Tests – I’m now of course, thinking the worst. But I didn’t have time to deal with my thoughts. I called Helene, and we went back to the hospital together, where I had to have a CT Scan. This was the first of about 7 major tests I had over the next 8 days. In the meantime, our worst fears were realised. It was a malignant tumour on my left kidney, roughly 5.5 cm in diameter in all directions (which is just over 2 inches high, wide, and deep). The endochrinologist (Leon) told us this the next day, and had me have other tests checking out whether it occurred in any other organs, whether it was in my bones – I had CT scans, MRIs, bone scans, x-rays – you name it – any chance they had to zap some more radiation in me, they took. The upshot seemed to be this: Kidney cancer, didn’t seem to be anywhere else, should be treatable.
Uri the Urologist – Leon made an appointment for me with a urologist (Uri), who is one of the best in the business, and I saw him on Monday. His verdict – remove the kidney, simple laparoscopic procedure, and everything should be hunky-dory. Meanwhile he ordered some more tests, and took the results to a forum of urologists, oncologists, and radiologists (sounds poetic, doesn’t it?) on Thursday morning. They suggested another ultrasound examination to make sure there wasn’t any cancer in the renal arteries. If there were, there’d have to be a different kind of surgery (not laparoscopic, but open). But the ultrasound showed clear – so they booked me in for surgery on Saturday May 8th at Cabrini hospital (Melbourne’s version of Seattle Grace for all you GA fans).
Me, my thoughts, and Randy Mac – Needless to say, during all this time, I went through all the thoughts and emotions one goes through. “I have cancer”, “I’m gonna die”, “No, it will all work out”, “Be positive”, “What’s the point of anything?”, “Is everything prepared?”, “Have I done enough with my life?”, etc, etc. Thankfully, I had an awesome conversation with Randy McNamara. Randy lives in the San Francisco area, is a Landmark Education Forum Leader, and was my coach and mentor for two years (1998 – 2000). Randy called me and said only a few things. He said “You may have all sorts of thoughts, but just relate to them like raindrops falling on a window”. Brilliant. He said “It’s your body. You have a say. Ask any questions you want to ask of the doctors, and don’t let them bamboozle you!” Brilliant. He said “You’re probably not thinking straight, so make sure that Helene asks questions and is listening to their answers, and trust her judgement.” Absolutely fucking brilliant. And finally he said “Don’t be a shmuck! It’s your life, it’s your body, you determine how it’s all going to go!!!!” The best coaching I’ve ever received!!
Preparing for the surgery – We took on Randy’s coaching and asked away, researched the Internet, armed ourselves with knowledge, and went into the next phase with confidence. Mind you, the night before that surgery, I had a lot of trepidation. “What if it doesn’t work?”, “What if I don’t wake up?”, “What if I do wake up before it’s over?”. But I kept going back to Randy’s words and listened to my thoughts like they were raindrops on the window.
I reconciled all my bank accounts, paid all the outstanding bills that I could, tidied my desk, had a good meal, didn’t sleep most of the night, and then got up on Saturday ready to trot off to Cabrini for my surgery……….. (to be continued)