Friday, September 07, 2007

If You Spend All Your Time Worrying About Dying, isn't going to be much fun.
-Line from the television show Roseanne.

A couple of days into my trip to San Diego my husband called. Since he was calling our travel cell phone I had an inkling that something was wrong. This is a man who, when giving out our new cell number to friends and family, told people not to call the cell phone unless it was an emergency because it cost us money each time someone called. Anyway, he called to tell me:

(1) He had been in the backyard trimming trees along the fence that separates our yard from our neighbor's yard when one of their dogs silently sneaked up on him, climbed the fence, lunged at him and bit him in the right shoulder. Shortly after the attack he found out there was no record of the dog receiving rabies shots. Because of this the dog was put down and a sliver of his brain removed and sent to a lab to determine if he had been rabid.

(2) While he was at the clinic he mentioned that he was having trouble with his vision. He had been watching TV the night before and happen to turn his head away from the screen noticing that as he did so he no longer could see the red power light at the bottom of the TV set with his right eye. He started experimenting and found out there was a grey smear in his right eye just outside the center of his vision. They immediately set up an appointment the next day for an ultrasound.

(3) He also told them he had a lump in his right breast near the nipple. This was something he had noticed a month or two before but had not done anything about because he had accidentally raked a 20 pound weight across that nipple when working out and thought that might be the cause it. The doctor said it could be Gynecomastia but that he may want to get it biopsied to make sure it wasn't a tumor of some sort.

My first instinct was to laugh at the absurdity of all this while my other emotions took a super fast elevator ride to the pit of my stomach. What was in the back of both our minds was the word cancer. My husband's father had lost a eye to cancer at the same age my husband is now and his mother and his aunt (his mother's sister) had both died of cancer. My husband joked that he probably had a tumor in the brain that was causing his eye problem and that the cancer had probably metastasised to his breast. I told that was why the dog bit him; it could smell the cancer. Since he really had no information about his multiple ailments at this point he told me he did not want me to come home and that he was doing fine. He said worrying would not change anything and neither would my coming home.

The next day my husband called to tell me that the tests came back negative on the dog and that he had not contract rabies. The ultrasound they had preformed also showed nothing. He had talk to a friend who was and eye specialist and his friend had told him to see a eye doctor he recommend in Denver. My husband set up an appointment for the following day, which was Friday. Since we would be getting back to Denver on Sunday he planned on staying the weekend.

Friday night he called to tell me the doctor could not find anything wrong with his eye and told him to come back if his vision got worse.

Saturday he called to tell me he thought his vision was worse and his doctor in Denver had set up a MRI the following Monday.

Monday he got the MRI.

Tuesday we found out they had done the wrong procedure.

Wednesday they did another MRI.

Thursday the doctor got the results which showed no abnormality and decided to do a Visual Field Test. The test showed that the upper right quadrant of his right eye was no longer processing visual information. He also had a foggy area in the upper left quadrant that suggested glaucoma but when a pressure test was preformed it showed no pressure build up in the eye. After examining all the test results the doctors came to the conclusion that he had something called normal tension glaucoma. Glaucoma that presents itself without the customary increase in eye pressure. Although this was still bad news it was not as bad as cancer.

A week after we got home we drove to a larger town near us to see a surgeon about the lump in his breast and to find out if it needed to be biopsied. After examining my husband the doctor asked if he wore bib overalls. He was sure the lump was Gynecomastia and said that he sees it a lot in farmers who wear bib overalls. He said Gynecomastia was common in men and that as time passes the swelling gets more sensitive and painful until even the touch of a t-shirt becomes unbearable. He recommend surgery. He also said the chances that it was cancer was minuscule. In his twenty years as a surgeon he had only seen one case where the swelling had been cancer and that was back when he was a resident. Since my husband was not having any pain and the swelling was barely noticeably he has decided to postpone any surgery until a later date.

What I find interesting in all this is the fact that not once did my husband or I say or think, "Why me?" or Why us?" The answer to those kind of questions is always, "Why not you?"

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