Archive | April, 2014

All’s Well….Or So I’ve Been Told

3 Apr


Erik Hat


The other day I returned to my Alma Mater, Cal State Northridge.  No big surprise there, really.  Unlike Donald Fagen, I am always going back to my old school (If you do not get the reference, click on this link. Not only is it a bitchin’ tune, but it has one of the finest guitar solos in the history of American popular music).  I am frequently at CSUN and UCLA trying to recruit students for internships, teaching the occasional class, or to discuss the work of public historians.  All in all I had a good time.  I ran into a former student and I seem to have made her feel better about the length of her MA program.  I saw some former professors and other longtime friends.  Good times.

After a few discussions with friends and colleagues, a pattern began to emerge.   We would briefly exchange pleasantries and then their expression would change.  They would look at me earnestly and ask, “How are you?” clearly referring to my health odyssey and, by connection, my blog.  I soon realized that if one follows this blog, I have kind of left my health status in limbo, which, in truth, is one of the points of this blog in the first place.  Still, quite recently there was a good development in my story and I haven’t reported it here.  I think I avoided doing so because I am trying not to get too high or too low about any one piece of news.  That way lies madness, my friends.  On the other hand, the news was pretty good, so I should probably share it here.

Earlier this week I spoke to my oncologists’ office.  I had been meaning to call them (there are two in the practice that I consider my go to folks) for over a week, but the truth is I just wanted a little break from talking to doctors.  At any rate, I called first thing on Monday morning and heard back from the head of the practice the next day.  I told him I wanted to talk about the findings of the tumor board, who claimed that the initial procedures used to biopsy my tumor were insufficient and that I needed to have a larger sample taken to determine the true nature of my tumor, or have the whole thing removed.  He told me that he had, in fact, gone back to my file and seen that the board was misinformed.  The technique used to acquire my tissue did not use small needles, but instead I had had a core biopsy (which provides a much larger sample).  I had told my surgeon that the samples were obtained through a needle biopsy.  I was wrong. 

“Your tumor is absolutely benign,” he said.  “We have lots of tissue.  Sure, if the tumor grows it will have to be removed, but that’s because you only have so much room in your chest.  You do not have cancer,” he insisted.

I must admit, that when I heard this news I got a little giddy.  It felt good to hear a doctor say something so positive and definitive to me.  The truth is, though, that I have dedicated too much of my psychic energy to the latest news from doctors.  The good news has raised my spirits too high, and the bad news brought them down too low.  And so, while I did call my wife, daughter, and mother to tell them the good news, I have been a little quieter with the rest of my circle, until today, that is.  Good news, friends.  The scanning continues, but my issues are structural, not pathological.  I hope that your days are filled with good news, as well.

As always, stay tuned.