So, it turns out that I am not above fear after all.

In any event, I hope you will find this little story amusing. I’ve become so blasé about my pituitary adenoma that I went to Wednesday’s doctor’s appointment to get a hormone injection and a few refills and completely forgot about the main event.

I had an MRI on Saturday, and I was actually driving away when I remembered that I hadn’t asked for the results. I trundled back in.

Ever the observant chap, I should have realized that something was amiss when the receptionist asked me to wait for the doctor. I assured her that I would be fine. Just five months ago I had an MRI that showed a stable tumor. How bad could it be?

She handed the sheet through the little round window. So I read a few lines, and my heart really did lodge in my throat. Nevertheless, I gave the receptionist a big smile, thanked her, and turned around and said “Fuck!”

And then I walked three meters and said “fuck” again. Emphatically. Then one more time for good measure.

Now my doctor’s office is located in a retirement home. In fact, the practice is called Geriatrics in Motion — a phrase Kristina exclaims with delight at every opportunity — and the room is usually filled with slow-moving seniors. And because of that strange surge of adrenalin which narrowed my focus to a small tunnel directly in front of me, I have no idea if my heartfelt expletives titillated the village bridge club.

I never mean to be a drama queen. The simple fact is that my tumor has grown as much in the last five months as it had in the previous 10 years. So much for the experimental drug trial.

I guess I made a mistake a year ago. I should have insisted on immediate surgery.

Back in the car, I read the radiologist’s report. Then I read it again. Then I stopped at a coffee shop and thought about it. My first reaction was on the money. Wall-E, the rare little endocrine tumor, has grown more than 25 percent since August. On the bad side of the slate, it continues to push into my left sinus (where I can feel it keenly) and has made its first foray into my right sinus, and it’s wider, longer, and deeper. On the positive side, it remains clear of my carotid artery, and I show no sign of hemorrhaging* internally. As I had mentioned previously; the cute little bugger behaving atypically. If it has acted as most do, I would be blind.

But I can still see, and so I count my blessings. I have no reason to complain, nor any reason to think that much has changed. I’m still strong, I’m mostly fearless, and I was always destined to have surgery this year anyway.

I have my an appointment with the endocrinology department next week, and then I’ll have a clear idea of my path, but it will wind up in neurosurgery much sooner than expected.

But, obladi. It’s not like I wasn’t expecting this. To the extent that I’m hurting, it’s for my sister. Comparatively, my ordeal is a walk in the park.


* Hardest word to spell in the English language?

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11 Responses to Acceleration

  1. Maria Johan says:

    Thinking of you, Richard!! Peace!

  2. Fuck. I don’t have any words of wisdom. Hang in there.

    I would like to say that Geriatrics in Motion is an awesome retirement community name. Here they just name them boring things like Oak Knoll or Seagull Glen or whatever.

  3. Hehe, sometimes, F*** is an appropriate response. You’re in my thoughts and prayers.

  4. Psychosomatics. Tumors that grow on you are trying to build upon some exxagerated self or other minimization. Blindness, specific to this condition, is a reflection of an inability to see the upsides to an exxagerated crisis or the downsides to an exxagerated blessing.

    Identify who, what, or when that feeling of ‘fuck’ is representing. (Possibility: What happened 10 or 11 years ago where you said the same thing?) Clear your emotions about whatever that thing is, and you’ll be fine.

  5. Bon says:

    i don’t think you know me…though i think you’re a friend of my friend Kate’s.

    i clicked over this weekend for the first time, and here i am, sitting quietly in the midst of your storm. fuck indeed.

    your words about your sister left my eyes stinging…i wish i could simply wish you both well. i mean, i do, but i’ve noticed my wishes are not always horses. still. maybe. may you both ride, together. i’ve not read many tributes more heartfelt.

  6. ja says:

    Richard, I am really sorry about the tumor growth. I think, if any elderly people heard you and knew what you were referring to, they would have reached out and touched your arm and said a kind word. And maybe smiled and said an expletive of their own, in solidarity.

    You have more on your plate than anyone ought to, and I hope you will let your friends know if there is anything they can do to help. Everyone who matters has your back. F&^% the rest of them.

  7. Nancy Bond says:

    That’s right, Richard…everyone who matters has your back. You *will* kick this in the ass. Hugs to you.

  8. Mr. Gardner, judging by your pictures, you are much too young to come up with nonsense like that. It usually takes decades before someone emerges in life as a prejudicial buttwipe. I should know. Please be patient, your time will come.

    I also can’t help observing that your “background” page lists no academic credentials. Apparently you haven’t been to college at all. Indeed, “Increasingly struggling through most of his pre-university science education” suggests you might not have even graduated from high school. You should be aware that people who travel the lecture circuit to share their wisdom are generally expected to acquire some wisdom first.

    P.S. The word is spelled “exaggerated.”

  9. Pete says:

    I think ja said all I could add. Sometimes it is just moment by moment. Thinking of you and your family.

  10. Sarah Hina says:

    Said in my best Al Swearengen voice: You’re a strong, motherfucking cocksucker, Richard Levangie. And don’t you forget it.

  11. Melanie says:

    Ugh, I’m so very very sorry.

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