Saturday, May 5, 2012

Unwanted Baggage

Thursday - My first CT scan, and again, a doctor visit with little English involved. I was given a 4 page document to read over and fill out before the rendezvous (appointment), and I was seriously stressing out trying to google translate everything and quickly learn some lingo before being confronted with directions in French. Luckily our doc knew a little, but he refused to use much. It wasn't a big deal, though. I got the gist. He heard we were from Chicago and got excited because he had just visited recently and loved the town. Then he pointed to the scanner and said, ''s an American machine!' It was cute, and I started having flashbacks of the MRI lab renovation I worked on back at HED with all the GE equipment shops I had to pour over to make sure all equipment was accounted for. And here I was now hooked up to an IV being the test specimen. It was all a bit fascinating. What's not fascinating, though, was the results. After a bit of a wait, we were then called back to talk with another doctor who was analyzing all the scans, and she confirmed what the urologist had suggested. There was a huge tumor taking over the kidney and it would have to come out. Luckily, though, there was no sign of spread, so cancer was probably out of the question. The lady said a lot, and I didn't really understand any of her French, but again, we got the gist, then got our images to take back to the urologist.

Ah, back to our English speaker. The guy would would wash away all confusion. He looked at the images, and said that yes, this thing had to come out ASAP and showed us on the photos why everyone's jaws had been dropping. This mass was about 5 times the size of a normal kidney, and even Adam and I both had to gasp. How could something like this be possible? There had never been any signs. The doc said this could have been growing for years and I would have never known it, but wow, it was just so crazy that it so suddenly became so apparent. But again, he confirmed it was indeed localized and didn't seem to have any evidence of spread; he assured us that this was some very very good news.

All in all, we had a decision to make - do the surgery in France or go back to the States. We said we were planning to travel home within the next month anyways, and with that he definitely advised us to go back to the US. The healing process would take way too long, and travel would not be an option. Adam and I had some discussing to do.

That night we talked to parents as well as Adam's brother who is a radiologist, and all parties strongly encouraged me to get on a plane as soon as I could. This was heartbreaking. I had girlfriends coming to visit in two days, and here I was planning to pack it up for good. I might not even see them, and here they had planned this visit for so long. This was horrible!

Friday - I barely slept. I woke up and said, yes, I need to go home tomorrow. I just had that feeling in my gut. It saved me on the passport issue, and I was going to follow it again. And yes, thank god I didn't send in my passport to get renewed! We discussed some more, Adam made some phone calls, then finally  said, yes, he'd come with me for sure. We'd get outa here as soon as possible. For the next 12 hours, we packed, figured out where to store our stuff, cleaned the whole apartment, changed our plane tickets and wrapped up our entire lives here in Paris. Our plan is still to come back in July, but god only knows what the surgery will bring.

Thursday we went through shock, then tears, then disbelief, then more tears. Then Friday, we switched to go-mode and just focused on the task of getting us outa here. Now, as we sit and breathe for a sec, we realize this all could be a blessing in disguise. In addition, I wonder about the crazy timing of this all...was it meant to be? I mean, is it coincidence that Adam took a job this year that pretty much ended in time to allow him the opportunity to go home to be with me through all this? Is it coincidence that this happened now, and not in a year right before the wedding? And is it a coincidence that we discovered this unwanted guest through an ultrasound at a time before babies? I can't even fathom if this had come up the first time I was in for an ultrasound to see my future child. Yes, blessing indeed, and we're all trying to stay positive about it all.

So here we are wrapping up a chapter of our lives abroad, though there are still some items we've been meaning to post. And considering we'll both have some serious down time in the next few weeks, there will be plenty of blogging time to go back and document the rest of those thoughts. As for now, USA, here we come!


  1. Oh my Bridge so sorry you are having to go through this, but I'm happy Adam is able to come home with you.
    How crazy is it that we both had tumors found and removed this year. I know in my heart you will be fine and if you need anything, I mean anything while you are home please let me know.
    Big hugs!! Suzi

  2. Oh no :-( so many thoughts, feelings, and emotions, indeed!
    We are thinking of you both and sending you lots of support! Hang in there!