Adventures in pathology

The heavyweight match-up: Science versus the jellyfish-esque material pulled from my abdomen

Round 1 winner: Alexian Brothers pathology and their network counterparts deem substance is a form of Ewing’s sarcoma, but affecting my connective tissues, not bones

Round 2 winner: Pathologists at Johns Hopkins see elevated levels of estrogen and progesterone markers and rule endometrial sarcoma

Conflict: Surgeons who worked on me first hand really feel like nothing was attached to any of my organs; endometrial sarcoma would likely attach to my uterus, and my doctors wonder if Johns Hopkins is over-relying on the estrogen and progesterone factor.

Analysis: This is…news. It’s not good or bad. Actually, it’s hardly news; it’s a step in an ongoing process. On one hand (the inner 11 year old), it find it oddly baffling and kick-ass that my body is owning science right now. On the other hand (the one who’s a grown up now, really, I swear), I’d love to find out how my body’s misbehavin’ so we can do some RTI and differentiation on it (teacher humor) to discover why. However, I am extremely thankful for a smart, thorough, and persistent pathologist at Alexian Brothers who will accept nothing less than 100% certainty. This pathologist is working with my doctors and my insurance to get a third opinion from a sarcoma expert and pathologist at the University of Chicago. I don’t know who you are, but thank you. A step by step process is okay with me. I’d rather doctors have intimate knowledge of me, my body, and my disease than jump quickly on assumptions and then administer treatments. It’s how I feel about teaching, too; give me a school year’s worth of writing, discussions, reading, and personal interactions to get to know a kid over a standardized test any day!

Healing from surgery is progressing nicely and afforded me the opportunity to visit my Fremd family during my favorite part of the school year, Writers Week. It was an honor and privilege to have face-to-face time with those who pursue the craft I so admire: poets, authors, courageous students, and insightful and introspective colleagues. I got to be a part of honoring a man who I admire for many, many reasons, general personhood and writing talent being among them. An outstanding and tiring day that warranted an afternoon nap. And yet I spent all those years never being a napper. Feeling stronger every day, thanks to lots of great care and all the thoughtful message and calls from people like you. I’m feeling the love. It’s pretty awesome.

To quote the great Jason Hogrefe, colleague, friend, blogging encourager, and reigning heavyweight champ of cancer-asskicking, “Cancer sucks ball!”



2 thoughts on “Adventures in pathology

  1. Keep writing your way through this, Jaclyn! You can be the one on stage next year educating kids on how cancer sucks ball, or uterus, or whatever kind of cancer (whose ass you are going to royally kick) it is. Keep up the naps. They make a soon-to-be heavyweight (or really, lightweight in your case, but let’s add more heft to the strength, shall we?) champ strong.

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