And then we wait and we worry and we wish some more. But we don’t exhale with relief when the good news is delivered.
Because it’s not good news that’s delivered.
There’s another shadow. Another fucking shadow. God, this is the never-ending story. This shadow is actually inside the left kidney, which is really lousy. We don’t know what it is, of course, just that it’s there. It might be scar tissue, it might be another Wilms’ tumor or it could be a nephrogenic rest (those pre-cancerous growths he had on his left kidney back in the beginning, along with two tumors). It happens to be located exactly where the biggest of the original left side tumors was before it was removed in October 2007. So it could very well be some leftover cancer cells that have grown into something new.
We’re not in crisis mode yet. But we’re tired. We’ve been through enough and we’re so very ready to be done with this stage of our lives. But we’re not done yet. Dr. Auletta is checking with the doctor who did the needle biopsy back in March to see if he could safely do one in this location. That would be the best thing because then we would get real information and know what to do next. If we can’t do a needle biopsy, we’d have to decide whether to do a surgical biopsy which would probably destroy what remains of that kidney or to wait a few months and do another scan. We are obviously willing to give up the kidney to save the child, no doubt about it, but I don’t want to take his kidney out for no good reason. So we’ll be in a bit of a quandary if we can’t get a definitive diagnosis of what this “thing” is.
I guess the best case scenario would be to do a needle biopsy and learn that the shadow is just scar tissue. The worst case is that we lose this kidney. It’s something I’ve fought against many times before but right now, it seems like a reasonable and acceptable option. Sacrifice the kidney, rid the body of cancer, save the child. We can’t keep coming back to this terrible place, scan after scan, year after year, more maybes, more tumors–let’s just get rid of it once and for all. Of course then we start down another long road–that of dialysis and transplant.
If he’s not undergoing chemo or radiation treatment (which remains unlikely), he’d be able to do at-home dialysis. I think this is called peritoneal dialysis and he would have a little “button” or plug in his belly button that we’d hook up to a machine sitting at the foot of his bed and dialize him (that verb again) over night. The rest of his life, I think, would be pretty normal. His age is not the determining factor in when he’d be eligible for transplant; it’s how long he’s been cancer-free. Which, of course, he isn’t yet so we’re talking about at least two years of dialysis before transplant.
Ugh, god, I can’t believe we’re even thinking about these things right now. We really thought we’d have ten more years before heading down this road. But this seems to be the road we’re on. And we’ll make it.
We will make it.