It is unseasonably warm for December in New York. It was a balmy 60 degrees yesterday and today it was a few degrees cooler but still way above average temperatures. The day was rainy and gray and as we headed off to the oncologist, I prayed it was not a sign of the news we were waiting to hear. We were called right in and the nurse checked Michael’s weight, blood pressure, pulse and temp and then drew 4 tubes of blood that the doctor ordered to be processed STAT.
Our doctor came through the door still wearing his fleece jacket, we were definitely his first appointment. He almost immediately started to palpate Michael’s neck and said that he can feel the scar tissue where the incision was and there is a tiny node a bit behind he can feel, but that could be from almost anything.
He then took a seat and expressed the same disappointed sentiment that Michael’s radiation oncologist is on vacation and that I had to receive a call from the other doctor. He explained that, he had received a call from that doctor that an area on the PET Scan was lit up. Our doctor explained that there are a lot of reasons why that may be. First off, the area is the same area that showed up prior to radiation after the surgery and that was thought to be scar tissue. The area is now smaller which would be consistent with shrinking scar tissue. Could we know 100% it was scar tissue? No, we can’t but the doctor said the other option would be a biopsy and he explained that if this was his son or himself he would not have one based on this.
He explained, given that doctors took months to originally diagnose him and when he finally was, he was still in the earliest possible stage, that waiting a couple of months to repeat a PET Scan would not jeopardize his health even if this was something. He again went into how Michael has one of the best forms of Hodgkin’s and Hodgkin’s as a whole is very susceptible to radiation so he could not fathom how after surgical removal of the nodule and having his neck blasted with radiation that anything could be left. It is his strongest opinion that it is nothing and that the follow-up PET Scan should show it considerably smaller or gone completely.
He said in the rare case that it gets bigger or that it turns out to be a reoccurrence, waiting the 2 months will not make any difference and he strongly suggested we wait unless Michael was the kind of person that could not make it through the next 2 months wondering if it was scar tissue or something else. He also explained that a needle biopsy may not show anything like the first time and we would have to do a core biopsy and he just did not see the need for it.
Michael totally agreed to wait and he is not the nervous kind. Even when I asked him if he would be up at night wondering and worrying he told me, “Nah, I’ll roll the dice.” What a kid! Anyway, I certainly was able to breathe a lot easier and the doctor was wonderful as always and spent a lot of time with us and made us feel very confident that waiting was the right decision. He also had me feel Michael’s neck and told me to check him every week just to see if there were any changes. Then we scheduled the follow-up and went out into the rain which had let up and the fog was lifting. It was a good morning. Thank God, and thank you all for your prayers.