Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Cancer update

The last few days I have been consumed with trying to find an MRI provider that could do an "endorectal coil" scan. Searched all of Northeast PA and nearly all of NJ, many, many telephone calls and finally, with the aid of the radiation oncologist’s staff, who also searched diligently, found one in Warren, near Plainfield.

As I understand it, the endorectal coil involves shoving some device up my ass to amplify the MRI. Supposedly it gives a more accurate image of my cancer area and thus allows them to more precisely guide the radiation treatments thus diminishing the chances of missing some cancer. Given the aggressive nature of my particular form, I expect a recurrence could kill me. Also, the enhanced image probably limits unnecessary collateral damage, which could include leaving me permanently incontinent (both bowl and urinary), impotent, and who knows what else. Imaging my pelvic area, of course, is complicated by my titanium hips which distorted earlier images.

Though this type of MRI is the one the radiation doc said was best, he said if I couldn't find it he'd make do with a regular scan. At first I was going to take the easy way out and just drive over to Pocono hospital and be satisfied with what they had. But I changed my mind. I figured if the cancer treatment goes bad, I don’t want to look back and say "I should have worked harder to find the endorectal coil."

To make matters more interesting, the MRI providers say I have to give myself a Fleet Enema, one hour before my scheduled scan. It could be an hour and a half drive to the provider, more in traffic.

In addition to being terrifying, having cancer is an unending unfolding of humiliations and disappointments. New news is nearly always bad. But maintaining a positive attitude is of critical importance. An important positive, so far, is the unanimous courtesy, kindness and diligence of the professionals and support staff I have encountered. It helps.

What also helps is that I diligently make myself aware that as cancers go, mine isn’t all that bad and that so many would gladly swap theirs for mine. In other words, I am usually successful at finding firm ground on which to build some gratitude.


Rathnait said...

Perhaps the way to look at it is that your ass is just so cute, they want a real good shot of it.

I know you never take the easy road if it's provided, and I admire that of you. You have strength and courage that I know I've relied upon many times. John Wayne once said: "Courage is being scared to death - but saddling up anyway." I'll hold the horse if you need me to.

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