Wednesday, February 27, 2008


You gotta adapt to changing conditions. Fast. Because all of a sudden, it's all different.

Clearly the case.

I had pretty much shifted my Weltanschuung around to deal with the prognosis given to me by Dr. Freedman: "Your father has Stage IV metastatic cancer. Probably originating in his G.I. tract. Possibly the pancreas."

A web search that night painted an awfully bleak picture. Especially where the possible pancreatic cancer is concerned.

So we were probably talking weeks.


I spent last week trying to get a call back from Dr. Vizeck. Or something. I'm not sure about the name, because Dr. Vizeck didn't manage to get around to calling me. All I wanted to know was what the pathologist had to say about the biopsy of my father's lungs. The initial results didn't find anything malignant so it was sent somewhere (Israel was a possible guess as apparently they do a lot of that there) for examination at the cellular level.

This week, I started in on it again. But after only one day of trying, I got a call back from my father's doctor-du-semaine. It seems that whatever the stuff is gunking up my father's lungs is not cancer. No idea what it is. Library paste? Guano? Bechamel? It's anyone's guess. So then there was the "malignant obstructive mass" removed from my father's colon. That was shipped off to wherever for analysis, too. But, from what they saw in there, that obstructive mass might have been the extent of the cancer.

Say what?

So we could possibly be looking at cancer that has not metastasized?

That could be.

So my father's prognosis might be something along the lines of favorable?

The doctor didn't disagree with that.

In fact, he was recovering from the surgery so well that he could possibly be discharged from the hospital as early as tomorrow. As in "today."

And guess what?

My father has left Doylestown Hospital. He's now installed in a place called Pine Run (which I've nicknamed "Pain Ruin") for rehab for his hip surgery.

And sure enough, after work, when I went to visit my father, I went not to Doylestown Hospital, but to Pain Ruin. (Pain Ruin features Much More Convenient Parking, I'm happy to discover.)

But here's what I've learned about the science of medicine: it's a lot more art than science. It could be that my dad had a malignant growth in his colon and they removed it and that's that. Or it could be that my father has Stage IV metastasized pancreatic cancer.

So we'll just have to see.

But today, you should see my father's cushy digs at Pain Ruin. He's comfortable. It's quiet. He has a room all to himself. The nursing staff seem friendly and attentive. He'll be there for the next four to five weeks or so. At that point, maybe we'll know more, maybe we won't. But he's sure glad that his sojourn in Doylestown Hospital is over.

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