The oncologist who was supposed to meet us is not available at such short notice. The temporary oncologist takes a general history, which is all fabulous. Then she says, ‘Just looking at the lumps, we can’t tell what it is.’ She shows us the x-ray. I don’t know what I’m looking at. I think the x-rays looks like Cliff has two new, big organs. I ask her to explain what that organ on his heart is. What could that be? What goes there? I can’t think of an organ that’s supposed to be on your heart. I try my best to remember high school anatomy and can’t recall seeing any other organ that shape there. And, whoa, there’s another big organ sitting on his lungs. What? Maybe he has an extra heart or an extra lung or something, you know, like some people have an extra toe? She explains those are the tumours they’re worried about.
They are bigger than I imagined. I was imagining little things – cherry-sized. These are big, egg-size tumors, piled on top of each other.
We try very hard to get some guidance from her. This does not look good, but it’s probably nothing, right? ‘Well, it could be lymphoma,’ she says. We hold our breath. ‘Or, it could be sarcoidosis.’ We breathe again. Sarcoidosis is basically just tissue and it goes away with steroids (well, that’s the simplified version of what she said). She won’t give us anything to be sure about until there is a biopsy. She insists that’s the only way to know what we’re looking at. Without being able to get more from her, we leave. A biopsy is scheduled for this Friday.