I have a mass on the back of my left thigh. At first it was the size of a walnut, then a few weeks later my General Doctor said it was about an orange. Now my oncologist has told me it’s the size of a football. I said he had to come up with a better analogy – we were using food. How about a loaf of bread? Pot Roast? Coconut?
The biopsy was held in a teaching hospital. Right before surgery, feeling loose and relaxed they give me one of those forms you sign where they can film and lecture during the surgery so we can teach the next generation. You don’t really know what it means until you meet the cast of Grey’s Anatomy. They look like they just learned to brush their teeth. All shiny and new like Barbie Dolls on Christmas Morning.
The doctor comes out to greet me in the surgical preparation area with his support crew ready to cheer him on or comb his hair. I’m lying there with husband sitting beside my bed trying to look my best with my hair smushed flat in the back and standing up on top. How else do you look lying in bed all day? Of course, my doctor is young, handsome and compassionate. I’m not sure he is real. He gives me his winning smile with the full entourage behind him. He’s reassuring and kind. Through the haze of drugs I hear the ‘this surgery is easy’ speech. Since he uses a football analogy for the mass I expect his entourage to begin cheering behind him. Give me a G! Give me a O! Give me a D! Give me a O! Wait how do you spell that?
At the time, I wondered why he signed my leg. I thought it was rather narcissistic of him. Like he was laying claim to my leg. Who says he can have my leg? Does this give you any indication of the drugs I’m on? After the fact I realized it was so he didn’t operate on the part. Sorry Mrs. Schlosser, the bad news is we didn’t biopsy your football. We bypassed your heart.
They wheeled me into this small room that was supposedly an operating room. The reason I question it is simple. Who paints a surgical room mint? There are no shiny metal or reflective surfaces. Very disappointing for a surgery room. Grey’s Anatomy would redecorate immediately.
Except for the windows. Windows everywhere. And there are bright, shiny faces of young polished people peering through the windows like this is the annual Christmas display. Please mommy, can I watch the cute guy cut into the bloody football?
As I wait for them to begin prep I notice the anesthesiologist playing with a little box on my IV. I decided this is my little happy box. This little box will put me to sleep and take my pain. I really like the little happy box.
Before he plays more with the little box, I get a few moments to look around as they decide how to move to the surgical table. There are cameras everywhere. Up above on the walls. On the table. Either I look really good or this is one heck of a football.
I strain to look over into the far corner and there on the big screen is the MRI of my football. Pulsing away as the beautiful female chief resident scans through the MRI. Surrounding her is the cast. They even carry text books. Staring with intense interest at the screen flipping through their books. Why are they flipping through a book just before my surgery? This can’t be good.
I hear the chief resident listing the possibilities of what the mass could be – infection, benign tumor, and malignant tumor like a sarcoma. The residents seem confused. They flip harder. Sar what? Just when I want to raise my hand and ask a question – they turn on my little happy box.