No beating around the bush.
The report wasn’t on our GP’s computer, so he had to ring the Radiology Clinic while we sat in his office on the morning of 2nd September.
‘Most likely Diffuse Glioma, with five definite lesions, possibly a sixth. The two largest lesions are in the Brainstem, and another large one deep in the Temporal Lobe.’ There were kinder Differential Diagnoses, which were fairly decent options, but the Radiologist wasn’t convinced.
“I’m so sorry – which neurosurgeon do you want to go to?”
Our choice, Jeff, could see him tomorrow at 5:45pm. 30 hours away.
I drove us to Thomas’ parents’ home. What else could we do? No beating around the bush. Simply heartbreak. And they went to the stove, & cooked. Seeking solace in the familiar, while also nurturing. I loved them for that. I remember the smell of burnt garlic & rising voices, as I took Thomas’ phone from him, & rang the other Neurosurgeon that was both technically excellent, and a good friend. No way was I going to make us wait another day & a half, so I was going to call in every favour I could.
“No, Jay, it’s not Thomas, it’s Vivienne. Yes. No – things could be much better.. ”
Jay was in his Rooms, doing paperwork, so looked up his scans on his computer as we talked. “Hmmm… this doesn’t look like Glioma to me – there’s too many of them, not a single mass. Glioma doesn’t do these satellites. I think this is A.D.E.M. – a post viral MS-Like reaction, totally curable. Pretty rare. He needs a Neurologist, not a surgeon. But he needs to be in hospital, now, because he’s very sick – the lesions are extensive. Call the hospital, ask for this guy… Get an arranged admission through the Emergency Department. Now.”
I had to impersonate Thomas’ secretary making a professional call, in order to speak directly with the Neurologist. I apologised for my ruse, but filled him in, using Jay’s name & words repeatedly. He eventually understood, and told me to bring Thomas to the hospital immediately, & the Neurologist on for the day would see him in ED, ASAP.
As I bundled the love of my life into the car, I marveled at our luck. That was a big bloody bullet we just dodged. Fuck Cancer!
So, on our way to the hospital, we talked about how we would change our life, taking more time out for each other and the girls. And for life. I extracted these promises from my husband, and promised to help him keep them, as we drove into the abyss.