Chapter 25: The Waiting Game Part 2

Just a quick update:

Saw Dr. Moore on Monday. After a fabulous weekend of getting my head screwed back on relatively straight and getting my game face on, I was feeling pretty good going in to that appointment.

Well, I was pretty good until we sat there waiting on him to read the CT scan. Commence the freak out. I’d prepared a list of 20+ questions (I told you I’d be that patient) and suddenly I felt a bit strangled, like there was no way I was going to be able to say or hear the words coming out of my mouth.

This is why you always take someone with you in the event you get bitten by the stage fright monster.

He took a look at the CT scan and said that it looked like all of Benedict is contained within my right upper lobe. And even better-Benedict really does look to be chopped into 2 pieces. Muahahaha, I didn’t only squash him, but I chopped and diced him too. That’s the good news.

Which means there must be other news. I’m not calling it bad news. It’s just news.

The other news is that it is unclear whether one of the pieces is contained within the lung or has invaded the chest wall (pleura, ribs). This wasn’t news to him (IE, it had been like this before) but it was to me (IE, nobody had mentioned that to me).

Immediately my stage fright turned into a feeling of “WTF DUDE?”

He explained that once he gets in there he’ll feel around the outside of the lung and see if Benedict grew tentacles or not (Picture Ursula from the Little Mermaid here). If not, he’ll take out my upper lobe, #whambamthankyouma’am. I didn’t need that part of my lung anyway seeing as I haven’t been using it.

He will do a thoracotomy, meaning I’ll have a scar that traces from under my right breast to under my right shoulder blade and they will use special tools to spread my ribs open. Despite me shrinking and breaking him into pieces like a champ, Benedict is still too big for us to consider the VATS (minimally invasive) procedure.

So you’re probably still wondering what happens if Benedict has grown tentacles. I’ve left you hanging for dramatic effect.

They will call in a trusty plastic surgeon who will do a quick and dirty resection of the sections of at least 3 ribs, insert some metal struts into their place, then harvest a piece of one of my shoulder/chest wall muscles to put overtop of the new ribs. No sweat.

Or at least that’s how Dr. Moore made it sound.

As we left Daniel commented on my face as Dr. Moore said that. “You looked like you had something very important to say there when he mentioned the rib thing.”

I did—but really the only thing that came to mind in that moment was “Are you effing kidding me? Do I at least get a vote which muscle you use? Because I really care about my shoulder function.” In a matter of milliseconds my brain had also computed and calculated what that meant for recovery and rehab and my ability to function and–most importantly–swim again. Let’s just say it was more than the “everyday thoracotomy” recovery. Once a PT, always a PT.

But in reality I was too utterly dumbfounded to ask questions. Dr. Moore kept talking and I listened. He said we had a number of tests to run before we could even discuss surgery dates/options/times.

Really!?!?! More tests? I came in here today with the mindset we’d have an eviction date and get this thing all planned out and you’re telling me I need more tests?

Yep. Cue the little voice in my head that says “The Universe laughs when you plan, Julie.” Touche, Universe. Touche.

So over the next week we’ll be taking a lot of pictures. I get a repeat PET scan, a bone scan, a brain MRI, and a pulmonary function test. From there we’ll see what the results say and either do more tests or schedule a follow up visit with Dr. Moore and maybe plastic surgery to discuss results and plan.

So in the spirit of not planning and getting my heart and head set on anything, I’m just gonna go ride the wave and hang out until someone tells me to do something otherwise.  I’m grateful that we are being conservative and running tests to make sure there is nothing else to worry about anywhere else  and that medicine and science give us an option for chest wall resection and reconstruction. So in the words of a friend of mine “WOW! So you’re not only going to be Wonder Woman but you might be Iron Man too?”

Yep. Yep, I just may.

But most importantly: Benedict is going away soon.

#takethatBenedict #adiosBenedict #JESTF