Ah, the scholar as he sits in his recliner, with books in the background and a towel to keep his head from sticking to the leather upholstery, and the wise, kind smile of a . . . well, what would you call it?
Anyway, I didn’t get a post up last week before the e-mail updates went out. We had re-set the time to check something and so the deadline was earlier than usual. There wasn’t much to report anyway, which is always good. Boring is better, as I think I’ve already said somewhere in this blog. We did have a totally useless and time-wasting doctor’s visit last Thursday. Somehow we had a miscommunication about when Gideon needed to go back for a followup visit to our “crazy spine surgeon,” and we were told when we got there that they really couldn’t tell us anything and that we needed to come back in six weeks. Gyp! Gideon ended up missing his afternoon class because of this visit, so it was doubly irritating.
Last Friday wasn’t very much fun either, as Gideon had his second PET scan. He had to wait a long time because a staff member was out sick, and since they used the same chemical to flush out his port as they did when he had his chemos, he felt pretty nauseated afterwards just because of the smell. But we didn’t have any results that day, although we assumed that they were probably fine. We knew that we’d find out what was what today, when Gideon had a followup with Dr. Rifkin.
Yesterday the spine surgeon’s office called to say that Gideon had a new compression fracture on his lower back. Although we hadn’t ended up actually seeing the doctor last week they had automatically sent Gideon to get an x-ray as soon as he walked in. That scan was supposedly showing that he had this new break, news which was pretty unsettling and also very puzzling. How could he have something like this without any symptoms? I relentlessly quizzed the poor nurse who had to call me, but she really couldn’t tell me anything other than that we needed to check with our oncologist right away, which was already going to happen today. So we weren’t really sure what we were going to be told this morning. It didn’t seem possible that things had gone south, and indeed they hadn’t. Dr. Rifkin had a few choice words about this idea that there was a new fracture which I will render a bit more genteelly than he did as “horse manure.” He even got hold of the spine surgeon in the operating room! Pretty impressive. He has a lot of pull. I’m still not clear on what exactly happened, but the important news is: the PET scan looked great. No negative changes from the last one, which showed no active malignancy. So, for now, Gideon is in the clear. He’s off all medications, he’s through with his chemo, and now he needs to get out of his braces, get some physical therapy to strengthen the core muscles that have been underused for so long, and have checkups and scans at longer and longer intervals. He’ll have yet another MRI in three weeks and see Dr. Rifkin again in four, and at that point he should finally, finally be told he can get out of those horrible things. I just hope they hold together that long. We are very thankful and relieved!