, you're having an MRI done today, well then, HAPPY MRI DAY! And if you are celebrating MRI DAY like me and you're not wearing a hospital gown, expect to get pinched. Just thought I would give you a head's up.

I should actually say that this is MRI II Day. Yes. After waiting six months for my first MRI, I am now scheduled for a second one only eight days later. And there is a reason.

I have a tumor on my spine.

Oh. I'm sorry. Was that too abrupt? Should I have worked my way towards breaking that potentially scary news to you a little slower? Maybe started with good news first? Like "Good news everybody! I don't have leprosy." Or Hey! Guess what! I'm not possessed by the Devil! Let's go to church! It's bingo night!"

Well, trust me, I know how you feel because that is how my doctor, you remember me talking about him, don't you? Frank. Dr. Burns. Or as he is referred to in my house, Dr. Numbnuts.

Well, that's how he announced the news to me. Casually. As he was sorting through some papers on his desk. He didn't even look at me. He just said, "You have a tumor on your spine." He said it like he was saying "I need to pick up my shirts from the cleaners." The timber of his voice never changed. He sounded like he was ordering the side salad instead of the fries for lunch.

Now some of you might say, "Well Jody. Maybe he was saying it that way as to not alarm you." Or "Maybe he just said it that way because he knows there's nothing wrong with you." (And let's hope you're right!) But. Nah. You're...WRONG! Sorry. But you are.

You don't know Frank like I know Frank. The guy is a drone. A man devoid of compassion. He didn't give me that news that way because he cares about me. He said it like that because he doesn't have one of those little chips in his brain that regulates someone from 'being an asshole' and someone 'not being an asshole.'

Right now, though, all that pales in comparison to the fact that I'm scared shitless. I'm trying to stay positive, but I'm scared. I'm scared mostly because at this time, I have no clue what is going on and I have a doctor who was sitting on the information that I have a tumor (A FRIGGIN' TUMOR!!) on my spine and he was going to make me wait two months (TWO FRIGGIN' MONTHS!!) to tell me. You getting the picture on what kind of a guy-what kind of a doctor-good Ol' Frank is?

I'm scared mostly because you can't have someone say the word 'tumor' to you and not think of the other word. You know the one. The one that starts with the letter 'C.' But I'm not even going there yet. I can't.

We live in the age of The Internet and I am not one to sit around. Especially when someone tells me I have a tumor on my spine. Especially when I am in pain every day and my life, for the most part, has come to a screeching halt. So I have begun to do a little detective work.

I have the radiologist's report from my first MRI. I have the c.d. from the same MRI. And i'm trying to find an answer. Sure. It's not exactly the Da Vinci code, but if Tom Hanks wants to make some phone calls or do some digging around on my behalf, who am I to say "Tom. I've got this. Please. Don't concern yourself. And by the way, congratulations on The Pacific."

I have my own team of specialists and I've had them look at the c.d. from my first MRI. Now, granted, these people aren't medical professionals, but they've been around the cervical block, if you will, a time or two, and I trust their assessment. At the very least I can feel like I have someone in my corner who can see that there is a serious problem.

One of these folks, Alexis (not her real name) has been through Hell and back with back and neck surgeries. Alexis has been through the fire. She can walk the walk and talk the talk. She has the battle scars and knows what to look for on a c.d. from an MRI. She has certainly spent more time looking at mine than my own doctor did. And she supplied pizza and soda along with her diagnosis! Can it get better than that people? I think not.

Anyway, I showed her my c.d. and she pointed immediately to the area of my neck where the pain, and all my troubles, are originating. Actually, and with all respect to Alexis, anyone can look at the images from my MRI and point to the problem area. THAT'S how obvious it is. Alexis pointed right to it. Didn't take her longer than a second or two. It was like one of those picture pages in Highlights Magazine where you have to find all the hidden objects in a drawing. She looked at the image of my neck and said, "I see the spoon."

C3 and C4, the two discs at the base of my skull, and your skull for that matter, are the areas of concern. And yes, there is an area, a grayish mass, that could very well be a tumor. And since the word "tumor" was used by my doctor, that's what I'll say it is for now.

