On April 1st, I had a brain MRI.
Then, last week, the very competent secretary who works with my neurosurgeon, left me the following message on my voice mail: "The written report is not yet available but Dr. S. has looked at your MRI and he says that it looks better. He says he doesn't need to see you but that you can make an appointment to see him if you want. He wants to do another MRI in three months."
And that was it.
Yes, it's good news. Yes, I'm relieved. But I'm also confused.
How is it "better"? Has the mass stopped growing? Become smaller? Is he now convinced that it doesn't have to come out? Has the other reported mass (deeper in my cerebellum) disappeared?
I called the secretary back the next day but she had no further information. She did offer to send an email asking for the written report to be expedited.
I still don't have it.
It occurred to me that the radiologist (who writes up the MRI reports) has been the most pessimistic player in this game I've been involved in since late summer. His report prompted Dr. G to tell me I had a new tumour (the radiation oncologist and neurosurgeon weren't so sure and, after more testing, decided it was necrotic - dead - tissue caused by radiation).
It was the radiologist who wrote that I had a recurrence and a new tumour, most recently.
And the radiologist wrote the report that I saw at appointment with the neurosurgeon on March 12. Dr. S was concerned enough to suggest I was going to need surgery but not convinced that we were looking at a new tumour. He was outright dismissive of the existence of a new tumour, deeper in the cerebellum.
Now that Dr. S has put off surgery, at least for the next three months, I need to know what the radiologist (Dr. Doom-and-Gloom) has to say.
Tim and I have both noticed that oncologists and surgeons seem to have little respect for radiologists (it's like they barely graduated from high school, let alone medical school). Still, we'd like to get our hands on that written report.
I've had to sit with this information for a bit before I could write about it. This is partly because it's awfully difficult to explain. I've done my best but feel free to ask questions in the comments or contact me directly.
It was also a shock.
And I was a little embarrassed. First I have a brain tumour. Then I might not. Then I don't. Then I do. And now - maybe not?
I feel like the Boy who Cried Wolf (the Girl who Cried Tumour?), except that I haven't been playing at any of this. And I know that no one who cares for me is actually going to be disappointed that I'm not getting ready for imminent brain surgery.
I want that report. I want the results of the bone scan I had the next day (I'm trying not to be worried that I can't get a nurse to give me those over the phone).
And then I want to try and live my life to the fullest, with all it's ups and downs. Will you help me?