This post is a continuation of Lessons Learned.
In case you are not familiar, Graves’ Disease is an autoimmune disease that attacks the thyroid and whose most familiar symptom is bulging eyes. You know, like Marty Feldman…
strike force, ninja-like action fit of brilliance, my mom, supported by her friend Dr. R, made an appointment with an endocrinologist in the city, for a second opinion. The appointment was set for March 22nd. My birthday. Of course.
stalked Googled him to find out more. Seems he is one of New York City’s top doctors and has rave reviews everywhere. He looked young, but trustworthy. Certainly, he wouldn’t give my mom a diagnosis with his back turned!
Waiting for the day of the appointment was
excrutiating, like Chinese water torture invigorating. While working close to 14 hour days, I searched online on the possible causes of Graves, long term effects of medication, potential therapies.
The first half of the month came and went and as the day approached with the meeting with the endo-crino (like I was calling him in my head), both mom and I were fairly calm. I can’t speak for her, but I had a little voice in the back of my head that kept on saying, “it’s gonna be fine. Nothing going on there.” Sure enough, nothing was wrong. Not only were the values of her TSH not as dramatic as the other two doctors had said, but Dr. M gave her a blood test in his office and called several days later to confirm that she didn’t have Graves’ disease.
April came and went. I worked loads and took some time off for Easter break. I spent it with my mom and was able to enjoy some time together. After all, dad had passed just five months prior; we were still licking our wounds.
April showers, they say, bring May flowers. I don’t remember if it rained in April or not. But the month was not flowery. At all.
Mom went for her annual mammography, always a source of tension since 1992 when a small tumor had been found and speedily removed. She had been given a course of radiotherapy and five years of tamoxifen. After the tamoxifen she had been deemed cancer free and though her yearly mammos (like I like to call them) where tension-makers, the distance from that event and my dad’s diagnosis of Parkinson’s in 2000 had rendered the memory of cancer rather faint.
[voice over: The Voice of God, or Orson Welles] Man plans, God laughs.
The mammo showed signs of something that needed a closer look. So another was performed. Another look was needed; the kind of look that a needle sonogram biopsy can give you. Mom told me about this look (and that the mammo had give the doctors concern) the weekend of Mother’s Day. I would say rather appropriate. Mind you, I’m making these connections not for some sort of cry of lonely child whose mother is ill, but more to reinforce the mother-daughter-woman-female-motherearth connection.
End of Part II