Hi. I am sure none of you ever thought there could possibly be a “P.S.” to the Mosery RV saga, but there is. Over the last few weeks I have occasionally thought about continuing the blog to give me a much needed distraction from real life for awhile; but then I thought that what I wanted to say now would be way too much for people to process, and frankly, not funny or entertaining. However, over the last few days all of our children and Ilan have independently suggested that in fact, it was a good idea for me to do it. Perhaps it will become a new treatment methodology to add to the psychology textbooks– “blog therapy”—just remember where you heard that phrase first everyone!!!
So just to recap and give you some context, you remember that horrible bout of food poisoning I suffered which resulted in Ilan and I aborting our trip on day 9? Well, it turns out that that horrific experience may be the poster child for the phrase “a blessing in disguise”. Here’s why. When we got back to New York on June 16, I still felt kind of crappy; weak, etc. By the second day, I was feeling like my old ulcer was back with a vengeance. No surprise on that one; you all know how aggravating and stressful the RV trip from hell was. I mentioned to my friend, who is also my doctor, that I was feeling really really crappy, and he suggested I go over to the ER at St Francis and let them check me out. I really did not want to go through yet another “urgent care” visit as you can well imagine, so I held out until the middle of the night Thursday, June 18. I was almost ready to drive there myself, but realized that Ilan would not be happy about that decision when he woke up in the morning, so I woke up grumpy, I mean Ilan. When he said “Amy, you have to be kidding me, you are just being a hypochondriac, go back to sleep, there is no way we are going back to any medical facility for a very very long time to come”, I was one open handed fist away from suffocating him with a pillow!!! Of course he got up and took me there, grumbling all the way—in truth I should have been more understanding, she writes with sarcasm dripping from her fingers, as he had clearly not gotten over his own trauma of not having played golf for almost two weeks and had a foursome waiting for him that very morning.
Generally, the ER at St Francis is relatively quiet but of course, it was incredibly busy that night—70 patients in very tight quarters. After a few hours, of dealing with Ilan’s scowls an ER physician came over to me; asked me a few questions, advised that he would be ordering an IV with fluids as well as a CT scan of my abdomen, and mentioned that he too had recently suffered a bout of food poisoning that had lasted three weeks. It was now crystal clear to me that the RV trip, despite my fervent wish to wipe it from my memory bank, would be the trip that would live on in infamy. I told him that I thought a scan was unnecessary, but he insisted, and I reluctantly acquiesced.
A few hours later, the same ER physician came back and said, “hey, what are you doing about that suspicious nodule in your left lung.” I looked around just to make sure he was talking to me. I said, “respectfully, doctor, I am crapping my brains out from whatever I had to drink for that fuchachta scan; I am feeling like crap and I have no idea what you are talking about, but whatever it is, it will have to wait as I need you to help me feel better.” He said, “no, you need to worry about this right away.” Frankly, I was not really paying too much attention in between the fifteen trips to the bathroom. In the early morning, a GI attending came over to speak with me. Finally I thought, I could talk about my gastro problems and get some help, instead, the first thing the GI said was, “so tell me about that suspicious nodule in your left lung?”. I asked why is everyone was so focused on a little old nodule; I am feeling like s__t, literally and figuratively. It was only later in the day that I learned that I was just beginning a medical odyssey unlike anything I had ever experienced.
Allow me to digress a bit. I am not sure everyone who is reading this, knows what I do for a living. I am an attorney with a type-A personality (read: control freak), whose modus operandi is to glean as many facts as I can get in a case; strategize; figure out what the goals are; dig in; plan plan plan; then attack attack attack with all my legal guns blasting—something I have been unable to do in my own situation. Also, to give you a little more background, after having applied to and gotten into the then six-year medical program that the city was offering back when I was in high school, I thankfully realized then and there that I was absolutely traumatized by the sight of blood and knew that any career in the medical field would be a short lived one. Thereafter I never took a science course in college and got all of my science education from Bill Nye the science guy on PBS. My aversion is so great, that I don’t even bake because baking is a science!!!!!! (I am a pretty good cook however). That said, I have almost no medical background, other than what Dr. Google has taught me over the years—bless his virtual soul—for he has kept me home and out of the ER on many a night!!!! Moreover, I have thankfully been a relatively healthy person; I am not on any medicines; I try to eat pretty healthfully; buy organic products and walk. I will however admit, (although don’t tell Ilan), that I am a bit of a hypochondriac. Now that that admission is out in the open, imagine the hysteria telling a hypochondriac that she has a suspicious nodule in her lung!!!!!!!!!! Let the mind games begin and they are have, in earnest.
So back to the facts. When I got home that Friday from the ER, my friend the doctor and his wife stopped over that night and he told me that he had gotten a copy of the CT scan and the report and advised me that after reviewing it he had scheduled a PET scan for me at St Francis the following Wednesday. Just as another aside, keep in mind that I had no idea then what a PET scan was, nor had I had time to consult with Dr. Google about my nodule yet. My friend advised that although he did not have any particular expertise in this arena, he was disturbed about the nodule and that no matter what it was, I needed to realize that it was a miracle with a capital M that I had gotten food poisoning that caused us to abort our trip; that I came back still not feeling 100% and that I had gone to the ER and that the ER doctor had ordered an abdominal CT scan and that the scan went high enough to luckily capture the nodule in my lower left lung. He said I would be fine, and I was, until I headed to the internet Saturday night.
I think it was only by the middle of the night Saturday night that I was actually starting to process what the impact of this little nodule (which is 1.2 cm, approximately a half-inch in size) would be on my life. I also did not then realize that I would be embarking on a medical roller coaster ride that has been running non-stop since June 19. I think that the only time it rests is when I sleep, and that is something I am not doing very much of lately.
