Testing. 1-2-3. Test. Test. (Thump! Thump!) Is this thing on? Ok, great. Thanks. And Happy Thanksgiving everybody! What? More like Happy New Year? Oh. Well, I’ve been away.
Who knew how long it would take for me to sit up, rub my eyes, and wonder what the hell happened?
What I do know: The mass/growth/tumor/parasitic alien life form is gone. It is out! Evicted! Sent packing! Kicked to the curb!
What I didn’t know about recovering: A bunch. And maybe it was best I didn’t ahead of time.
Where did we leave off? Oh yes. The tumor is benign but still needing the boot.
Surgeon next -
I got so damn lucky to hitch my wagon to the local rock-star cutter who routinely transplants livers and kidneys here in Central Florida. Dr. Tom Chin. A man who really knows his way around the abdominal cavity and could probably differentiate a spleen from a liver by feel with his eyes closed. Here he is in full Master Ninja Surgeon garb ready to systematically untangle my necessary guts from the mysterious entrail-invading completely useless “spindle cell schwannoma” residing in my midsection.
After I harassed his staff into submission by calling about thirty times to score an appointment, we met in his office for a huddle on what it would take to make this surgery happen. He first struck me as one of those amazing Asian Zen-men, very serious, systematic and focused. His medical pedigree included a tony up-east medical school diploma and some pretty high-falutin’ award-y credentials. He quietly studied my “films,” and my file. And, to my complete delight did not baby me with medical double-speak. He cut right to the things that may prove most challenging “once we get in there.”
"It looks like this thing is pushing on your ureter and kidney. Might have to take the kidney if it is really compromised.”
“Ok. I get it. Although I’d like to keep the kidney if I could.”
“If it has infiltrated your vena cava, we might have to re-sect it which is complicated. May require some transfusion. Lots of vessels there.”
“Well, I have heard that the vena cava is much easier, less pressure to mess with than the aorta, so ok.”
He then felt my stomach for palpable evidence of something sinister hiding there. I swear the tumor sensed its doom and recoiled at his touch.
“What do you think Dr. Chin?”
“I’m just figuring out whether to go horizontal or vertical here.”
“Hey, my bikini wearing days are long gone. This mess goes from my ribs to my groin. Make yourself a hole and have at it. And when you yank this thing out, can someone take some pictures of it?”
And with that, it was “on.”
With a big smile, Dr. Chin said, “I can’t guarantee the quality of the pictures, like it might be a camera phone or if I’ll even remember because I’ll be in the zone. Y’know? But remind the surgical nurse beforehand and we’ll do it! Do you have any other questions?”
“Yes. Is this surgery interesting to you?”
I needed to know if the sheer rarity of this type of growth piqued his interest, made him curious, departed sufficiently from the routine to make him think “hmmmmm!”
“Oh yes!” he replied. That was enough for me. We shook hands on it.
Oh oh. This writer is tired, sore and must rest now, but the story gets good and there’re really cool pictures too! So look for it coming up…
Next: Rapid In and Out is not Fast Food