mri results phone call 1.10.11

typically it goes like this: each late november i email my doc (note: my neurosurgeon, not my gp. further note: this neurosurgeon is not the one who performed 2 surgeries in 2005 only the person who is assigned to shepherd my aftercare, scans and whatnots) and remind him that it's time for my annual mri to check on the status of the remaining brain tumor bit in my head. that bit was bbq'ed/cauterized by proton beam radiation and the numbers are very much in my favor but the fact is there's still a bit in my head that could not be surgically resected due to its proximity and abutment to critical structures (here, the carotid artery and the optic nerve) and that bit needs an annual look-see just to confirm that it has not un-cauterized itself or begun to shape-shift or otherwise contort itself into something sinister. each year the doc orders the MRI. i get the MRI (see prev post). And 8-10 days later or so I receive in the mail a copy of the radiation doc's assessment of the images  (note: I don't mind the lag time between scan and result because it implies good news. if there's cause for concern, they find you.)  which has been cc'ed to the neurosurgeon who typically writes 4-5 words on it (like 'looks great" or "all the same, best".)

this year would be different. i emailed neurosurgeon and a nurse got back to me and we got the MRI scheduled. however usual neurosurgeon wasn't available so it would be new neurosurgeon. Did I want to come in to review results with new neurosurgeon? nurse asked. Or would a phone consult suffice? I picked the latter and an appointment was formally scheduled for tues - 5 days after the scan - at 12:30 pm. All morning yesterday it was in the back of my head, looming and portentious, despite my near-certainty that the results would be favorable. As I alluded in previous post, this annual event comes bundled with past/present/future iterations and subfloors, an echo-chambered hall-of-mirrors that it is quite easy to lose oneself in figuratively speaking, looking at a reflected visage and mistaking it for the actuality, mistaking the memory of a long-ago car crash for the visceral moment of the car crash itself,  if you follow that. point being, i was slightly nervous, waiting for the phone call to come at my (day) job at 12:30 and I found myself nervously puttering and muttering and eager to get it all over with.

after a slug-crawl paint-drying, moment-to-moment interminability, at last it was 12:30. despite this being my lunch hour at (day) job i hung around, expecting the phone to ring at any moment. then it's 12:35. then it's 12:42. then it's 12:46. then it's 12:47. then it's 12:50 and i'm getting itchy. then it's 12:53. then it's 12:58 and i'm realizing (since i have things to do) that i can go and just tell my co-worker that -should they call at all - he can forward the call to my cell phone. but i forget to tell him that and then i check the details of the appointment online. the date is right, the time is right but at the bottom there's a phone number. oh fuck, was i supposed to call them?! It's 1pm now and i'm running down the back staircase to the street calling the number and i get the answering message for the nurse who set this appointment up in the first place. I leave her a few words, citing my uncertainty about whether i was supposed to receive the call or place it. I call M and tell her that I haven't heard anything yet. I call my co-worker and tell him that if anyone calls from a doc's office to please forward the call to my cellphone. He says "they just called". Of course they did. He says they told him there was no emergency in terms of returning the call which engenders a ripple of deep-breathing, inner-core sigh of epic relief that serves to make the sky bluer and the air crisper. I've done this long enough to recognize their non-emergency vernacular as confirmation of good news. I finish the set of errands I'm doing and take the bus up 5th ave back to my (day) job. A short time later I'm at my desk and my cellphone rings. It's the new neurosurgeon, delivering into my ear the finest assemblage of words imaginable: everything is unchanged. Despite the now-certain nature of hearing this it is like the first time. It is the bursting sunrise from the mountaintop and the beach with aquamarine waters in early afternoon and the falling-in-love-pit-in-the-stomach and the come-from-behind-upset-win against an unbeatable foe and the winning lottery ticket and the dream-come-true all folded together in one impossibly brief moment of time.

I say 'fantastic'.
I say, 'is Dr. P on leave or did he move on?'
'He moved on'.
"So you're my guy now?" and he says "I'm your guy now".
I say, "I'll talk to you in a year then".
He says "good enough".

This morning, i'm up at 6:30, running in the wind and chill. I'm trying to exercise more. I'm trying to get my shit together again and it's January so there's a few other resolution-fueled runners on the street with me. I feel my energy flag. I recall the words. everything is unchanged and feel something unlocking inside me, the secret code on a video game level. i run faster. i keep going.


Stephilius said...

Beautiful post. I'm so glad that the clock turns over, and the landmarks pass by, and that the exhalation keeps deepening. The long, deep exhale. Blessings.

lady said...

i LOVE this post.
also i love you.

h e r e x a c t l y said...


this writing. the news. your way of being yourself.
the sky. the stars. the moon.


mogomom said...

Fucking fantastic news. I was right there with you the whole time reading that. Even though I already knew the results, I was right back in that horrible place. (I think this is what they call PTSD).
I love you guys.