Feb 10, 2011 - 9:14 pm
(Bob Dylan reference)
I visited ENT Man on Tuesday. As per the norm, I arrived early so that he could see me more than an hour later. Fortunately, CNN was on the television rather than Sesame Street so I was able to watch the Egyptian Riots Reality Show rather than Bert and Ernie.
This assisted in my remaining for more than my usually self-defined 30 minutes of ignoring the value of MY time.
When finally I got past ENT Man's new nurse (I really liked his old one, but as I have remarked in the past, she was looking really beaten down by the job so I am elated that she survived to retire. I hope that she is on a warm beach somewhere with umbrella drink in hand), I still had time to check the room. I looked high and low for NostrilDamus and didn't see him anywhere which is always a good sign.
I DID get weighed and am down to 143 lbs. When this saga began, back in September of 2005, I was a rather robust 215 lbs. I lost 75 lbs during the head/neck commotion, but had gained back to 170 lbs when the lung thing occured. I came out of that one, staph infection included, at again somewhere in the 140s. Just prior to losing my last tube, however, I was at a moderately acceptable 163 and it appeared that any nutrtional worries were behind me.
So. 143 lbs. ENT Man made note of that immediately. Not acceptable. May need to reinsert tube if things don't get better, even though he knows I do not want that.
He also noted his surprise that I was still in the building, in homage, I suppose, to my legendary ability to leave if not treated within 30 minutes of announced appointment time. He did not sound bitter but rather amused (which is difficult to detect in light of his almost stony stoicism).
He then got down to business, using the oversized popsicle sticks to probe high and low east and west and apparently satisfied with what he saw (more importantly, perhaps, what he did not see), pronounced me all clear, more than five years after diagnosis, more than five years after my last treatment for head/neck cancer.
He made a rather scandalous remark about that '10 months to live' diagnosis ("So much for that diagnosis," he practically spoke to himself), which surprised me since these folks generally present a united front among us commoners.
He asked if I wanted another dilation, and I jumped at that. He also insisted upon a dietician and asked if I had had a thyroid test done lately. I advised that bad diagnoser, OncoMan, was on top of that one, and that I was apparently fine.
I shook hands, with ENT Man, a second or two longer than usual, said thank you a couple of times, and he said I knew where to find him if I needed him.
Driving away, I realized that cancer has now been a part of nearly 10% of my entire life. That's quite a piece of personal history to say goodbye to. A couple of more years, and maybe I will be doing the same with OncoMan and closing this chapter altogether.
As one of my doctors said not too very long ago, "You're a lucky man." Yes, indeed. Somehow, so far, I am finding a way out of here.