You are currently browsing the daily archive for May 17, 2012.

Didn’t expect to hear from me so quickly, huh?

Have I ever told you that Austin is a snorer? Like a hear-him-from downstairs-snorer? He’s loud, all night long, snargling and snuffling and waking anyone around him. This is relevant because sedation can be dangerous for those at risk of respiratory failure. We’ve run into this problem before over the years, but he usually needs to be sedated for only a short period of time. For radiation or CTs with contrast, it’s a half hour maximum that he’s actually sedated and only a few minutes in the machine and out of the range of the doctor’s watchful eyes. MRIs can take up to two hours.

We went to sedation today around 12:30, after steering Austin away from food all morning. We had packed a good “lunch” for him to eat around 4pm when he would finally wake up. The nurse went through her procedures and then the doctor arrived. He looked in Austin’s mouth and quickly left the room, returning a minute later with a tongue depressor. He called me over to show me Austin’s huge and swollen tonsils, explaining how this is a problem, and all along I’m thinking he’s just pointing them out, advising me kindly to see an ENT, sharing tangential information. But no. Then he drops the bomb. “We can’t sedate him; it’s too dangerous.”

He has to go through anesthesia instead, which doesn’t hold these same respiratory risks (although is a bigger deal in other ways that I can’t quite explain). Of course, anesthesia couldn’t fit us in today and the MRI has now been rescheduled for next Wednesday. In the afternoon. On a day when his class is going on an end-of-the-year field trip to Beachwood playground that will inevitably include many delicious snacks.  Uuuuuuugggggghhhhhhhhh. I will bring him anyway that day, convince the class to hold off as long as possible on putting out the food, offer more popsicles and leave early.

I guess we weren’t quite specific enough with our wishes. Next time, we have to include the date.

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Mark and I sat around for a long time last night trying to figure out exactly what to hope will come out of today. Wishing for everything to “be okay” doesn’t quite cut it, nor does my usual “I hope the worst is behind us.” We need some specifics here.

We’ve settled on four scenarios, two likely and two highly unlikely. Of course, there may be one or ten other possibilities that haven’t yet crossed our minds, but we do have a well of experience for how these things work.

The two most realistic possibilities are that we clearly see the lesion and 1) are able to easily reach it with a needle biopsy or 2) aren’t able to reach it. The first is obviously the most desirable. Then we could schedule a biopsy and get real information. At that point, we know exactly what to wish for: that the “thing” is not cancer.  And not only not cancer, but defined with certainty as something else so we don’t even have to worry about it. Then we’d finally pop open that champagne. If we’re unable to reach it with a needle biopsy, I think the next step would be to watch and wait, with repeat scans. I don’t think any of us (parents or doctors) believe that the need to know outweighs the risk of surgery.  If it grows or changes on repeat scans (probably monthly), then we could justify going in surgically since growth almost always equals cancer.

The two unlikely scenarios fall on opposite ends of the good-bad spectrum. One is that the “thing” has disappeared.  I know that sounds like the best option, but it would also raise many questions, like what was it saw last week and where the hell did it go?  I imagine we would also end up with more frequent repeat scans if that was the case, to make sure it doesn’t magically reappear. The worst possibility would be that it’s grown considerably since last week, forcing us into quicker action (since growth equals cancer).

So, for all of you who’ve sent me lovely messages saying you’re wishing, hoping and praying for us today, now you have a specific request to send out into the universe: That we can easily reach it with a needle biopsy and that’s it’s ultimately defined as something other than cancer.

Okay … got it? Now get busy.

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May 2012
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