Sunday, June 24, 2007

Closing the loop.

It's been crazy busy the last little bit. I've been in this new career position for a little over a year already. A week and a half ago I was told to show up at the corporate office in Kirland, Washington. The fiscal year ends in June and it was time for the end-of-year employee reviews.

Oregon hasn't been covered by anyone with energy and intelligence for a while. Sometimes I wonder if it is now, either. I guess the boss is pleased with what I'm doing, though. I was totally blown away when he informed me I was due to receive a performance bonus. I've received bonuses in the past but not like this. The boss called yesterday and told me to look for a direct deposit into my bank account for Monday. I was told the bonus was twenty grand before taxes. Wow!

There's more police motor training tomorrow. I'm slightly hampered this time. My widowed mother needed a shed built. I'm helping Grandma ( who raised me ) sell her house. We're putting a single wide manufactured home onto my Mother's two and a half acre lot. Now I'm building a big shed for storing some of Grandma's extra stuff. At some point it will all have to be gone through. For now, though, her stuff can be close. I'm a decent carpenter and jack of all trades so it's been kind of fun. Just a heck of a lot of work. Recently I was putting up tin roof flashing. The wind caught a big hunk of tin and ripped out of my hand. My palm and middle finger were deeply sliced. Throttle hand, too!

The main reason I'm putting up this post, though, is to close the loop on Katie's situation. Normally I wouldn't share this kind of thing but I mentioned it in an earlier post. Since I did, I wanted to put closure on it.

I know I'm branching out on something that seems to have little to do with riding to work. Yet, it really has a lot to do with it. I made a vow thirty years ago to provide for this special girl and any children that would result from our union. That's the reason I work in the first place. Providing emotional and financial security to the best of my ability is how I fulfill that vow. I choose to ride a motorcycle to work. Riding is sort of a life on it's own but we should never lose focus on the really important things. You know, little stuff like family!

It's pretty obvious that most of you already have this awareness. Gary talks about the importance of his girls. Combatscoot John mentions Wifey and Tal pretty often. Bill in Port Angeles talks of his boys. Steve the Photo Guru writes of Kim a lot and his daughter Hannah is a regular follower of his blog. Lucky often talks about Lady Luck. The list goes on. Sorry if I didn't name everyone. It's enough to make the point, I think, though.

Bottom line for us at this point is that Katie's ok. The journey here was pretty tense, though, and spread out over a month and a half. Coming as it did at the same time my nephew got killed in Arizona made the stress worse. At one point Katie's doctor had actually told us he thought there was a 98% chance Katie had an agressive cancer. Not the kind of news anyone wants to hear. Fortunately it turned out to be false.

Briefly, it started when Katie went in for that yearly thing women do. The doctor thought she might have a cyst on an ovary and suggested an ultrasound. Turns out the ultrasound showed nothing of the sort but pointed the way towards a couple of other things. One thing I have to vehemently protest against here is the way some of these tests are done. It seems like everything to do with diagnostic imaging and testing for women, like biopsies, are as invasive as possible. With all the supposed advances in technologies you'd think there would be other methods available by now.

On Wednesday we got the call that our nephew had gotten killed. On Friday we got a call from the doctor. He said the ultrasound had revealed a uterine polyp that needed biopsied. Another damn invasive procedure. That was bad enough but the worst was when he told Katie she had tumors on her kidneys. It was possible that they were just cysts but it was 98% likely they were an aggressive cancer. Now the doctor said she should schedule a CT scan.

Now we're between the proverbial rock and hard place. It's a sad world when the medical profession has to be so worried about covering their posteriors. Nobody will commit without a whole series of tests. I realize that once in a blue moon something's caught early this way. Mostly, though, it's plain old CYA. Once started down this road we more or less have to see where it goes. I don't want to have my girl subjected to a bunch of tests but I also want the best for her. I'm sure you know the feeling.

One of the reasons things drug on so long is that we were right in the middle of the nephew's situation. We made a quick trip to Arizona. Not long after, Katie's brother and his wife came up. There was a memorial service here for friends and relatives in this area. As result, we put the testing off a couple of weeks. The biopsy and CT scan were scheduled for the same day. It was a tough time.

