Wow, who would have guessed I have a diseased liver? One that has scar tissue and looks bad. So I’m back to the hospital to get a liver biopt.
I used to think that I was a blessing for the medical system since I was never sick. Well, I must have used up most of my contribution just with the visits of the past week. Am I glad we have such a reasonably health care system here. Everyone who pays their contribution (which is nearly everyone but there are always some people who cannot or will not participate) – which starts at 1000 a year but can be significantly more if you have a chronic illness – gets medical treatment. Lucky me. Anywhere else I would have a big problem.
Yesterday at noon our GP (general practitioner, huisarts) came by the house. She’s very involved and always available if you need her. Who’s GP drops by your home? She explained to us that the reason the biopsy results take time is that they need to develop a cell culture from the tissue. Also, there could be another explanation for the liver damage. We will have to wait till next week before any results are available. Once they are, she will get them as my GP and I can get them as well. This will be nice since I would very much like to see the facts. I still do not know the kind of tumor we’re dealing with. She also said she has many patients who are beyond a cure but can live rewarding lives for many years, thanks to much improved chemo therapy which can really slow down the cancer.
At one pm I reported to department D0 – outpatient care (dagbehandeling). The nurses said I was way too early (2 hours early) but I could sit in a room with magazines and I passed the time reading magazines I normally wouldn’t read, such as Jan (didn’t care for it much), Glamour (fashion seems very useless when you have cancer), and Gezondheidnu which was ok.
Just before 3 the nurse took my bloodpressure. At 3 pm the nurses came to take my bed on wheels to the radiology department. I walked behind it, which was funny. Once there, I had to wait a few minutes in the hallway. The male nurse who had helped me with the bonescan walked by, recognised me and wished me luck.
Once inside I had to take off my shirt and boots and lie down on the bed. The radiologist first did an echo, and then prepped the skin. He said the local anesthetic (verdoving) would hurt and it did. The nurse (Yvonne) sat by me and held my hand in case it hurt too much. But I managed ok. Then the histological biopsy was taken with a thick needle, same as the one used for the breast. He took two biopsies and then used a thin needle (I felt the needle in my liver, bit painful and strange) to extract additional cells. From my last biopsy I recalled that this allows them to look at cells directly under a microscope, thus giving a faster diagnosis. So I was glad for that. When he was finished they all said I was brave. But to me that’s normal, doesn’t seem very brave at all.
They are all very nice and very professional. The nurse went to get my shirt and handbag and helped me to put it on. It felt a bit bruised and a bit painful. Once my stuff was loaded onto the bed I was carted out of the room and placed in the hall. The nurse who had taken my bloodpressure came to get me and took me to a patient wing, to a room with 3 other patients. These patients all had visitors who were really loud, a cacophony of sounds. It annoyed me so much I asked for another room. It worked, I was taken to my own little room. I had hoped to get out of there by 5, but they said they’d keep me till 6. Every 15 minutes the blood pressure pump was activated which meant I couldn’t sleep. At 6 nurse Erik told me I had to stay another 2 hours and I couldn’t believe it. But that’s the protocol in case the liver starts bleeding. Fortunately, my mom and sister came at 6.30 pm at visitor hours. They brought me nice silk scarfs in teal and blue and soft orange for when I lose my hair and had all sorts of stories to make the time pass. At 7 I was carted back to the room I was before. This time the poor lady next to me was sick and throwing up. Boy, was I glad I could leave at 8. Some people aren’t so lucky.
Monday is my appointment with the oncologist who is supposed to be very good. Today and tomorrow I will try to do some work to get my mind off things.