Sunday, October 18, 2015

what are the odds?

It really seems like our move to Texas was meant to be.  Or at a minimum, we are supposed to be exactly HERE at this point in time.

Last month, I mentioned that Carolyn needed to have her tonsils taken out - and because she was (repeatedly) unable to have them removed in Virginia - we finally decided to make the move and find an ENT surgeon, here.  As luck would have it, there is an ENT office in our neighborhood. And, a well respected ENT surgeon lives less than a hundred feet away.  This ENT surgeon happens to be the same one who took out Carolyn, and William's tonsils and adenoids, just last month.

As I also mentioned, when we moved to Texas, I had a slight cold that led to the worst ear infection, I've ever had in my life.  After suffering through it for a few days, hoping that a spare Z-pack I had would do the trick, I went to the Emergency Room because I was new here, and didn't yet have a Primary Care Physician.  The ER doctor prescribed me a stronger antibiotic and told me that if I wasn't better in three days, to let them know.

Because I'd talked to my mother - and she was adamant that I get in to see the ENT - I called the ER three days later, and asked that they refer me. Which they did.

When I arrived at the ENT, two days later, they did a hearing test and told me I'd lost approximately 50% of the hearing in my right ear.  The ENT immediately scheduled me to have a CT-scan and an MRI ... and a few days later, I was back in the ENT's office and was told that I was being referred to The Medical Center in Houston, because there was something "suspicious" with my images.  I'm not sure what I was thinking, but I wasn't thinking it would be too big of a deal.  When I was in that MRI machine ... on the first day of our children's school ... I fell asleep and had a dream that I'd totally missed the bus.  Maybe I startled and it was blurry?

My appointment with the neurologist was last week and after he had me answer a number of different questions, and walk across the room, and touch my fingers to my nose, and bend down to touch my toes, he inquired on the headaches I've been having.  These pesky headaches that happen at least daily and sometimes persist for hours, started around the same time as our move to Texas.

They originate from behind my right ear and radiate across my entire head.  I've been chalking them up to the ear infection, dehydration, lack of sleep, stress, relocation, hormones, the vast quantities of barbecue we've been eating each week, and fifth grade homework.

The neurologist nods and says,  "I suspect you've got a cyst.  But let me go look at your MRI and I'll be right back...."

Almost 45 minutes later he comes back and says, "Well, it's definitely not a cyst."  I smile and am just about to say, "Phew, that's good news!" when he continues, "It's a tumor." 

Unfortunately, I only retained 27% of what he said from that point on.

There are a lot of questions, I don't yet know - including where exactly it is, or whether or not it's malignant.  We do know it's about the size of a small walnut.  Yesterday, I was back having another MRI - and within the next few days, I'll be meeting with the neurologist, again, to determine the course of action, which he assures me will likely include surgery and a lengthy recovery.

While I still have some slight loss (~5%) and it feels like I've got fluid sloshing around my ear, my hearing has largely returned.  And from what the neurologist can tell preliminarily, this tumor is likely NOT the cause of that hearing loss; although it is probably the cause for my persistent headaches.  

When I was leaving his office last week, he told me that this is what they call an "incidental finding." If they hadn't been in there, investigating my hearing loss - on this exact ear - they wouldn't have known about the tumor, until who knows when?   Of course that begs the question, how many of us are walking around with absolutely NO idea what's going on inside our bodies?

(Insert need for everyone to have full body MRIs!)

It could just be that it's all coincidental, but I think living where we are - in this location - with these ENT specialists literally in our yard, is no accident.  Moreover, the doctor told me, "If I didn't know better, I'd think you have someone upstairs looking out for you..."

YES, I'm sure I do.  (Thanks Dad!) (And Mom, who talked me in to going to the ENT!)

I'm sure that whatever happens, all will be good because no doubt, the universe is unfolding as it should and God's fingerprints are all over everything.  Meanwhile, on a more serious note ... I'm still trying to figure out how to work this situation in to to my annual rhyming Christmas letter.

There's been a rumor... ?

We must always try to keep our sense of humor... ?