The Truest of Professionals NEVER Disappear….we take heart (part 1)

Dadologist, Industry Leader and Consummate Professional from ArdynnMG Apologizes to Peers and Readers

By Michael Harris-Arzon

For many of you it may seem that I have dropped off the face of the earth when it comes to actual consulting work, speaking engagements, original content creation etc. Well, this Dadologist and Simplistic Professional is alive and well, and back to having his nose pressed firmly to the grind stone.

Early last summer our family began experiencing one of those LifeTime Movie Special moments that I, personally, thought would never happen… let alone end…or that when it did, it would have the very worst of outcomes. Without going in to details or lengthy explanations, our 9 year old son began having leg pains that systematically became chronic. After innumerable doctors visits and more X-rays than any human should have in their lifetime (sigh} it is still difficult to think about, let alone share with the world) a significant mass was found inside his femur.

Thus the nightmare began and true terror entered my heart as the words “we need to do an immediate MRI as it looks like he has a tumor”. There was no time for taking stock of the situation as we were sent immediately to the children’s hospital for the test. I hardly had time to tell my husband, Danny, what was happening before we were both being gowned and him wheeled into radiology. You see, he couldn’t even walk by this point. He went from chronic pain, to a severe limp, to crutches and to a wheel chair in a matter of days.

After two hours of sitting with him, as he was strapped down into the most confining MRI machine I had yet to see (mine was what they call open when I had it done for my gall bladder a few years ago.) they asked us to wait….nothing about the appointment I had already scheduled for results with our orthopedic sports medicine specialist two days later. I knew instantly something serious was wrong as the technician came back and said they were speaking to our doctor now and could not leave the hospital. They were trying to determine if h should be admitted right then and there.

Okay, so I may have misled you and this does seem to be turning into a lengthy story…..I apologize and would understand if you decide to stop reading at this point.

Finally they came back and said we were to go see our doctor before the office opened at 7am the next morning to discuss the results. Now, when was the last time you heard of a doctor seeing patients prior to or after office hours? I hardly remember the hour and half long drive home that night or even telling Danny what was happening. I do remember telling myself to be careful what I said and how I said it in front of any of the kids….especially Anthony. And hiding my fear and tears was a testament to my years of being bullied as a kid and not giving the bully the satisfaction of seeing my reactions.

The next morning they swooped us into an exam room where the head of the orthopedic dept., our nurse and doctor were already waiting for us with the pertinent images visible on a computer screen. There was nothing but calm compassion as he explained that a large mass had been found and a biopsy was needed to determine if it was malignant or not. They also explained that the images and our chart had already been shown to the head of radiology at Nemours Children’s Hospital and it was decided that, though initially Dr. Stanton was going to perform the procedure, the head of radiology would be performing the surgery himself.

When I looked at those images, they became seared into my brain and I can still see every detail. The mass was so large and had grown so fast that it was about to break his leg from the inside out. We are talking a millimeter from each edge. The bone marrow had been completely consumed in about 1/3 of his upper leg bone. No wonder he was in so much pain that every over the counter suggestion for relief had failed.

We immediately set appointments to meet with the head of surgery for the oncology department and a date to have a biopsy done of the tumor and bone marrow. 10 days was all thought we had to wait to get more definitive answers and devise a course of surgical options. But within two days the pain became so bad ( they had still refused to prescribe anything) Anthony came to me crying and begged me to take him to the ER because he couldn’t take it any longer.
To be continued…….