Wednesday, March 24, 2010

March 24, 2010

"Well my soul checked out missing as I sat listening To the hours and minutes tickin' away Yeah just sittin' around waitin' for my life to begin While it was all just slippin' away I'm tired of waitin' for tomorrow to come Or that train to come roarin' 'round the bend I got a new suit of clothes a pretty red rose And a woman I can call my friend." Better Days, Bruce Springsteen

When a guy in a white coat with the first name of "Doctor" tells you that you have a tumor on your spine, the rug you have been standing on gets pulled out from under you...taking with it a good section of tile floor, wood substructure and foundation.

When a guy in a white coat with the first name "Doctor" sits you down and says "Whoa there, Sparky. Let's not put the cart in front of the horse" you feel as if someone has just built a shiny new linoleum floor inside a happy little home on top of the steamer trunk containing the first guy wearing a white coat.

I had my first appointment with a neurosurgeon today. Or, as I like to call him, my new best friend. It went really well and was a completely different experience from my adventures with Frank. It was kind of like getting a haircut from a guy who has been cutting hair for years and is really good at it instead of getting your hair cut by a guy who suffers from wall-eye and is all thumbs-and I mean all thumbs in that he has only a thumb on each one of his hands. The second guy is also a moron. I would have said he had his thumb up his ass, but I was thinking I'd played the thumb card already.

There are still some questions about what is going on with me and this new doctor didn't rule out that the fact that the white spot on my MRI could be a piece of candy corn-and from this point on I am going to call it a piece of candy corn because I just refuse to use the word tumor least until someone can tell me 100% that is what it is or is not.

There is a list of what the spot can be. It could be one of 20 things. As I suggested to my team of experts today who were trying to come up with a way to tell me how many possibilities there might be, it's the TGI Fridays appetizer menu. (Actually, it's more like Ruby Tuesday's menu. Fridays has ten items listed. Ruby Tuesday's has 20 appetizers. This information, though, is hard to find in a doctor's exam room)

To illustrate the number of possibilities, my new doctor rolled his little milking stool in front of me and held his hands out in front of him, one on top of the other, about two feet apart and said the list is about this big. Then he added that the piece of candy theory was a little more than half way.

He reassured me though and told me that he and his team were determined to find out what is going on with me. I was kind of hoping for one of those Hallmark movie moments when the music swells and the doctor stands up and looking towards Heaven proclaims, "We will leave no stone over-turned until we find an answer!" That didn't happen. But I got chills.

As far as the whole over-turned rock thing. That's great, Doc, but I've got to warn you. It's a regular Luck's Quarry up there. I admire your passion.

I feel better knowing that the white spot that appeared on two sets of MRI images of my cervical spine area may not be a piece of candy corn. I wish I felt better physically though.

Even as I am typing this, my fingertips are tingly and my forearms are numb. I can only describe that numbness as the flush of sensation that follows the removal of a blood pressure cuff. Except for that it is ever present these days. Which, I have to say, as an artist, scares the shit out of me. I don't feel well. I feel I'm running at about 60% right now.

So where do I go from here?

It's easy. That is to say, I'm going to approach the adventure ahead of me as if it was going to be easy.

I'm going to cut down on my sugar intake (I've already gotten mix reviews for my once famous sweet iced tea and let's just say that the person drinking it made a face like they had found a half of a goldfish in the glass they were drinking out of) and go on a diet. I figure 25 pounds will bring me back to my swim suit model weight. Oh yeah. I was a swim suit model. Stick with me and you will learn a lot of things that will make your blood run cold.

I have some additional medical journeys to go on and my new best friend is going to be right there with me. There is more blood work on order and a whole new set of X-rays and MRI's. I'm okay with that really. I've got four tattoos. Needles don't scare me. Let me qualify that. Needles in my arms or in my calves don't bother me. High on the list for places for my body where I would prefer doctors not to poke with me needles would be either eye, through either ear into my brain and lastly, but dearest to my heart would be my man-plums. I'm pretty sure my eyes are safe. Seems a little barbaric in this day and age that doctors would stick needles into someone eyes for any reason. The same goes with the needle-through-my-ears-into-my-brain scenario.

There would be no reason to put my boys through any procedure involving needles.
Let me say that again. I can say, with utmost confidence, that there is no reason to put a needle anywhere near my jewels. And even if there was, they are going to have to hunt me down and shoot me like a gazelle with a tranquilizer gun first. Just in case there is anyone from my medical team reading this blog, let me say this for the last time: "THERE IS NO REASON TO STICK ME WITH A NEEDLE SOUTH OF MY EQUATOR."

There is a game plan for what comes next. My new best friend, my MNBFFWJSHTBAMD (My New Best Friend Forever Who Just So Happens To Be An MD) wants to eliminate as much as he can from the appetizer menu. I wouldn't belittle his next few moves by saying he's going on a fishing expedition but I would wager a guess that at the very least he's going on-line to look to see where the best fishing spots are.

Some of what Dr. Feelgood thinks the white spot can be is a little scary.
On a positive note, a few of the options are treatable with medication.

In three months, the doctors are going to take a closer look at that annoying white spot. If it's bigger, they are going to have a much better idea of what's going on. Worst case scenario? I do in fact have a piece of candy corn on my spine. Then they will take the appropriate measures.

The alternative? Digging into my spine now and pulling out something for a biopsy. Like the doc said, surgery at this point is risky and dangerous. Especially with not knowing what is going on. The spine is touchy son-of-a-bitch and I think a little caution is merited...and much appreciated.

I'm going to be fine. I will keep telling myself that. Every hour of every of day.
Sometimes the best lessons for life can found in cartoons.

just keep swimmin.' just keep swimmin.'

Other important lessons?

#1. When using the ACME products you've ordered, go over your game plan. Do a dry run if you have to.
#2. Secretly videotape that singing frog because nobody will ever witness his talents if you don't.
#3. Listen very carefully during a "IT'S DUCK SEASON!-IT'S RABBIT SEASON!" debate because at some point the other party is going to switch gears and leave you looking like a twit with the black smoke of a shotgun blast all over your silly face....your nose spinning around your neck is clock-wise circles.

And finally...

The creepy old caretaker who lives in the old, abandoned amusement park? He's the one trying to scare The Widow Weatherby out of her trust fund. Yep! You heard me Sherlock. Ol' Man Jenkins is the one you're looking for and you can save yourself a whole lot of trouble by just driving your van over to his trailer, knocking on the door, and when he opens off his werewolf mask and say something witty. CSI can do the dirty work.

and that's Jody with a "y"


  1. Big surprise. Dr. Burns turns out to be not only cold, impersonal, and brusque... but there's a good chance he's wrong.

    Good doctors wonder why their malpractice insurance keeps going up. Clearly, it's subsidizing the Frank Burnses of the world.

    Good luck on the search. This is one time when I suspect I *can* speak for everyone and say "we're all behind you". But not too closely. That would be creepy.

  2. Don't you LOVE great doctors!!!! Would love to see his "appetizer" list. Can't imagine 20 different things that could cause the same symptomsor look the same on an MRI. Glad to know there are that many options, though! For the record, I vote #5, "cotton candy."

    Love you!

  3. I'm all for the "great doctor" thing, but ix-nay on the aiting-way. I don't want to wait three months, three weeks, three days, or three minutes. I want Dr. McCoy to come by with his fancy tricorder tool and say, "Oh, it's just a [fill in the blank], we don't need to do any surgery; I'll just administer this [fancy exotic white-spot-on-spine remover] hypo and he'll be right as rain. Plus he'll be able to finish his taxes in half the time."