Tag Archives: pathology

You’re Probably Sick of My Dreams

31 Aug

I had a dream that I was a backup dancer for Robin Thicke, but all the other dancers were little girls and this one little boy. It was really awkward. This one little girl was crying. We were all trying to get attention from the audience so that we could win (win what? I don’t know), and this little girl, Julia, was a backup dancer and she was crying, so someone got on the loudspeaker and sang a song just for her. We got up and sang some children’s song together and then posed. Then, Robin Thicke came on stage to perform. People were kind of upset with him because his tour bus was blocking the view and he needed his own personal red carpet.

I also had a dream that Tom Cruise asked me to take his orange and black mustang and go kill people. He wanted me to be back by noon, which was impossible given the time constraints. So basically I turned into an evil guy and went and killed all these people, and then Adele was supposed to be driving them back to Tom’s office for me. She got in a car accident with all of the bodies in the car, and they flew everywhere. She then turned into a live sarcophagus that was upside down in the desert, but she looked like a giant bug. That sentence makes no sense, but that’s about how much sense it made in my dream. But yeah, I was upset because I just wanted Tom Cruise not to be upset with me because he would kill me.

Then I had a dream that I was at school and my parents were coming to visit. I was taking this really hard exam from my neuro professor, but it was on pathology. Then my parents met my pathophysiology professor who lived with a 3rd year. They took my parents to see the Dean, and I went back to class.

Rough, Yet Satisfying

28 Aug

School was rough today. It was so long, and I was super exhausted. I don’t think I could have stayed another minute. I was so nauseous, too. And I have a killer headache. But I did correctly diagnose a 4 year old girl (in a clinical vignette) with a purulent bacterial meningitis manifesting in her subarachnoid space with a high concentration of neutrophils (hence the purulence) and with phlebitis due to the meningitis. It was secondary to chronic otitis media. Maybe I can actually do this whole doctor thing! I’m getting pretty good at it 🙂 So that made me excited, because I did get pimped on the question and I got every single thing right! Which is very rare in this class. Gah Pathology!

It Just Got Real

13 Aug

We had so much information today, my head is spinning. I feel so totally overwhelmed, but one of my classmates helped me learned the first little bit of the pharmacology lecture, and now I feel much better about it. The professor’s sentences on his slides are just so cryptic I feel like I’m spending the whole time trying to decode what he means. And in pathology, the book is so long winded it nearly puts me to sleep! Just make your point and move on…but it’s Robbins…a classic, so I can’t dis Robbins. The pathology gods would smite me. In FoM2 (Fundamentals of Medicine 2AKA The Class Where We Actually Touch Patients, the professor went over the entire year with us…maybe just to overwhelm us. But, it sounds fun, we’ll get to do H&Ps on each other (History and Physicals) and then we’ll do it on professional patient actors, and then onto real patients at the hospital! The part that’s freaking me out is that we’ll actually do GYN/prostate/testicular/pelvic/rectal/etc exams on…real live peopleNOT our classmates or anything, but that’s gonna be quite the experience. However, we’ll start with histories, looking in the eyes, nose, ears, throat, etc. Much more mild and less…invasive of people’s personal space. I kinda got sick at school today and threw up. No bueno, but I made it to the bathroom, so it was ok. Now I’m exhausted, but I have more of Robbins to read, so I’m gonna do that.

We Just Want Answers!

19 Dec

So, here’s the situation. My dad’s pathology report showed a 1.5 cm tumor on the left tonsil. That was removed. Great. Then, he saw an ENT that scoped him through the nose, and did an MRI with and without contrast last Sunday, and said that there’s another tumor (or piece of tumor) still in there that’s about 2.8 cm. The cancer that is still in there is also invading the base of his tongue. This all adds up to 4.3 cm. That being said, that means that he’s probably a stage III, not the stage I or II we originally thought.

Not the news we wanted, however, this is a treatable cancer, and there’s still hope. There’s always hope. Sometimes hope is all there is..

SOOO, this same ENT wanted to do a radical neck dissection surgery to remove lymph nodes from the left side, along with the remaining tumor, and she wanted to get “clear margins of about 5-6 mm.” If she couldn’t do that, she would still remove the tumor, but the surgery would be less extensive. If she got the margins she wanted, she said she wouldn’t see the need for him to have chemotherapy or radiation. This sounds good, because chemotherapy and radiation suck, but we would probably want him to at least do radiation anyways. However, if she couldn’t get the margins she wanted, he would definitely need radiation, and possibly need chemotherapy (They usually use carboplatin, cisplatin, 5-FU, paclitaxel, docetaxel, cetuximab, and/or something of the like for this type). They put in a PEG tube early, as the treatment can cause mucositis, which would render him unable to eat.

My mom called some radiation specialists at UF’s Shand’s Hospital, and they said that the protocol for this type of cancer is not the neck dissection surgery, it is radiation alone. Radiation alone has the same cure rate as the neck dissection surgery, and is less invasive. The type of radiation used here is the usual external beam IMRT type of radiation, and not proton therapy. He would probably get somewhere between 50 and 70 Gys, 1.8-2 Gys a day, 5 days a week, for about 7 weeks. My mom was hoping for the possibility of proton therapy (they currently tend to use electrons) because there’s a reduced risk for secondary malignancies as a long-term side effect from the treatment.