From my research I have discovered that there are basically two types of tumors which can form on the cervical area of the spine. A little area that I like to call my neck. These two types are tumors of the bone and tumors of the neural elements. Apparently both are very rare. Well, let's hope so.

There are also fatty tumors (Ok. So I went a little overboard with the Christmas cookies this year) and there are cysts. I have no idea which of these applies to the thing which is growing on my spine at the C3 and C4 levels. And it is apparent, neither does my neurologist, Dr. Frank Burns. He didn't use the word 'cyst' and he didn't mention 'fatty tumors.' So. Who knows? Seriously. Does anyone know anyone who knows?

I have now been referred to a neurosurgeon, because in the words of my neurologist, Dr. Shit-for-Brains (Sorry. New names for this guy just keep popping into my head. Gee. I hope they don't show up on the MRI today) because in the words of Dr. Dipshit (SEE?! I can't stop myself) "I just don't know what to do with you anymore."

Now there's a guy who cares way too much.
Thanks Frank. I'm leaving you now. Go back to your own stuff.
You know what they say, 'Malpractice makes for less than perfect.'

Before you get too happy for me readers, understand that just because I have been referred to a neurosurgeon, that doesn't mean I'm going to be sitting on a sheet of butcher paper in a little floral gown in front of one anytime soon.

No. For now I have been put back into the bingo hopper and 'Round and Round She Goes!' and who will I get? Shit. Nobody knows. I did ask what the time frame was for me being paired up with my dream date and I was told anywhere between three to eight weeks.

HELLO! Hi. Remember me? The guy with the tumor on my spine? The tumor that as we speak may be getting bigger. Eight weeks? By the time I actually see a neurosurgeon the tumor might be the size of a grapefruit and sitting on my shoulder. Sure. I could paint a face on it and call it Mini-Me...BUT I'D RATHER NOT. Okay? Jeepers Creepers, people! Get off the freakin' pot and let's get this train rolling! C'mon!

Sadly though, this is how it is. There is a limited number of neurosurgeons apparently in the State of Virginia. Sure. That figures. There's probably 1000 proctologists and only 5 neurosurgeons. Just my luck. If I want someone to stick their hand up my caboose, they'll apparently have to fight over me. Neurosurgeons? Not so much.

EVERYBODY has to wait three to eight weeks. Everybody. No exceptions. I'm nobody special and I have to wait my turn like a good boy.

"It's a fatty tumor. It's a fatty tumor." That's my mantra for right now. "It's a fatty tumor."

And as soon as I feel better I'm putting C3 and C4 on a low carb diet. And lots of cardio. Oh yes. There will be lots of cardio.

I'm staying positive for now. I'm really, really trying. 'And who knows?' a little voice inside my head whispers to me when I'm at my lowest, 'Maybe Frank was reading someone else's report.'

I actually wouldn't be too surprised if that was the case. Frank, after all, is a moron and morons do things like that. And of course, if that was the case, I would be very relieved and then I would drive to Ferret Face's office and staple his bottom lip to the back of his head.

I have a great support system and that is everything. It would be nice if my doctor was included in that group of people, but there's no crying over spilled milk. It's like my father said when I didn't get the bike I wanted one year for Christmas. "Quit your whining," he said, "If you know what's good for ya!"

I'm not whining. I like to think of it as squeaking. Because the squeaky wheel gets know.

and that's Jody with a "y"


  1. I love you Jody... with a "y"... and I'm SO glad you are writing.. <3 <3

  2. I hate stupid doctors. Like the one who told my sister Jan 10 years ago that her abdominal pain was caused by reflux-- it was a huge colon tumor. She's fine now. May you be soon too!

  3. I will never understand how doctors can say "Wait" when dealing with tumors. It's the same thing with cavities and dentists. Whaddya mean, schedule an appointment for next month, doc? I want it taken care of right NOW! Can't you skip one round of golf???

  4. Oh, yeah, and the one that told me last year, "Yeah, your mammogram looks kind of weird, but it's probably nothing. Come back in six months." Um, sorry, BUZZZZZZ-- the correct answer was "cancer."

    May your wait be short and your surgeon both competent and compassionate. Praying for you, dear one!

  5. Jeanne that is DEPLORABLE....Good thing your real Dr. is THE Physician... God bless you and your spirit.