I have been writing non-fiction stories for many years, primarily United States history. Over and over again, I have found how a story unfolds to be far more interesting, compelling, and even surprising than anything I could possibly make up. And with that as an introduction, here is the story for today.
November 15, Tuesday: Laura and I went to the University of Iowa Health Center (UIHC) for the second attempt to get a second opinion regarding my ongoing cancer care. This was also a follow-up to my recent hospitalization and surgery. The sutures were removed without incident, and the doctor said everything looked good. I then met with the surgeon who would be taking over my care as time moved on. After the appropriate exam, she gave her recommendation that I should return to Peoria for the surgery to remove the not-clear margins, scheduled for November 21. She gave two reasons: 1. the surgery was already scheduled, would be very soon, and should not be delayed (the UIHC surgery schedule was already “backed up”) 2. the surgeon who performed the first surgery was already familiar with my case and knew exactly which areas of the tongue had already been removed. There would be no guesswork where the questionable margins were, therefore, less additional tongue would have to be removed. After the second surgery and one-week post-op follow up, all of my continuing care would then be moved to UIHC. A two month follow-up at UIHC was scheduled.
Given the surgical complications (see posts Advocates and Plot Twist) I was not thrilled with the idea of returning to Peoria, but we all agreed that this was the best plan of action. I had a very rough afternoon and evening dealing with the flood of emotions of going back to Peoria, and having any additional surgery which, I had already been clearly informed, would result in more loss of function.
But it still all seems fairly straightforward, doesn’t it?
November 16, Wednesday: First thing in the morning, I called the Peoria office to let them know I have been cleared for next Monday’s surgery. We are good to go.
Nope. Not just yet, buckaroo. The cancer coordinator said she was really glad I called, and was happy to hear my news, but she was just getting ready to call me. The Peoria surgeon had some sort of medical emergency/accident and would not be available for Monday’s surgery. She would call me back later when she knew more details. Just a couple hours later, the Peoria office called again to confirm that while the surgeon there would be seeing patients in his office “soon,” he would not be performing surgeries for several weeks. Therefore, my surgery would not be happening in Peoria that I should continue my care at UIHC. Peoria would support UIHC in any way needed.
<sigh> I didn’t see that one coming. Did you?
I quickly called the UIHC office and explained the turn of events. I was told a message would be sent to the surgical team there, and someone would get back to me.
I admit there is a part of me that is relieved to not going back to Peoria. But those very important reasons for having the surgery in Peoria still exist.
I am anxious to have those cancer margins removed. I’ve already been waiting about 5 weeks. But now I have to wait some more. Again.