Is it true that somewhere over the rainbow, skies are blue?
I got the chest x-ray. DH, being a doctor, looked at it on our computer at home. And, there it was. A shadow. It was near my lung. Its lines were blurred. It was out of focus. But there it was. Something.
I was convinced I had lung cancer. I had childhood asthma growing up and if there was any weak link in my body I guessed it would be my lungs. After DH and I looked at the x-ray, I got in touch with my doctor. No wait, I tried to get in touch with my doctor. She wasn’t returning my messages. I called and called. DH was home early that day and he called too. Little Man woke early from a nap and the three of us went to the park to take our mind off everything. Finally DH got through to a nurse who read the x-ray report over the phone confirming what we saw, something. The report actually says, There is an irregular right perihilar opacity recommend nonemergent follow-up CT to further evaluate. DH told the nurse that he wanted to speak with the doctor and a few minutes later his phone rang. He walked away from where Little Man and I were playing and proceeded to have a loud and mean sounding conversation with the doctor. I was freaked. Eventually, the conversation ended. DH said that the doctor wasn’t alarmed by the results of the x-ray but recommended that I have a CT scan of my chest just to make sure. She told DH, we get one of these about once a month. If I had any idea of how upset your wife was, I would have called myself instead of having my nurse read you the report.
I cried the whole weekend while DH assured me that it was going to be ok and that x-rays are notorious for being inaccurate. I had the CT scan on Monday morning and by that afternoon the results were in. DH and I blew up the doctor’s phones to get through to her so that we could get the results as quickly as possible. The hospital refused to give us the results directly. Finally, the doctor called us mid-day.
Can you come in this afternoon so we can go over the CT results? Yes, of course. But, what does the report say? Well, I really want to talk about it with you in person. Ok I understand but please, tell me, what does it say? Well, it’s, it’s not good. It looks like it’s a tumor.
My world began to spin faster than a teacup ride. DH and I melted on the floor of the bathroom and between us cried a gallon of tears. I cried so much that I must have cleaned out my tear ducts because now my tears come right out of my nose. I still thought it was lung cancer. What else could it possibly be? It was a tumor in my lung, I was convinced. DH called his office and asked two of his colleagues to watch Little Man so we could meet with the doctor.
We dropped Little Man off and then drove straight to the doctor’s office. We cried the whole the way there and walked bleary eyed into her office where we were taken back to an exam room quickly. Choking back tears, the doctor said the following: blah blah blah blah large blah anterior mediastinal mass blah blah blah invasion of the superior vena cava with extension into the right atrium. Blah blah blah. And then she said, as if it mattered, the following measurements are likely to have underestimated the true size, but the mass measures roughly 4.1 by 3.6 by 3.8 cm in size and extends towards the tricuspid valve. Overall, the entire mass measures approximately 8.7 x 6.4 x 11.8 cm in size. Blah blah blah blah blah lymphoma should be strongly considered although other malignant processes such as germ cell tumor or malignant thymoma cannot be excluded.
Spinning, spinning, spinning, spinning. That’s all I remember. That and, strongly consider lymphoma. Wait, lym what? Oh, it’s not lung cancer it’s lymphoma. Duh, I should have thought of that.
The doctor wasn’t reading fast enough for DH so he started to read the over her shoulder. He gasped at one point, I think where he saw that the tumor was invading my superior vena cava. That’s gasp-worthy. Based on these results, the next step was to take a fine needle biopsy of the tumor to get a proper diagnosis. That was scheduled for the next day.
DH and I left sobbing. We picked up Little Man and tried to act normal for him. I don’t think he understood what was going on, but he did give me a few wondering looks as I silently cried while reading books to him. It was a beautiful sunny day and as we sat on the floor of his playroom reading, all I could think was, is this the last time I would ever read to him?
Somewhere over the rainbow, way up high
There’s a land that I’ve heard of once in a lullaby.
Somewhere over the rainbow, skies are blue
And the dreams that your dare to dream, Really do come true.
Someday I’ll wish upon a star
And wake up where the clouds are far behind me
Where troubles melt like lemon drops,
High above the chimney tops,
That’s where you’ll find me.
Somewhere over the rainbow, blue birds fly
Birds fly over the rainbow
Why then, oh why can’t I?
If happy little blue birds fly beyond the rainbow
Why, oh why can’t I?