To all our loving friends:
On the one hand, I don’t see how the news could have been worse; on the other, I can’t imagine that there’s anyone in the world who would have taken it better than Pam did.
At Ten O’Clock this morning, three of us– Pam, Angelique and I –met with Pam’s surgeon, Dr. Mark Johnson and his associates in the Neurosurgical Offices of Brigham & Women’s Hospital. Dr. Johnson was kind, and calm, and patient, and gentle as he contrasted for us the MRI that had been taken of Pam’s brain immediately before surgery with the one that was taken afterwards. He showed us how large the tumor had been before he’d operated and how only the tiniest sliver of tumor remained.
Then he explained to us that the pathology report had verified the indications he’d seen during surgery: Pam’s tumor was aggressive and malignant. He said that the tumor was classified as a glioma and that gliomas are generated by the brain itself and therefore can not be cured by surgery as there will always been microscopic particles of cancer that can’t be removed. Dr. Johnson said that gliomas themselves are classified as Stage II, Stage III and Stage IV and that Pam had a Stage IV glioma. He further explained that Pam would be receiving radiation treatments (which weren’t likely to cause discomfort) as well as chemotherapy treatments (which might be difficult) as a means to retard the growth of the glioma. In response to my question, Dr. Johnson said that further surgeries might be necessary depending upon the size of future tumors.
Angelique couldn’t hold back her tears, but Pam was completely stoic. “We’ll do what we have to do as we have to do it. Everything comes one step at a time.”
Dr. Johnson then made a personal observation, “I’ve been in this business a long time,” he said, “but I’ve never had more calls asking about a patient. You are one very popular person.”
“I don’t see why that should be,” Pam responded. She is, of course, the only person who doesn’t understand why she is as loved as she is.
When the doctor left we were given an appointment with the oncologists at Dana Farber to get her started on radiation and chemo. That appointment is on August 10th of next week. We also made an appointment for Pam to get an MRI in November and another appointment later to have Dr. Johnson read us the results.
Pam, however, wasn’t interested in thinking about appointments in November or next week. Her thoughts were on what was immediately up ahead.
“I want to get out of here,” she told us, “and I want to get an ice coffee at Dunkin’ Donuts. When we get home, I want Liqa to get us lunch, and then, when we’re done eating, I’m going to take a nap.”
When I tucked her in for her nap I kissed her and we prayed. “Dear God,” she said, “Thank You for keeping the light on in my heart.”
Is there anything more I can say about the woman I’m married to?