Needless to say that it didn’t take long for the drama queen in me to materialize. By the early morning hours of Sunday, June 21, I was already starting to “get my affairs in order”. For those who really know me, this was a no brainer. I had to decide who would get my 80 pairs of boots; 100 pocketbooks (not including evening bags); 30 pairs of cowboy boots; my curated costume jewelry collection; my shawl collection; my fur coat collection; my Porsche convertible; my 60 calphalon pots; my 2000 cookbooks and last but not least, my bling. Wait, you all thought I meant preparing by writing lists with things like, the name and contact info for the accountant; the trusts and estates attorney; where the checks had to be sent for the life insurance trusts, etc. Oh no no no. I also created a special list for Ilan, for help in dealing with wife number #2. Here is what it had on it. There were two columns. The left column was entitled: What she could have: and underneath was one word….NOTHING!!!!!!!!!!!! The other column was titled “What she can’t have” and underneath that was also one word: EVERYTHING!!!
Before I get into some of the specifics regarding my life over the last few weeks, which certainly aren’t funny, I would like to share with you some of the lighter, perhaps more humorous thoughts I have had during this time, so here goes:
I was recently reading an article about some unusual mosaics found on the floors of what appears to be a heretofore unknown synagogue in Israel, and that archaeologists using carbon dating, were able to very closely approximate when the temple was built, when I suddenly thought, hey, I have been through so many tests on this nodule, with little conclusions, did the doctors ever think of using carbon dating to help them??
I have also thought about sponsoring a name that nodule contest, cause frankly tumor just isn’t all that sexy; if anyone is watching Orphan Black, I am thinking maybe “sestra” said with a heavy Romanian accent.
I have also been giving a great deal of thought to the new wardrobe I am going to need for the “recovery portion of my post-hospital stay”.
I have come up with a few “top ten” lists, that start with the sentence, from 1 to tumor how do you……….;
I also decided that since no one can say with any degree of certainty what I have, I really don’t want them to name a whole new tumor category after me!
On the entrepreneurial front, for those of you who know that I am always coming up with new ideas, I think I am up to idea #899—I thought it a great idea to start a service for people who have been given diagnoses that require them to make some immediate changes in their life styles—for example in the kind of groceries they buy, the foods they eat, the way they cook etc. The client could hire someone to come in, clean out their cabinets; refrigerators, etc. and then restock the shelves with the new and healthier foods; or teach them to cook in a healthier manner; or even come in and cook for them; or perhaps start a service akin to a social worker, but someone with a more medical background, to accompany you on all of your consultations; to research the newest trials and medical breakthroughs; to interact with the doctors offices and hospital personnel, etc. Also, I am thinking of opening drop in “scan” shops (I really think this last one has a lot of merit–but remember you heard it here first).
I have also been thinking that someone should publish a short protocol for what you should and shouldn’t say to people who are going through this. For example, “now is the time for you to really do all the things you have been thinking about, but never have gotten around to” is NOT a good thing to tell someone; nor is telling them that someone they know died after having surgery with your surgeon, while neglecting to tell them that the person had a whole history of other medical issues as well; or someone saying repeatedly to you, “I know everything is going to be okay”, when there is absolutely no basis for that statement, other than because we all hope and pray that it is true; or “don’t worry, I have a really good wig maker” without even knowing what the person’s diagnosis is—no worries folks, I don’t need a wig maker—you hear that kids!!!. I know its all coming from a good place, but we all need to think before we speak, myself included.
While I won’t go into the actual details of the medical ups and downs I have lived through over the last few weeks, (if you really want to know the nitty-gritty details I have kept a straight, factual, medical log since day 1 of this medical odyssey so that my children will have complete and up to date information as they think I lie to them about everything—and because there is so much information to absorb and process, that you need to write it all down and re-read it, many times and maybe someone else on this journey may benefit from it—so just let me know and I will be happy to send it out). I would however like to share a few of the “highlights” and I use that word loosely—-speaking of which, are “edibles” legal in NY yet—if not you all know what you can get me as a ‘recovery from surgery” present—only kidding on that last one—.
Anyway, just to give you a sense of the last few weeks. I have seen or spoken with scores of doctors and other medical professionals; had a biopsy under sedation; been to several hospitals to interview surgeons; done pre-op testing in two hospitals; have prepped for a test like I was going for a colonoscopy—don’t ask; I have been stopped by the police at the Triboro Bridge for registering “hot” on their gauges used to detect radiation (due to the injection of a certain isotope); suffice is to say there have been many ups and downs, and I have experienced virtual whiplash daily. The bottom line and the most important message I want to share is that I would not have survived this ordeal without the love and support of my incredible family and the constant outpouring of compassion, concern and support from what I know is the greatest group of friends anyone could ever ask for. I am blessed and I thank all of you from the bottom of my heart. Please forgive me if I have not responded to all of your calls and emails, and/or if I have hurt, or alienated any of you over these last few weeks by my need to withdraw and reflect. While I still do not have medical clarity in my case, I do have absolute clarity in the knowledge that I am truly blessed and I have all of you to thank for that!!!!!!
In closing, I wanted to share with you that I am scheduled to have surgery on July 27, 2015 at Mt. Sinai Hospital to remove the nodule and hopefully nothing else!! My surgeon is Dr. Raja Flores, who is a world-renowned thoracic surgeon and the chief of the department—he is a lovely and caring person as well. I am admittedly a bit scared, but I know that is normal—!! Ilan’s phone number is 516-509-7776 and his email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.