Large Lymph Node Found Near Aorta
2007 March 2 Friday
My self-appointed mission for today was to listen to my hematologist, Dr Gunma, and to see whether he used the plain forms of Japanese verbs or the polite forms when talking to me. Yesterday, when I was at Meijin Hospital having a whole-body CT scan, I noticed a couple of staffers using plain forms when talking to me, and I got to wondering whether this might be a hospital thing, something I hadn't picked up on until now.
But, face to face with Dr Gunma, I found it impossible to both analyze him and communicate with him at one and the same time. And he had some things to communicate with me.
Yesterday's blood tests checked out okay, but a couple of things were unusually low. One was cholesterol, and low cholesterol is not a problem. Another, however, was magnesium. He didn't explain what I should do about the low magnesium, but I've started wondering if perhaps eating more meat is the way to go.
Last year, he had a CT scan done of my brain, but yesterday's scan was the first whole-body CT scan he'd had done on me. He drew my attention to an enlarged lymph node near the aorta, in an area difficult to see.
I explained that this was not new news, and that the same big blobby lymph node had been found by a CT scan done at the Japanese hospital I used to go to, back in 2004. The specialist there had thought that it was "probably" benign, and had planned to check it one year out to make certain.
Exactly the same lymph node had been discovered by a CT scan done in 2005, and my main oncologist there had said that he intended to "treat it as a separate issue," ie that he did not see it as being part and parcel of my brain cancer.
Given that the lymph node has been there for at least three years, there doesn't seem to be any point worrying about it, but Dr Gunma indicated that my new doctor (Dr G is leaving, getting rotated somewhere, probably to a place in Saitama Prefecture) would probably take another look at the aorta issue in due course.
Today's MRI scan of the brain checked out okay, and my next appointment is now scheduled for the end of June, at which point I will have yet another MRI scan of the brain.
For today's MRI scan the hospital hit me up for less than seven thousand yen, ie less than US $58, which is less than NZ $87. Even granted that I'm only paying 30% of the true cost, thanks to the Japanese national health system, that struck me as really cheap, since the one and only MRI I paid for at a private enterprise clinic in New Zealand set me back over a thousand New Zealand dollars.
Just like yesterday, I had trouble getting to the hospital. Despite having been to the hospital station just yesterday, I got confused in the wilderness of the construction site that the station has become, and ended up getting totally lost.
Out in the streets, I became the pedestrian from hell, blundering in a haphazard fashion through an area where buses were marshaling.
By dint of bouncing off various citizens of Japan, some better informed than others, I finally got on the right track to Meijin Hospital. Fortunately, I'd left myself plenty of time.
After I had finished up at the MRI facility, I met up with my wife in the area which houses the counter that serves, amongst others, Dr Gunma's office.
When we went home together, on arrival at the station my wife immediately found, first, a convenient ramp which bypassed the treacherous steps which had almost lumberjacked me the previous day, and then an elevator which took us up to the level where we could buy train tickets.
I had planned to lie to my doctors if they had gone and asked me if I'd eaten anything, but I didn't have to lie because they didn't ask. As noted earlier, a scan of the brain does not require an empty stomach. I had actually skipped lunch, contenting myself with a breakfast, and then a supplementary jam sandwich about half an hour after breakfast.
The good point of getting checked out and getting cleared is that you feel in a position to push on with projects which will not necessarily be finished within the limitations of the present year, and I have a bunch of them.
Closing note: my spellchecker prefers "Satan" to "Saitama," but I overrule it.