Houston, We Have a Tumor!


“You have a nonspecific mass in your omentum,” Dr. Dillon says.

 

“I didn’t even know I had an omentum,” I reply.

 

“It’s a fatty covering in the abdomen.”

 

“How big is the mass?”

 

“About the size of a grapefruit. The nearby lymph nodes are also enlarged.”

 

My wife, Susan and I are sitting in the exam room as Dr. Larry Dillon gives the official, if “nonspecific” explanation of my CT scan. He has no idea how long the tumor has been growing but I got introduced to it only a few weeks ago. I was getting low grade cramps after sitting at my computer all day, which I put down to poor posture. Then I woke up two nights in a row with abdominal pain I couldn’t blame on posture or indigestion. That’s when I first felt the hardness in my gut.

 

The cramps went away about the time I made an appointment with the family physician but the lump was still there. I remember kneading my gut on the way to Dr Strode’s office trying to rekindle the pain that had caused me to make the appointment in the first place. Dr. Strode could feel the abnormality and wouldn’t buy my glib explanation that it was my abs of steel.

 

“It’s only hard on one side,” he pointed out.

 

“Okay,” I conceded, “How about ab of steel?”

 

He sent me to get a CT scan and called with the results on Monday the 16th. The mass was ominous enough to warrant an immediate trip to an oncologist/surgeon. He recommended Dr. Dillon, which is how we wound up here.

 

Dr. Dillon is a personable man about my age—mid fifties. He explains that the normal course of treatment is a complete surgical resection of the omenteum. I have no problem with the diagnosis—I can feel the tumor—the problem is no health insurance.

 

The next step is a biopsy of the mass. It will tell us if I can wait a few weeks before having surgery. Meanwhile, I can try to get on Susan’s insurance.

 

Before we leave, the doctor warns about doing research on the Internet because the information on solid omental tumors “will scare you silly.”

 

He’s right.

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