A Tale of Two Cancers

Yesterday began with bad news and ended with good, and left me pondering the randomness of life.

Yesterday morning came a message that a high school classmate had lost his battle with cancer. Yesterday evening came a social media post that a friend had beaten her cancer to the point that she needs little further treatment.

I feel a bit like Scrooge, pondering a Christmas yet to come that mixes great sorrow with great joy. How capricious life can be! Is it any wonder it may seem meaningless at times?

(Image: “Fuck Cancer,” by Myriam von M, on Wikimedia Commons.)

We, and those we love, and those we don’t even know, are afflicted with pains and sufferings and difficulties too numerous to count–TNTC, a phrase doctors applied to the tumors filling my spleen back in the mid-1990s (tumors which thankfully turned out to be benign)–and it is impossible to know who will be next, and when, and where. Yet, we have it within ourselves to make meaning out of even the worst things, if we can find the wisdom and the courage and the strength to do it.

At this moment, however, I am at a loss. I must say goodbye to one friend, while I wait to see another and greet her with a congratulatory hug. And it all seems so terribly arbitrary.

So fare thee well, my friends, whatever trials you face. May the meaning you find in them, or the meaning you make out of them, light the world a little more.

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Guess It's All in My Head …

The doctor called this afternoon, and the results of my MRI are in: as suspected, the problem in my head appears to be just in my head, not in my head.

Got all that? 😀

For those who want more detail: the MRI looked normal, meaning there’s no obvious physical reason why I have nearly continuous pressure on one side of my head. No tumors, no infections, no bats — although they sleep in the daytime, so they might not show up on the machine. That means we’ve ruled out the ear canal, the middle ear, and the inner ear, leaving only … we don’t know. So, it appears the problem may be all in my head.

Which is better, in many ways, than the problem being in my head. Wouldn’t want that.

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Yesterday I had the protons in my brain aligned with an extremely strong magnetic field — alas, it did not make me smarter or give me super powers — while radio waves excited the protons and pushed them out of alignment. As they snapped back into alignment, they produced tiny magnetic fields of their own that the imager picked up. Today I await the results.

My friend Oliver could explain all this much better, but as with almost everything else there is a Wikipedia page about it.

I got a little anxious when the tray I was lying on slid into the machine: my arms touched the sides and reminded me how small the space was. And the thing kept moving! I told the technician that since they were looking inside my head I didn’t expect they’d push me so far into the beastly thing. (I don’t remember being so encapsulated when my shoulder was scanned, but that was many years ago.)

I almost fell asleep while they were scanning me. Had the vibrations and noise been a little more consistent, I probably would have — especially since some of the vibrations were quite rhythmic. But the part where the whole tray started shaking was a little unnerving.

I hope they got good pictures of the bats in my belfry. And I hope all that unaligning and realigning didn’t make me more stupider. :p

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