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Thursday, February 4, 2010

More Good News, And More

The title above sounds like it was written by the Department of Redundancy Department. So I'll explain:

Last Friday I saw Dr. Lee Zehngebot, who reiterated what he'd told me a couple of days earlier: I'm pretty darned lucky.

As it turns out, the tumor removed by Dr. Joseph Boyer was a desmoid tumor, which is comprised of spindle cells, as Dr. Boyer had told me soon after the Jan. 18 surgery.

But the spindle cells formed this desmoid, not a carcinoma, which is a malignant form of cancer. While desmoids are benign, meaning they won't spread throughout my body, they are locally aggressive and quite dangerous on their own. This desmoid was seriously attached to my lung and was touching my esophagus. It could have gotten ugly had it remained for much longer.

In fact, research I've done since the diagnosis indicates I am one of 27 lucky individuals in the English-speaking world on record to have an intra-thoracic desmoid. Dr. Boyer, soon to be an associate professor at UCF's new medical school, might actually write a paper on the case, if his research jibes with mine now that he's becoming an academic in addition to just an amazing surgeon. (Line for autographs begins at the rear.)

So Dr. Z said this was the best possible scenario for me: A benign tumor; not related in any way to my previous case of cancer; removed from my body; no other signs of cancer within; I won't need chemo to treat the desmoid. Whew!

In addition, my severe chest pains are pretty much a thing of the past. Since my release from Florida Hospital on Jan. 22, I have not had an incidence of Prinzmetal's Angina. That is more good news and quite a blessing. After a year of torment, it seems to be over.

So after seeing Dr. Z on Friday, I saw Dr. Boyer on Wednesday. He confirmed that he got every bit of the tumor, which is why he had to take a piece of the lung. He removed the dressing from my incision and said it looks good. There's still quite a bit of swelling, but he said that will decrease in time, as will the pain and the numbness on my right side and chest. He said there's a chance the desmoid would return -- it's not uncommon. But he didn't think it would because of its location and origins. Whew again!

Dr. Boyer also referred me to a new cardiologist. As you may recall, I fired my previous heart doctor in Florida Hospital after he told me he came to the diagnosis of Prinzmetal's Angina "because now I believe you." This must have meant that when I was complaining about severe chest pains for the previous year he didn't believe me. Which must be why he didn't order a simple test to see what was up with my heart, such as wearing a holter monitor to record my EKG for a day or two. But I digress.

Heres the more: Monday, I meet with my new cardiologist, Dr. Egerton van den Berg Jr., whose office happens to be a flight below Dr. Boyer's. I chatted with his medical assistant, Jeremy, who described his boss as not just a great doctor but also a really good person. I like that in doctors -- so far, all of my current docs are great at their jobs and great people.

I know, it wasn't all that exciting, but it's good to me. I want a competent cardiologist to check out my ticker and make sure that after a year of spasms in my cardiac arteries there isn't any lasting damage.

I'll find out in just a couple of days. I'm hoping the good news continues...I sure can use it; maybe 2010 will be a good year after all.