Now that Mark and I have had a chance to actually discuss a possible trip to Nashville and all its pros and cons, we have hit upon several reasons why we might want to wait. Well, one main reason really, and that is our fear that the doctors there will insist on running their own battery of tests instead of relying on all the slides and computer images we would bring with us. This would be lousy for Austin both in the moment (because a full gamut of medical exams is just plain unpleasant, whether you’re three or whether you’re thirty) and in terms of his long-term health. Remember, it’s recommended that children have no more than six CT scans in their first ten years of life, due to the dangers of radiation. Austin’s had, well, truth be told, we’ve lost count . . . probably fifteen in the past two-plus years. So, subjecting him to another round a few months before we think it’s medically necessary, and in an unfamiliar environment to boot, seems extra cruel.
We’re going to look into the possibility of Mark and I going without Austin (not the grown-up trip we had imagined!), just to sit down and talk with these doctors, but I’m not sure yet whether that’s even possible. We might have to have Austin admitted as an actual real live and present patient before we’d have the chance for a one-on-one consultation. Mark is not convinced we should go either way, but what I’ve realized I’m hoping for is to have them look fully at all the evidence and then either change their recommendation to the “watch-and-wait” approach we’re (hopefully) adopting or be able to back their recommendation up with some good solid reasons.
You know, the main oncologists want to remove cancer as quickly and completely as they can is due to the fear of it spreading. But Austin’s cancer has never spread. In more than two years, it has remained completely local, right in the same vicinity it’s always been in. Now this does not guarantee that it might never spread, but it seems that if it were going to, it would have done so already. Especially if we think about that tumor that was removed this past April that had apparently been inside him since his initial diagnosis eightteen months prior. And it never moved, it barely grew, and it didn’t seem to do him any real harm. So, while the idea of leaving what might be cancer inside our child is terrifying, the alternative (taking out that kidney and relying on long-term dialysis and transplant) is also terrifying — and more certain.
Talk about being stuck between a rock and a hard place. I really liked this parenting thing better when my biggest dilemma was whether to send Austin to kindergarten at almost-age-five or almost-age-six. Really.