“In the love of narrow souls I make many short voyages but in vain – I find no sea room – but in great souls I sail before the wind without a watch, and never reach the shore.” ~Henry David Thoreau
I had to get up early this morning so I could have a P.E.T. scan at Virginia Mason Medical Center in downtown Seattle. The riff of the Day – P.E.T. scan for cancer.
In 1997 I was introduced to a cancer that decided to return after 13 years when mom and I went to see her doctor. It was autumn in New York. Mom loved New York because of the leaves and the change of seasons. We just returned from a trip to Hilton Head, South Carolina. We were part of a time share program that provided a beautiful 4 bedroom villa. The only drawback was that it was smack dab in the middle of a golf course. A hail of golf balls kept pelting the windows and siding which we either live with jazz or die with the noise thank God you can’t play golf at night. When we got to Newark Airport, mom had a limp she had been favoring for three to four months. We caught a cab, I slid in and she gingerly grabbed the door handle and closed the door, Mom, why are you limping? Turning away, it’s nothing; I just put my pants on wrong. Turning to face her, mom, you have been limping for a while; We are going to see the doctor when we get back. The skycap came to open the door for mom. I jumped out and came around with an impish grin I suppose you want a wheelchair? There was a long silence, looking down she nodded speaking very softly Yes. The skycap reminded me of Charlie the doorman at our Riverside Drive apartment in New York City. He disappeared and returned to help mom out of the cab and wheeled her to Gate 15 departing in thirty minutes and was now boarding. When we returned, she had a series of scans and the doctor called us and said we needed to come in as soon as possible. The doctor looked concerned and sad. She broke the bad news that mom’s cancer had come back in three areas, bone, lung and her other breast. The forecast…we were headed for a Perfect Storm. We battened down the hatches and prepared ourselves for full ride of chemo and radiation therapy. The oncologist asked me to take a mammogram. I did, it did not manifest until April of 2000.
I suppose it is my turn now. I am not a superstitious person and I don’t believe in coincidences. This would be my solo in the melody named Cancer. Cancer is commonly categorized by the organ or body system where the cancer first originates and develops such as the skin, lungs, stomach and brain. In both our cases it would be categorized as breast cancer. In my particular case any unexplained or unusual health symptoms, i.e., the soft lump tissue on my collar-bone and paralysis of my vocal cord lead me to a computed tomography (CT) scan using X-rays to make detailed pictures of structures inside the body on June 28th, 2000. Today was the Positron Emission Tomography (P.E.T.) scan. They inject you with a radioactive contrast gallium/glucose mix (marker) which gets absorbed specifically by the cancer cells. Stay tuned, we are going to run with this riff and will do a lot of playing the heck of a solo along the way. Even if it is in the dark. Peace Out!