Tuesday, August 7, 2012

My Mistake

For those of you still in the dark....

Caleb had the cystoscopy (scoping of the bladder) done almost a week and a half ago to see if they could find a reason for the blood in his urine.

And what they saw was an irritated bladder, most likely a result of the (hateful but necessary) radiation he received in 2008. They did not see anything that needed biopsied, and this was very good news.

What leaves me hanging is the question of whether or not I asked all of the right questions and whether I can be satisfied with the answers I've been given. You know I did that when Caleb was four years old and he was peeing blood. The doctor said it was a "virus" and that there was no need to pursue any other cause. He was confident. He had been Caleb's pediatrician since birth. I remember he waltzed into my room at the hospital, strode over to baby Caleb who was bundled up in the bassinet and asked me how "she" was doing. Maybe that should have been my first clue.....

I took his word for it in 2008. That the toilet bowl full of blood was caused by a seldom seen virus. The fever and elevated blood pressure were no cause for alarm. I was relieved.  And that was my mistake.

Four months later Caleb was diagnosed with stage three kidney cancer.

So here I am again in the same situation.

This time Caleb's insides have been scrutinized. An ultrasound, CT, urinalysis,  blood work, scope of the  bladder....did we miss anything? One more question I should have asked? And was the urologist having a good day when he threaded that line into Caleb's bladder and peered at the screen? Was he in a rush? (He was two hours behind schedule when he took Caleb back to the operating room).

With an enemy like cancer, more time means more power. You can't wait around and hope that it goes away.

I also cannot live life seeing cancer behind every cough, moan and complaint that Caleb presents to me.

This is asking a lot, you do realize. I need to be alert. I am the only neurotic mother he's got. 

When they brought Caleb into recovery after the scoping procedure, the nurse assigned to monitor his vitals stood beside me as I waited for him to wake up. She was silent for a few minutes and then she asked me, in a quiet almost reverent voice, "How did you find the cancer when he was four? What clued you in that something was wrong?"

People ask me this all the time. And I always have to tell them that I missed it.


I made a huge mistake in not asking more questions. And it could have very well cost Caleb his life.

So yes, the conclusion from all of the combined investigations concerning Caleb's bloody pee (I love saying that...makes me feel like I am an angry British person) is that everything looks fine(ish) and that for now we will just keep an eye on things (for the rest of his life).

Our lives are back to normal now......which is the new normal that took root after our original normal was  replaced by a way of living that will never be quite normal. We are used to it now and can hardly remember how normal of a family we used to be.