The CT scan revealed that there probably weren't tumors after all but it was hard to tell for sure what they were. Which meant another scan, this time with dye. Poor Katie was instructed to finish drinking a couple of quarts of water within three hours of the scan. She was also intructed not to pee until after the scan! Yow! Anyway, I guess it was worth it. Turns out she has overgrown Columns of Bertin. Some sort of connective tissue between the pyramids in the kidneys. Most people have very small ones but hers are very large. Needless to say, it was a celebration to go from being told she had cancer to having it turn out to be just an anatomical abnormality.

We just got the results of the biopsy which turned out negative. Another case of the tests being more brutal than the problem. I can't believe medical people can still be such butchers sometimes.

So that's the story. Probably more than you wanted to know. I debated about how much to share. Life is what it is. Things happen. The coolest thing is that I still have my riding companion to enjoy. Even if she does insist on wearing those ridiculous red gloves with the Hi-Viz 'stich. Despite the fact that I've offered to replace them over and over, Katie likes them. Some people find things like this irritating. I say celebrate the quirks. When we look back we find that these aren't faults. They're the Good Stuff!

Miles and smiles,



krysta in milwaukee said...

Congrat's on Katie's good news!!! (And on that _nice_ bonus. Take her to dinner to celebrate both... with a nice long ride before, a hotel bed after, and pretty scenery all around. That is, of course, once the throttle hand heals. Ouch.)

As for the gloves, well, they do make her even more visible (if that's possible). Better that than not enough. Good for hand signals.

michelle said...

That's great news for you and Katie! Congrats!

Bryce Lee said...

I can relate to the situation with Katie. Having had removal of the left
kidney, spleen and 11 lymph nodes last November 20 (after having a dye trace CT scan and ultrasounds.
can relate to the procedures. In my case it was thought to be renal cell carcinoma, it wasn't. It was
MALT (a form of cancer) and lymphona.
Now I endure regular chemo treatments, and am not riding. Yet!

As to Katie, dammit man you're a lucky person! Hug her, kiss her,
and make her feel wanted. That header photograph is lovely, maybe
get a large colour print of same
and hang it somewhere in the house?

I always suggest a second opinion though and even yet would also
advise likewise, just to be sure.

Spend a weekend with Katie, away from children, motorcycles whatever.

Oh, and that bonus? Spend some of that on her. As to the throttle hand. Been there, done that (also
with sheet metal) and it seemingly takes forever to heal. Once it starts to heal, massage the area so the skin doesn't get hard or less flexible.

Keep smiling Dan, you write well,
and your blog is by far a reason to keep going. Oh and as a note to Katie, give your hubby a big hug.

Tinker said...

Well, it sounds like good news, and people always enjoy sharing others good news.

As for the hand, OUCH! Take care not to let it get infected.

And maybe now, you can consider an ABS-equipped motorcycle, you NEED one now, don't you think?

Tinker said...

Well, it sounds like good news, and people always enjoy sharing others good news.

As for the hand, OUCH! Take care not to let it get infected.

And maybe now, you can consider an ABS-equipped motorcycle, you NEED one now, don't you think?

Allen Madding said...

I'm elated to hear the good news. I've been checking in regularly hoping that a positive report would be returned.

Hope that hand heals up soon. Remember to keep cleaning it as galvanized metal roofing makes for a nasty wound. (too many years living in the sticks speaking).

Celebrate Katie's lively riding gear. I'm tickled she is wearing protective gear as so many folks do not. And Hi-vis is kewl. Maybe I should consider it :)

irondad said...

As a matter of fact, we're thinking of going to the coast for a couple of days. It's only about an hour away.


Hang in there, Sir! Sounds like you're the one who needs our support here. You have it, for sure. Thanks for the kind words about the blog.

Still debating on the ABS thing. We'll see what happens. Have to pay off her medical bills, too!

So far the hand hasn't gotten infected. It's just really sore. With Katie's Hi-Viz whole suit and my jacket, we're pretty conspicuous!