Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Godfather

Thursday. Consultation #3 + Biopsy = another 12 hour day at the hospital. We finally were able to meet with THE doc who had an actual say in all this, Dr. Leibovich, and our family friend doc who we had met with the day before had reassured us that this guy was the "best of the best", his best friend, and, oh yeah, the godfather of his child. When he walked into the room and shook our hands, we said, "so you're the godfather....we hear you make things happen." This made everyone chuckle to release some of the anticipation in the room.

For the millionth time, I went over my story to catch him up to speed, we looked at the scans together, and he explained in greater detail the three possibilities that might be the outcome of this biopsy. To him, the most likely result pointed towards the 'garden variety' (yes, he actually said garden variety, like it's something you'd just find out in the street or something) renal cell carcinoma cancer which would simply be surgically removed. Chemo and drugs simply don't have an effect on this type of cancer like it does on others, so with the surgery, we'd just have to cross our fingers and hope they get it all out (equals large slice down the middle of my stomach...we asked if we could install a zipper for later on when a baby comes..would be a bit easier than giving birth). If it were the other two options we'd discussed with the doc the day before, there'd be a chance I'd be asked to have some chemo treatments first to shrink down the tumor as much as possible with the possibility of removing it laparoscopically ( equals very small scars). Until the results come back, though, we won't know what the game plan will be. As of now, though, the doc is still planning on his number one guess of it needing immediate removal, so surgery has been tentatively planned for next Thursday. He also showed concern for my vena cava, the huge vein that brings blood to the heart, since the images showed it being pinched somewhere by the tumor. He said if there were any complications during surgery, he'd have a vascular surgeon as well as a general surgeon by his side to fix anything up that needs fixing. We all sighed in relief and told him, "...that's great, because we have a groupon for one surgeon, get two free. Sweet deal for us." I'm glad this guy found us funny, or at least played along well.

The Biopsy. We all thought this would be as quick and easy as a blood test, but of course not. I was brought up to an outpatient wing, told to put on the hospital garb and was given a lecture of the ultrasound guided biopsy procedure. I was just hoping it would be quick so I could get outa there and get something to eat and drink. I hadn't been allowed to eat since dinner, and had to give up drinking hours ago. I was famished. But no, it would be another two hours before lunch came to my rescue, and in the mean time, all I got was some crazy clothes to wear and a blank IV in my arm. Gross. I got on a gurney and was wheeled to another wing where the procedure would take place. The woman pushing me wasn't a nurse, but someone looking closer to a flight attendant. I later asked a nurse about these 'cab drivers' and she said, yes, there was a whole team of people whose sole purpose is to transport patients. Not a bad gig I suppose. I was wheeled into the ultrasound room where I met three other nurses and the doc (#13) who would soon be stabbing me. My heart rate went up and their IV fluid went right into my arm to calm me down. It was amazing how fast that stuff works. One of the nurses manned the ultrasound wand while the doc pinpointed the spot he wanted to prick. With a sharpie, he marked the spot then used something on my skin to numb me all the way through the muscle. Miraculously, I couldn't feel a thing being inserted, but then you hear a loud, CLAMP. Amazing, no pain. He did this a few more times, removed the needle, and applied pressure to the spot. "How's it feeling?," he asked. The Mayo has you tell your pain on a scale from 0-10. I said it was feeling fine, about a 1. The bandaid went on, then the pain bumped up to a 5, then 7, then, yep, it sucked really really bad. The doc immediately called for some more fluid in my IV and a Vicodin. Even with the speed of those drugs, those 30 seconds of pain felt like eternity. Ugh, and this wasn't even surgery, yet. My mind had to go to another place and try and think of something more painful I'd experienced to convince myself this wasn't so bad. I immediately thought of a past climbing trip where I was exhausted to death, missed clipping in, and slammed into the rock face a good 10' below me. Yeah, that sucked, too. Then by this point, the drugs had set in and I was back down to a 2-3.

After the procedure, my 'cab driver' was called and she wheeled me back up to my room. From there I was ordered to lay flat for the next 5 hours to give my body time to recoup and alleviate any chance of internal bleeding. Adam and the 'rents went out to lunch and I patiently waited, staring at the ceiling, sipping hot chocolate hoping company and lunch would soon arrive. I was just happy not to be my roommate on the other side of the curtain who just got out of surgery and complained how much pain she was in....oh wait, that would be me next week. Crap.

We were advised to stay in town for the evening following the procedure in case any complications may arise, so our plans to ditch town and make our way home were put off for another night. Everyone was exhausted. The waiting, the hospital time, the procedures, and more waiting. It's only the beginning.

Friday we made our way back to Springfield and we plan to head back next Tuesday for the real fun. 

Sticky Socks

Mayo Patients from all over the world


  1. Glad they are taking good care of you Bridgette! And super glad you get to go home for a while. Ironically, my mom will be at Mayo next Tuesday too!! Maybe you can meet her....maybe Mayo is bigger than I think though..
    We are sending you lots of support and good cheer. Here's hoping for the better outcome and for getting rid of that tumor!

  2. Good to see you're in good hands in MN! Here's hoping to a speedy process and recovery.

    Tim Z.