Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I have a dream.

We were shocked to hear the news this morning.

Eve's DMSA renal scan showed that her right kidney is putting up a hell of a fight. While most (or if we're being honest, EVERYONE) thought that the right kidney would have next to no function, it seems that it is carrying 44% of the workload, while the left has 56%. Not too shabby.

The rest of the report reads as follows:
"There is mildly heterogeneous distribution of radiotracer in the bilateral kidneys. There are no major focal photopenic areas noted in the left kidney. The right kidney demonstrates a prominient photopenic defect from the mid aspect of the kidney to the superior pole. An exophytic appearing curvilinear band of tracer activity is noted medially adjacent to the photopenic defect in the superior pole, likely representing some renal parenchyma at the periphery of the known Wilms tumor. In addition, there is a somewhat prominent photopenic defect also noted within the lateral aspect of the interpolar region of the right kidney."

Yeah, I had to look a lot of those words up, too. I *think* this means that the grey stuff we saw in the scan was nonfunctioning, tumorous kidney cells, in the top half of the right kidney. But I'm no radiologist. Just an overtired parent who is trying hard not to unleash her fury on the Sears repairman, should he choose to show up.

It is now 9:27 p.m. We called Sears on Sunday the 10th to schedule an appointment for our leaky washing machine and the first one they had available was today, sometime between 1 and 5 p.m. So, perhaps naively, I waited here from 1 to 5. At 5:15, I called Sears back to ask where my repairman was. I'm sorry you are going through this, Ms. Griffith. Incorrect. You are not sorry and we both know it. It's not our fault; the customer ahead of you had a problem that is taking a lot longer than expected. It is absolutely your fault. Stop giving me this crap. It's [un]common courtesy to give someone a phone call if you can't make your FOUR HOUR WINDOW. He should arrive a litle bit after 6. So you're telling me I stayed inside on this beautiful afternoon waiting for you guys to not show up and now I need to cancel my plans this evening to wait some more? I'm sorry for this inconvenience, ma'am. Stop saying you're sorry! Sorry doesn't do anything. This inconvenience better be reflected in our bill. Umm...I will have the repairman call you.

I know when someone is just trying to get me off the phone.

7:45 rolls around. I asked Matt to call Sears back and see what's going on. We are still on the list to get our machine serviced, but have not heard from the repairman. Matt asks Sears to cancel the appointment and reschedule for tomorrow morning. I am a bit disappointed I won't be here to give my lecture on respecting people's time, but I will be sure to give my mother-in-law instructions to use her cable-television voice. And if anyone has heard my mother-in-law threaten the poor soul on the other end of the Time Warner line if they dare to transfer her one more time or try to sell her any more crap she doesn't want, then you would be shaking in your Uggs just a bit, too.

The man on the line with Sears again apologizes for Matt's circumstances. He says the repairman will call tonight about the appointment for tomorrow. I am not dumb enough to be waiting for this call. Instead, I am channeling all my negative energy into figuring out what the word photopenic means. I am under the illusion that since the answer is not on the first page of Google when I type in "What is photopenic defect?", it must be something of a secret password that is reserved only for radiologists or perhaps freemasons, and now I really need to know. (No dice at the time of posting, though.)

I had the bright idea this morning to take Daniel with us to chemo, because there was no school today. Eve couldn't go to the clinic yesterday since they were closed for MLK day. Because maybe he had a dream that kids with cancer just wanted a day off.

We arrived, and Daniel thought he was in the world's biggest playroom. He would have happily yanked toys from pale, bald kids left and right if there weren't two of us on duty to make sure he didn't get overzealous. It was quite a busy day, and we spent a good portion of the morning in the waiting room. This was clearly Dan's favorite spot. The exam rooms have no toys.

While Nat was very interested in Eve's port access and helped to push in some of the saline and heparin flushes when we brought her with us on Christmas Eve, Dan could care less.

Matt to Daniel: Daniel, look! The nurse is going to give Eve her medicine!
Daniel to Nurse: You're in my way. I can't see Max and Ruby.

Oh well. We tried.

12 down, 0 to go. The waiting game begins.

I think I might have set myself up for this. The first six weeks of chemo flew by. The second six weeks have dragged. I predicted as such the night in December we got the phone call that Eve would need more chemo before surgery. And I know all clocks in Duke will slow tomorrow morning because Eve will be...

Wait for it...


We will get to the hem-onc clinic at 9:00 to have Eve's port accessed. Then we supposedly will have an MRI at 10:00 and a CT at noon. But my watch hasn't figured out Duke time yet, so we will see how long before Downstairs Eve re-emerges.

The Sears man better pray he doesn't run into me tomorrow.


  1. From my limited radiography knowledge:
    Photopenic means "lacking photons" or IOW no radiotracer was detected. Usually cells that aren't living don't take up tracer, so they are photopenic areas on a scan (lots of people call them 'cold' spots since radioactive tracer is usually called 'hot') You are thinking about it correctly.

    Great news about the high percentage of function in Eve's right kidney! That is fantastic.

  2. Thank you. That makes a lot of sense.

    The last time I heard the words "hot spots" was October 17, 2007. I was in labor with Eve.

  3. That paragraph sounded like another language to me. I can't imagine having to decipher that. That is wonderful news about her kidney function! I am so happy to hear that. Hope today goes ok.

    And you are right, that Sears man better pray he doesn't run into you today. :-)

  4. Good luck with everything at Duke in the morning (I reckon it is the morning).
    Maybe if you find the Sears man you can Sic Downstairs Eve on him? That will teach him a lesson he will never forget. Between your Mother-in-law and a very cranky NPO child, that man will be sorry he crossed you. (Think about it and I dare you not to grin).

  5. I am so sorrrrrrrrry you are having trouble with your repair man. Is their call center in India, cause that's a whole nother issue. Hope you get some vitamin D today-sunshine calling :)

  6. Love you all and thank you for the updates on Eve.

    Miss Weezie

  7. Is it ok if I hope a little that you bring downstairs eve home to the sears repairman? I mean come on, that would be a little fun.

  8. To Christy Griffith,
    My name is Brian and I’m part of the Sears Cares Escalations team. I don’t even know where to start with this. I know you have been apologized to a lot and nothing’s been accomplished. I do want to apologize for everything that’s happened, but I also want to extend an offer of assistance in handling the situation regarding your leaking washing machine. My team handles escalated issues of this nature and ensures that they get resolved once and for all and we’d like to help. At your convenience, please contact my office via email at searscares@searshc.com so you don’t have to continue to be frustrated. In the email, please provide a contact phone number and the phone number the washer was purchased under (if different than the contact phone number) and we will call you directly. Also, in your email, please provide the screen name (Christy Griffith) used to post here for reference to your issue, and we do look forward to talking to you soon.

    Thank you,
    Brian J.
    Senior Case Manager
    Sears Cares

    P.S. I hope everything is ok with Eve and her unfortunate situation. Our prayers are with you and your family.

  9. I think you've already found out that photopenic defects are spot where the DMSA/radionuclide tracer doesn't pick up in the kidney. Meaning, there is no function in these spots, either from scarring or other damage that has damaged the kidney's ability to function in this place. Hang in, many are praying for all of you.. I'm pretty sure the toomah board members put on their pants 1 leg at a time (wink) and they probably talk about dogs, kids, homework and all the normal stuff.. just probably not when they are all gathered together in toomah board geekdom..