Saturday, March 12, 2016

Relief (ish)



Yesterday, my husband and I were finally able to meet with the Orthopedic Oncologist at The Mayo Clinic, in Jacksonville. 

If you're confused by that sentence, you'll want to go read the past few posts and get caught up. 

Now that we're all on the same page... 

Art took time off work and suffered through the Bike Week traffic to make sure we both arrived, safely. (thank you) However, the clinic requests that the initial exam involves only the doctor and the patient. We had misgivings about not having two sets of ears during the visit, but he agreed to remain in the waiting area, nonetheless. 

I would not have wanted to be The Waiter and am so impressed at his coping ability. (thank you, again) For the record, waiting in the exam room wasn't sunshine and rainbows, either. I tried to distract myself, but my erratic heartbeat and rapidly spreading Stress Hives just wouldn't let up. 

The boys were being cared for and entertained by my mother-in-law, which was an enormous help. (thank YOU, too) While Art and I embarked on this roller coaster road trip, they ate snacks and cozied up for a movie. 
the boys know how to work it

The facility is wonderful. (fun fact: It's also the site of the marathon where I ran my first Boston Qualifying time) I would recommend it to anyone seeking a comforting, comprehensive and state-of-the-art medical center. Our appointment was so late in the day, there was a bit of a "skeleton crew" feel, but that simply made it more peaceful. The remaining staff were all attentive and professional. 

I am not trying to drag out the results of the visit, here. As is always acceptable on this blog : Feel free to skim. I sent many texts, and made many phone calls, after seeing the doctor. I am sorry. I know I wasn't able to personally tell everyone.  There was a lot of traffic and thoughts and not a lot of time. 

The Orthopedic Surgeon came in and asked "So...you're a runner?" I verified and she told me 

"You have a stress fracture." 

She then showed me, on the MRI from January, the dark, almost vertical line running up my tibia, surrounded by a mass of swelling. 

It was difficult to focus on what she was saying, while so many conflicting thoughts were swirling. It was good news. So good! She talked about upping my calcium intake, I asked some annoying questions and I was on my smiling way to tell my husband we could all breathe, again. 

We focused on getting all of us home, so we could relax even further and celebrate our relief. 

not shocking: probably would've drunk this, regardless 

I may or may not have spent a reckless amount of time on this site and even started tossing around the idea of going to Boston, after all. It was a great night. 

Until 4 am. 

My eyes popped open and all sorts of rational and irrational questions and fears completely overwhelmed me. I began to recall bits of the visit I had pushed back in my mind, after hearing the diagnosis. The happiness became fuzzy and then started to fizzle away, completely. 

In a moment of Completely Outside My Comfort Zone,  I grabbed the doctor's business card, swallowed my fear and tried to call her to pour out my concerns. 
Note, it was a more reasonable hour when I attempted to call 

It is an 8-5:00, Monday through Friday number. With the extra time, I will either become much less neurotic, or simply wait (it's what I'm good at, remember) and still call her, Monday. 

In no particular order. And, for the love of everything sacred and beautiful, please feel free to end your read on a "It's just a stress fracture!!" note. Skip the following thoughts and still think somewhat highly of me. 

If you decide to keep reading, please accept this as my apology : When 4 doctors,  2 Physician's Assistants and 2 Radiologists are concerned, for months, that your problem may be a tumor and cancer, it's hard for your brain to accept, from 1 doctor (an expert, however) that it's truly just an injury.
  • Why did 2 radiologists see the same, black, line and call it a lesion? Why did they call the swelling a tumor? The difference: They were told to look for a stress fracture on both the MRI and CT scan, but not given any background information. 
  • This doctor knew I was a runner. Did it cloud her judgement? Running doesn't necessarily equal stress fracture. I had zero, classic symptoms, signals or causes leading up to the pain. Here is what else can cause stress fractures : tumors 
  • Why did she not read their reports? 
  • When asked to explain why the other doctors had seen the same scans and had noted "no visible fracture line", she responded with : "They lied." A more scientific or believable response would have gone a long way. 
  • Why not order a new scan? The ones she looked at were from January. Wouldn't it help to verify a healing fracture or confirm that the mass hasn't grown or changed? 
  • I am still in pain, after 13 weeks. 
Bottom line: I just need some additional reassurance. 
Obnoxious and panicky? Probably. 
Unreasonable? I don't think I care, anymore. 

Even better bottom line: We are all rejoicing and celebrating. The expert confirmed our fears can be alleviated and we can focus on the huge positives. You guys stick with all that and I'll worry about the rest. 

Thank you, again and always, for all of the kind support through this process. I hope to be able to celebrate over and over and over with anyone who will join me. :)