Friday, September 2, 2016

I Really Don't Like Cauliflower

Some bad stuff today. First off, the Lanes & Games, "Greater Boston's premier bowling alley" will be closing soon and will be replaced by condos. I really like Lanes & Games. I mean, in all the years I have lived up the road from it, I have only gone a handful of times, and I'm a lousy bowler, but, still, it has always been a comfort to know that it was there. Alas.

Second, the microwave. It's a brand new Bosch under-the-counter microwave put in during our kitchen renovation earlier this year. I was heating some asparagus, and, all of the sudden, smoke started coming out of the top of the microwave. I took the asparagus out, but the microwave was still smoking. As I write, the repair guy is here and recommending we replace it. Luckily, it's under warranty, and the asparagus was unharmed. I like asparagus.

But, third, there's the cauliflower. I really don't like cauliflower.

Cauliflower Gone Bad

This morning, I had my appointment with the second Clivus Brother, the ENT surgeon, Dr. Otto La Ringologo. As usual, K was there to take notes and be logical and supportive. Shortly after we entered the exam room, La Ringologo came in. He looked bad. His eyes were tearing up, and he was sniffling a bit when he walked in. Allergies, I suppose.

He was kind, but blunt. That cauliflower thing is cancer, and it's a bad one. Squamous cell carcinoma, stage T4. That means it's invading the tissue nearby. Specifically, the last bit of bone between my throat and the lining of my brain. Apparently, this is not good news.

Dr. Otto La Ringologo does not think that removing any more tumor by surgery is a good idea. It lives in a crowded neighborhood. If anyone tries to scrape it, they might knick a carotid artery or create an unpatchable hole in the lining of my brain so that all the fluid leaks out and my brain dries up like a raisin.

What to Do, What to Do?

Thus begins, not a mere pimple-popping, but an old fashioned Tumoriffic quest. In a week and a half, I will get a PET scan to evaluate the extent of the tumor and look for mets. (That's short for metastases. I don't mean the baseball team.) Then, I will visit the oncologist. There are medical treatment options. Lately, there have been some exciting new brews. But, I suspect, more radiation is right out given that the inside of my head is already deep fried.

While he is not sure it is the best idea, Dr. La Ringologo also told us that the best endoscopic (minimally invasive) ENT surgical team is in Pittsburgh. They would probably operate if I really wanted them to, but he thinks it's probably not a great idea. He may well be right, but it's worth going down and talking to them.

Also, at some point, I will make my pilgrimage to New York.  Although the prospect of going at this any way but through my nostrils makes most surgeons quail, I would like to see if any members of my dream team of surgeons from 2005 have any ideas.

I'll keep everyone updated. This may be the most exciting Tumoriffic chapter yet.

And, so. . .

Chances are, I will never bowl at Lanes & Games ever again.

A PET Scan:


  1. Tom - we are rooting for you - love your humor - and expect to see you at the NYU med 15 year reunion - Gwen

  2. and I thought brocolli was bad

    1. I actually like broccoli, although I might feel differently if it were invading my skull.