February 1, 2012 § Leave a comment

8 days on the chemo countdown!

It’s a beautiful clear morning with the winter sun streaming into the kitchen highlighting my cluttered desk in relief. January, usually our coldest month in Colorado has given us mild temperatures and little snow this year, affording me many extra days of walks with my husband and Hana between treatments.


Back to early summer, I call Dr. L back and ask if I can see the actual pathology report. One of the best features of the Kaiser network is patients’ ability to electronically communicate with their caregivers. Little do I realize how many caregivers I will soon have, and how much I will rely on this system. Luckily, I will also learn about competent and compassionate caregiving; I did not expect to rely on my health system in this way. He sends me the pathology report; it reads

11 July 2011

FINAL DIAGNOSIS: Endometrium, biopsy: Atypical glandular epithelium with papillary features suspicious for neoplasm.

I start to learn “medical speak”. A summer job I had during college pays off now; I worked full-time for two or three summers transcribing pathology reports by “dictaphone”, now an obsolete tape recording technology. I listened to the pathologists’ recordings of both specimen dissections and microscopic slide analysis and meticulously typed them onto a four-part form. I can relate to all those patients now.

Because of the indefinite reading, the slides go to a pathology department conference review. They decide to send the slides to Mayo for a second opinion. Dr. L. also refers me to the hospital to get an ultrasound. While we wait for more results, I travel to southern California to visit my parents and sisters. The timing for a visit is good. I won’t be able to travel again for several months.

My sis and I visit Bergamot Station art galleries in Santa Monica and see a large mobile planter with an amazing array of succulents.


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