Monday, October 18, 2010

November 5, 2009 (1 p.m. The Procedure)

1 p.m.
            At one o’clock Tom and I returned to the gastroenterology center for his endoscopic procedure. I truly wasn’t too worried, because I knew that everything was going to be fine. Tom was a young man, and he had no prior symptoms before this other than acid reflux but he hadn’t been bothered with that in nearly two years. I was sure that this was just standard precautions that doctors must take.
            Very promptly at 1 p.m. the nurse called Tom back to the room in order to prep him for the procedure. I was seated in the waiting room with a book in hand to keep me occupied during the procedure. A few minutes later, the nurse came back out to the waiting room and told me I could wait with Tom until it was time for him to be taken back to the procedure room. I grabbed my things and walked back the hallway where Tom was patiently waiting. The nurse had already put his I.V. in his arm, and now Tom was just waiting for the anesthesiologist who would administer the happy juice that would make him fall off to dreamland. I walked over to his bedside, and I leaned down and gave him a kiss on the forehead.
            “Everything is going to be fine, sweety. You have nothing to worry about.”
            “I hope you are right. I don’t know. I still think it is very odd how quickly they wanted to do this procedure.” He answered me.
            We had no sooner started our conversation until the anesthesiologist poked his head in the door to take Tom to the procedure room. I leaned down and kissed him one more time. “You will be fine. I love you, and I will see you in a few minutes.”
            I returned to the waiting room and took out my book, The Secret by Rhonda Byrne, to keep my mind off Tom’s procedure. In the back of my head questions were running rampant. Why was this happening? What exactly was happening? Why did they want to do the procedure so quickly? I tried to concentrate on my book, but these thoughts kept flowing like wild fire. Twenty minutes had barely passed when the nurse came back out to the waiting room to fetch me.
            “Liz, you can come back now. They are finishing up, and he will soon be in the recovery room,” she stated as I grabbed my book and coat and followed her to the recovery room. As I rounded the corner to walk into the room, Dr. Peters was standing outside the room, and I could tell by the expression on his face that he did not have good news for us. His eyes were glassed over, and a frown had embedded itself on his face that not even a chisel could remove.
            “I don’t like the expression you have on your face,” I exclaimed to him as I walked into Tom’s recovery room. He was still passed out from the procedure, but the nurse was trying to wake him quickly because the doctor wanted to speak to him while he was awake.
            “Tom isn’t quite awake yet, so I will come back in about 10 to 15 minutes, and I will explain everything to you,” Dr. Peters stated as he walked out of the room.
            I sat there dumbfounded while the nurse was waking Tom. The thoughts were going crazy in my head. I knew that this was going to be bad, but I was hoping still hoping that it was nothing. Tom was slowly stirring, and he asked me for his glasses. I took his glasses out of my purse and handed them to him. I quickly had to help him put them on his face because he nearly poked himself in the eye with the arm of the glasses. “Here, let me help you with them. I don’t think you are quite awake yet,” I laughed.
            Dr. Peters returned shortly, and Tom sat up in bed to hear the report. “I wish I could tell you that I had good news, but unfortunately I don’t.” He paused for a brief moment as Tom and I looked at each other. “I found a large mass in your esophagus and the upper half of your stomach. I cannot tell you that it is cancerous, but I took out several specimens to send away for biopsies. Let’s hope for your sake that it is a lymphoma and not an adenocarcinoma. A lymphoma is very treatable, so let’s pray that this is what the tumor is. I have put a rush on the biopsy, so I should have the results back by Tuesday morning. I know this puts a lot of pressure on you for over the weekend because today is only Thursday, but just hope for the best. I want to warn you that from today forward your lives are going to be like a runaway freight train, and you are not going to have control over it for a very long time. This ride will take you over hills and at times you will feel lost and out of control, but I know that everything will be ok,” He tried to reassure us. “I will give you a call on Tuesday with your results as soon as I get them. In the meantime, try not to worry too much, and please try to have a good weekend.”
            By this point, tears were streaming down my face. I was swiping at them, so Tom would not see. I was trying to hold it all in because I needed to be strong for him. I had to be encouraging for him.
            As we drove home from the doctor’s office that afternoon, we were speechless. The closer we got to home, Tom looked at me and said, “Liz, if this is cancer, I do not want anyone to know; not even my family.”
“Tom, that is not fair to your family, and that is not fair to me. You know you cannot keep that kind of information from your family members. If something were to happen in the long run, I will get the blame for keeping that information from your siblings. No, I cannot agree with that. You must tell them. You do not have to do it now, but if it does turn out to be cancer, you must tell them eventually,” I said.
The rest of the drive home was in complete silence. Neither one of us knew what more to say. We were in for a long weekend of worry.

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