September 15, 2009

who says cancer isn't funny?

the first thing you need to know about getting cancer is there are about three thousand tests you can be put through, and not actually get a diagnosis. true story. the mass in my chest was found 54 days ago. i've had quite a few blood draws, a few physical exams, a chest xray, two CT scans, a needle biopsy, a PET scan, a mediastinotomy, and a partridge in a pear tree. surely, at this time one would assume i have an actual diagnosis. no, no. that's silly. tomorrow? it's likely. so is another test.

in all seriousness, it's not the end of the world. in fact, i feel oddly excited for treatment to start - and for that i credit the excessive delay in diagnosis. the irony? all the doctors need is ONE cell. it's a tricky little cell,'s similar to a "where's waldo" inside this mass (you know, there's a thousand people in that damn park, and waldo's all mixed in with the thousand other people wearing red striped shirts). so, through all this, what's so funny? here it is...the first cancer is funny moment...

the first thing about tests involving radiation...they aren't safe if you are pregnant. as if that wasn't common knowledge, they will ask you a few times if you could be pregnant in hopes that one of the times they ask, you'll trip up and admit that although you haven't had sex in the last nine months, you actually have conceived a child. they take it very seriously - in fact, in the radiology department at maine med, there are posters everywhere that have not been updated since mid-1900's with a picture of a sad looking young woman that ask "is there any chance you could be pregnant? let your doctor know". just in case they forgot to ask you, and you end up like this poster child who, i can only assume, was the result of radiation exposure when her mother was carrying her. apparently, they failed to ask everyone if there's a chance they could be pregnant. the day i had my PET scan (the most radioactive of them all), i was walked into this cold, dark trailer, and was handed off to a tech who was no less than nine months pregnant. she asked me if there was any chance i could be pregnant...i asked her the same thing. i figured someone should give her the warning.

cancer. it's funny. if it's not, it's a less entertaining emotion. you choose. i choose funny...

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