Dr Inscrutable has news – all of 2 lines. The liver isn’t affected so the recommendation is splenectomy, which may avoid chemotherapy at this stage. Wow. I’m torn between being delighted that the liver isn’t affected (the initial report said it was) and stunned that there could be such a huge difference in the reading of the scans. “We don’t want to be rude but who do we believe? The first radiologist or the Lymphoma Board?” Dr Inscrutable looks decidedly inscrutable. “They are the experts. We listen to them.”
I’m still trying to process the news, conscious that Husband hasn’t yet. I don’t want to give him false hope but have to dare to ask the question: “Is this good news?” (I’m very much assuming from my reading that it is). Dr Inscrutable looks surprised at the question but concurs without hesitation. That has to be good.
Husband seems rather in shock. He’s not sure about having such a big operation and is rather fazed by the complete change of tack in approach to treatment. I am less confused, having read quite a bit about splenectomy when I thought with considerable frustration and pain that I wished it were an option for him. If the cancer isn’t in the liver it is an option. I have perhaps read too much because I’m painfully aware that the success of splenectomy is in part dependent on the extent of involvement in blood and bone marrow and we just don’t have that data.
I ask Dr Inscrutable to get the ball rolling for the splenectomy, knowing that Husband will have time to contemplate it but feeling that we need to get things moving. Husband looks a bit like I’ve betrayed him into the hands of a maniac surgeon, a “Why are you so in favour of this?” look on his face. I tell him, “I’ve read the journals, I can see exactly where they’re coming from. It makes sense. You can always decide not to have the op but for now this is a good thing.” He nods, unconvinced but prepared to think about it.