Day 87: In which Dr. Raker sums up Roo's new medical issue in one question


My lifelong friend, Dr. Raker, summed up what happened today to Roo by saying, “Who gets two cancers?”

Jim’s and Virginia’s son Henry later answered the question: ” Roo.”

Because it appears that Roo might have a second, and completely unrelated cancer. The lump I found in her arm and which I thought might be a symptom of her lymphoma, was examined today by Dr. Mason. After aspirating the lump by placing a needle into it and drawing a tiny bit out, she went off to put it under the microscope while Roo and I waited in the examining room.

When Dr. Mason came back she had an assortment of treats for Roo and buttered her up for a minute until I said, “Doc, you’re killing me here.”

“Well, I’ve got to talk to her first, don’t I?” she said, and she was right. But the tension was in fact killing me and as much of a novelty a human death in a veterinary hospital might be, it would have been the last thing Roo needed.

I appreciate the way Dr. Mason played the tentative diagnosis down. She said that pending confirmation from the pathology lab, she was pretty sure this was a nerve shield tumor. She placed the accent on the upside of this type of tumor. On the low likelihood of their metastasizing and the way they tend to appear singly. It was kind of her. It protected Roo from my getting upset, which I work hard – and don’t kid yourself, it’s hard as hell – not to do.

Back at the camper I began the inevitable online research. What I learned was that a nerve shield tumor comes in two basic varieties, a cancerous form that is malignant and a non-cancerous one.

I’m too tired and wound up to write more now about the way this alters the decision tree as it branches out from this moment, but I will. For now I’m going to hang out with the Kahoo, who made it out for a slow walk that she enjoyed – I took that selfie when she lay down to rest on the grass for a few minutes – but is now not feeling too well.