Adventures with my spleen

Have you noticed I’ve been evasive about my recent hospital stay? I’d promised not to inundate you with medical information in what was supposed to be my healthy month of December. The sickness was going to take a breather, for everyone’s sake, remember? But you might as well know what’s going on since some of you have been asking: my spleen’s been misbehaving.

A few weeks back, I developed some pain, which I ignored effectively for a few days. But when the pain started taking over, I decided it was time to see a doctor. My doctor sent me on to the Emergency Room “just to get it checked out.” In no time, my massive spleen was waving to the CAT scanner.

Turns out my ginormous spleen was taking over my tiny abdominal cavity–“tiny” is the doctor’s word, not mine, but I like it so I’m repeating it–pushing my other organs out of the way. And my belly hurt, a lot, but only if I moved. So long as I didn’t sit down or stand up or lay down or walk or twist or breathe or yawn or cough, I was pain free. But staying still was not a good long-term solution for a gal like me. I may not be a shaker, but I am a mover.

What to do, what to do? Surgeons were called in to decide whether to rid me of my unwieldy organ, but nobody liked that option. The surgery would be complicated and dangerous and removing my spleen would only add stress to my underfunctioning liver. Most adults can live without a spleen, but I’m not “most adults”.

Then doctors considered killing off just a part of my spleen by cutting off some of its blood supply. Sounded reasonable to me, but this procedure would be quite invasive and has its risks.

Then, my fantastic medical team arrived at a third option: radiation. I think of radiation as a means of shrinking tumours, but in my case, the radiation would be shrinking my spleen. Everyone agreed this would be minimally invasive and thus the least risky alternative. Ultimately, radiation might bring an end to what I’d accepted was my interminable pregnancy. Wow! I couldn’t ask for better timing since high-waisted pants are back in.

A few days ago, I got word of an appointment early in the New Year with the radiation oncologist who is considering zapping me. When I called back to confirm my attendance, I said I was grateful for the appointment. The receptionist paused, then responded: “In all these years, no one has ever thanked me for an appointment with this office.” I guess there’s a first for everything.

Sure, I may not be keen on radiation, but if it will reduce my pain, decrease my waist circumference and allow me to keep my spleen, I’m on board. I’ll let you know whether it’s a go.

I’d love to tell you how J. feels about the plan but she’s not available right now. She’s out buying new sunglasses in case I start to glow. Maybe if she’d just asked Santa, she could have avoided the holiday crowds.

Woman in striped shirt wearing huge red heart-shaped sunglasses.

Do you think she’d look good in these?


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