Incidental discoveries

Probably most of you have not noticed my preoccupation lately. It is one of the benefits of a virtual relationship — the fact that there are screens and wires and space between us. You can’t see the bags under my eyes or all of the stress that lives in my brow. For that, be thankful, because I’ve had a nasty habit of putting my friends and family through hell this year.

Not intentionally of course; these things start off small. A minor gripe in the stomach, a call to the doc. Tests are run. In short, on Jan. 8th I was told I had a lesion on my pancreas. The lesion began to change names. Some called it a mass, some a cyst. In the end, my good doctors and I settled on calling it a cyst. Others still think of it as my speck.

I really am not educated in bodily functions. The basics I have down, we eat with our mouth, see with our eyes . . . you get my point. But the deep down gooey stuff I’m really at a loss. Imagine my surprise then when I began learning about the small strange looking thing that attracted the attention of a cyst. The pancreas is a bit of a prick. It doesn’t forgive you, it’s stuck in its ways, it will not operate once it’s pissed off at you. With this knowledge, combined with the awful revelations about Patrick Swayze and Justice Ginsburg in the pancreatic news front, I began to panic.

After the blood, fecal, endoscopic, ultrasound, CT scan and the final endoscopic ultrasound (!) tests the end result was a 5.5 cm cyst behind the pancreas which was drained (almost all the way) last Wednesday. Today, today being the birthday of Darwin and Lincoln, today my new hero in a  white coat told me that the 33 cc’s of thick protein filled fluid is benign. (And yes, if James Lipton ever has the chance to ask me what my favorite word in the english language is, I will say “benign”. )

There are several beautiful things that have happened because of all of this. My favorite is the introduction of the term “incidental discovery” — the pain that brought on the doctors and the tests and the knowledge  is probably not my pancreas at all. Turns out that my juicy cyst is an “incidental discovery”.

So here are a few of my own incidental discoveries during this process: 1. Certain words can stop you dead — “mass” being one of them. They also have the power to change your life. 2. We are not isolated creatures — everyone needs their hand held sometimes. If you say you don’t, you probably haven’t heard the right words. (and no, I never knew that for certain before). 3. Parents are the most unfortunate people in the world. However, they will hold your cold feet when you are so scared you feel like your heart has stopped beating. And so they are also the best people in the world. 4. Perspectives change, the world shifts, the things you want now will not matter later and everything really will be fine, no matter what. Or it won’t, and that’s ok.

So, I’ll try to be more honest in the future, but this was not something I was going to blog about until I knew what was what. Try to find some discoveries on you own this month — just avoid doctors in doing so.

4 responses to “Incidental discoveries

  1. I can feel your sigh of relief from here. Can you feel mine? I love you tons and tons.

  2. I am so glad to know things are okay. And I appreciate you sharing your experience here.

  3. “Benign” is a wonderful word! It is in the same category as “peace”, “love”, “family”, “friends” and “warmth “. We are the most fortunate parents in the world. We are grateful to your smart doctor and medical technology. It has always been joyful to know that I have a “sweet, brilliant daughter”, but now I can add the word “healthy”. Perhaps that is the sweetest word of all.

  4. Cold feet, warm heart. Tell the great doctor I said thanks.
    Also, lots of folks sent good spirits your way.
    I disagree – parents are the most FORTUNATE people in the world.

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