*I am continuing on with my series of the 30th anniversary of my diagnosis of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
How the Hell did I go from having a cold, to getting hurt while exercising, to having cancer? Who did this quack think he is? He never even shook my hand, let alone examine me. And he is telling me that I have cancer? By just looking at me?
I went home that night to my fiance. She was only aware that I had a doctor appointment for my shoulder. And that was all she was going to know. This appointment was nothing but bullshit. I was not going to mention anything to her about the appointment, only that it was going to take time for my shoulder to heal.
The next day at work, my phone rang. It was the doctor that had referred me to “The Fly” (as this doctor would forever be known to me now). He wanted to set up a biopsy for the lump in my neck. I flipped out. I told him:
Me: How dare you? Who the Hell do you think you are to send me to a cancer doctor? I have a fucking shoulder injury you asshole!!! How many times do I have to tell you?!?
I must admit, this doctor had a lot of patience taking the verbal assault that he had, and did not need to. Looking back, clearly he cared enough to fight for me, facing a curable cancer, if it could just be dealt with.
The doctor had arranged a second opinion with another doctor, not associated with “hematology”. And the opinion came back the same, get the lump biopsied. But to me, that was not good enough. In my mind, I was not juggling denial over the obvious. Not that it was all my fault, or perhaps it was. All someone had to do was tell me, there was no injury to my shoulder and I would have no choice but to deal with this other issue. Until that happened, I was going to fight for the diagnosis that I believed was the problem, and injury… not cancer.
Persistence versus stubbornness. Which was going to win?
It took four more 2nd opinions before this doctor realized the only way to convince me I had a much more serious issue at hand.
He made an appointment at a sports medicine facility where I would finally have my shoulder looked at. A scan and an x-ray would be done, and you guessed it, no injury. Even now, I was still in denial, though no longer because I thought I had an injury, but I did not want the other doctors, all seven of them, to be right, that I had cancer. But as the doctor at this facility put it,
Doctor: Mr. Edelman, there is no damage to your shoulder. You should definitely get that lump biopsied though. You already know the worst case, but best case, you can confirm that the lump is nothing. But there is only one way to do that.
Hodgkin’s Lymphoma has a high cure rate for several reasons. But one of the main ones, is timeliness. Dealing with it as soon as possible is a major factor. Who knows how long this lump was swollen? But I do know that I spent two weeks on a medicine for it, and had no just wasted over two weeks in major denial. So it should not have come as a surprise, that the doctor I was originally dealing with for my “injury”, had already scheduled me for a biopsy the next day, the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, because he did not want me going through the weekend wasting any more time.