This being said, we’re all a little confused as to what to do next, and we just want some answers. Three different doctors have said 3 different things, and it’s a bit overwhelming. Right now, my dad is doing okay. He just tires very easily and is sleeping a lot. His MRIs so far haven’t shown nodes, but they have shown a tumor in his brain. It’s unknown whether it’s an incidental finding or whether it’s related to the tonsillar squamous cell carcinoma. It appears to be benign, as it hasn’t grown between the 2 times they did MRIs with and without contrast on his brain. He still hasn’t gotten his PET scan, because the inflammation from his surgery could show a false positive, so he’ll be getting that in a few weeks.

Once we figure out all of this madness, he should be starting a treatment plan in earnest…obviously. I just hope that happens soon!

My surgery was yesterday morning, so my mom has been here with me. It ran longer than expected due to some complications, and I’m in a surprising amount of pain. I didn’t expect to be in this much pain, honestly. My vitals, liver enzymes, blood calcium, kidney function tests, and CBC results are ALL really crappy, too.

My mom hasn’t been sleeping recently, so I asked if she was okay, and to really be honest with me. She, understandably, feels the need to hold it together for all of us, but that leaves her holding everything inside. So, I told her to just be honest and let it all out. She started to cry and told me she was distressed, so we just held each other for a while and had a crying session. She wants me and my dad to be with her forever. She’s also scared because my brother wants to go into the Marines and then become a police officer. She’s legitimately afraid that she will outlive all of us. This thought has occurred to me before, but I’ve tried not to let it linger. It just shook me when she actually expressed it. I asked if she had anyone to talk to that she could just be honest with, someone that could listen to her and she didn’t have to pretend that she was always okay, and she said that she did. I know she wouldn’t be this open with me on a regular basis, so I had to make sure she had someone to cry with if she needed to. I’m getting her a gift certificate for a massage for Christmas, don’t tell! We’re a mess.

There’s Always Hope!

4 Dec

So, My dad is doing better from his surgery! He’s off of the majority of his pain medications. He’s eating chicken breasts and crab legs. He just has to be sure to chew his food thoroughly before swallowing. This doesn’t surprise me, as this is the same man that ate Thanksgiving dinner the day after he had his wisdom teeth removed. He’s rock solid.

The official pathology report from his surgery was supposed to be back yesterday, which seemed a bit soon, seeing as his surgery ended Friday afternoon. It’s fine, though. I’m just anxious to know where he’s going from here. They said the report should be in between tomorrow and Friday. I’ll update as soon as I know.
He was talking to me about his fantasy football league. He’s bored from “taking it easy” so he’s going to run a few light errands today. This is all good!

Dum Spiro, Spero: While I Breathe, I Hope

30 Nov

Here’s hoping…

My mom texted me and said that my dad is out of surgery. The pathology report is back, and she wants to call me later and discuss it with me. I just want to know what it said. The fact that there’s anything to discuss, and that she won’t just tell me right now is making me a nervous wreck over here! Since I still don’t know anything, I’m still praying it’s nothing new or that it’s some kind of “Oh, that just happens when you get older” kind of thing.

So much for hoping

So about 30 minutes after I typed out the above paragraph,  my mom called. My dad has squamous cell carcinoma in his throat. They think it’s stage 2…but more information to come when he visits the oncologist and has his follow-up with the surgeon. REALLY not the news I wanted (obviously), but with a combination of chemotherapy and radiation (total suck), he should be okay. That’s what I was told. If you pray, please keep him in your prayers.

Please Pray for My Dad

22 Nov

So my parents and brother are visiting me for Thanksgiving. That’s great, because I miss them SO incredibly much. We’re all very close.

We were talking, and my mom says something along the lines of “Your dad’s surgery, blah blah blah…” Now, everyone has neglected to tell me anything about any surgery my dad is supposed to have! Apparently, they’ve been sitting on this information for like 2 months now. So, TODAY I find out that my dad is getting surgery on Friday the 30th because of what they believe to be a tumor on his left tonsil. It’s swollen 4x the size of his right one, and he’s been really tired recently. They’re concerned it may be either a lymphoma or a squamous cell carcinoma, but they won’t know until the surgery and they send it to pathology. Honestly, I’m hoping for C) None of the Above.

My mom continues talking, and says, “We’ll see if we can get the surgeons to do both surgeries at the same time” My reaction: “What is this BOTH you speak of?” To which my mom replies, “Oh, your dad didn’t tell you? He also has a tumor on his eye that they’re going to remove.” Of course he didn’t tell me! He never tells me when things are wrong with him. I really don’t know why, but he just doesn’t. These are things I’d really like to know. Regardless of how or when I found out, it still remains that my dad is getting surgery soon, so please keep him in your prayers.

Also, Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!