Friday, March 30, 2007

To study the self is to forget the self ...

I had a candid chat Thursday with one of my endocrinologists.
I told her that I had a frank, honest question that demanded a reply in kind, and that I would settle for nothing less.
I asked her if she and her colleague thought my health was taking a turn for the worse. My doctors' recent decision to advise me to undergo a monthly intravenous infusion of the calcium-lowering drug Zometa prompted this question. Usually, it's given just once a year for symptoms of osteoporosis. Once a month carries certain implications.
In a bit of hyperbole, she said she and her colleagues were surprised that I still had any bone left in my forearms and pelvis from which to draw the calcium that teems through my blood.
My calcium has already risen between the time of the first infusion about three weeks ago and now.
She explained that a monthly treatment would keep my calcium level fairly steady -- abnormally high, but steady -- at least for now. She reminded me that the tumors associated with parathyroid cancer aren't what kill, but rather the high level of calcium in the blood they create and the calcium's effects on organ systems.

Today I have a CT scan scheduled for the evening. It had been postponed the past two weeks, mainly over confusion and miscommunication about paperwork. In any event, this is a critical juncture because the scan will reveal whether surgery is advisable or even possible (last year, I was told that it was neither). If it can't be done, then Zometa and, possibly, an immune therapy being developed in England are my primary options. Thing is, my doctors have been talking about this therapy for two years but I have yet to learn its details, much less undergo it. I'm looking at time a little differently than they are.

So that the day won't be a total loss, I would like to do some photography in Manhattan for a few hours before the scan. And then, whatever is meant to happen will.

9 comments:

Jean said...

Thinking of you today. Your title is... wonderful

YourFireAnt said...

I'm thinking of you today. And grateful for your existence.

FA

Tom said...

Your mind is timeless and brilliant, Michael.

Michael said...

Thanks, guys. Truly, thank you. This will be a difficult day, but your thoughts lend lots of comfort.

The title of my post, by the way, is part of a quote from Dogen Zenji (alas, not one of my own):

"To study the Buddha Way is to study the self, to study the self is to forget the self, and to forget the self is to be enlightened by the ten thousand things. To be enlightened by the ten thousand things is to recognize the unity of the self and the ten thousand things."

nina said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Kitty said...

*hug*

Michael said...

:)

Brotha Buck said...

Wow. I hope everything is ok. Been there.

Michael said...

Thanks, Buck. Your wonderful artwork is powerful medicine because of the laughter it invokes.