Andrea's column: The great reprieveIf you read my column last week, you know I had a CT scan two weeks ago that resulted in a reading of lung cancer.
By: Andrea Langworthy, Rosemount Town Pages
If you read my column last week, you know I had a CT scan two weeks ago that resulted in a reading of lung cancer. You also know that, five days later, a thoracic surgeon said he couldn’t give a diagnosis of cancer until he performed a bronchoscopy, a procedure that would tell him if I had choked on a piece of food and it had aspirated in a bronchial tube.
As it turns out, neither scenario applies. I have pneumonia. And, as many friends have said, it is hard to believe anyone would celebrate over a diagnosis of pneumonia, but halleluiah!
In between cheers, I keep returning to the five days when I was certain my time was up. Many of my cohorts are upset the radiologist and another doctor would say “cancer” before I’d had a biopsy. I don’t know why they are rankled. I’m not. In fact, hearing the C-word took me to a place my autoimmune disease never did.
In the days before my appointment with the surgeon, I was certain he would tell me to get my affairs in order, that I had only a short time left. Who would I spend that time with? I wondered. Would I worry my house wasn’t clean enough for visitors, as I always do, or could I throw open the doors and say, “Come one, come all?”
It was during this time that my husband brought up a household project we had talked about. I don’t even remember what it was but I do recall looking at him and saying, “In the scheme of things, it doesn’t seem so important now. We don’t know how much time we have together. Is that how we want to spend it?”
Our exchange reminded me of a scene in one of Anne Lamott’s books. She is in a dressing room, trying on clothes. Her friend, who has cancer, is with her. “Does this dress make me look fat?” Lamott asks. Her friend tells her they no longer have time for that kind of thinking.
I had the bronchoscopy last Saturday. My husband and I arrived at Fairview Southdale a few minutes after six. The radiologist and the doctor explained what would happen. I would be given an anesthesia that would put me out. The doctor would insert a bronchoscope, a tube which has a light and small camera, through my mouth and into my airways.
When I was awake again, the doctor said he wanted me to have another CT scan before I left the hospital. He called that afternoon and said the magic word. Pneumonia. He asked the name of my pharmacy so I could get started on antibiotics and said he would take another look at the scan with a radiologist on Monday and get in touch with me.
Last week I asked readers to send positive thoughts my way with prayer, chants, or naked dancing in the garden. God and the universe took notice. It is Monday afternoon. The doctor just called. He and the radiologist are sticking with pneumonia. I’ll need another scan in six weeks just to make sure, though. I plan to spend that time giving thanks. And remembering that each day is a gift.