Midnight MRI

I had a full chest-abdomen-pelvis CT done just before radiation was over. I called a week later and was told  by my oncologist’s assistant that it was clear. YAY! No little cancer worms, scraps or shrapnel got loose into my body between surgery and radiation. Huge weight off my shoulders. Yahoo, whoop, whoop, whoop!

One month later, at my September appointment with my oncologist, I say, “Well, I heard my CT scan was clear,” and she says, “Yeah, well, about that. There’s something on your adrenal gland in the CT. Could be something, could be nothing.” I’ll order an urgent MRI and we’ll see what it is.”

“IT’S METASTASIS, THAT’S WHAT IT IS!!!” I didn’t say that. I asked, “Is that in my brain? Because I don’t want it in my brain.”

I love when I am my own comic relief. My doc laughed and laughed—”no, they’re little glands on top of your kidneys.”

“Oh good. I just don’t want that cancer in my brain.”

I didn’t ask any questions, because Dr. Brezden-Masley and I don’t deal in what-ifs. She said she’d ask for the MRI on an urgent basis, and I should call her one week after the test. Then I left the hospital and drove to Stratford for Dad’s visitation and funeral.

It took me a day or two to actually get to my computer and look up triple negative spreading to adrenal glands—and damn, it does! I also found this image:

OMG! How could I be scared of what looks like two chocolate-covered jumbo jellybeans with cute little toques on???

My urgent MRI came up five days later at 12:45 a.m. I drove back to Toronto, and took Graydon as my companion—when you self-medicate in the MRI tube, they won’t let you leave the hospital on your own. It was loud and clangy, and claustrophobic So at 2 a.m. I was back in my bed in Toronto, thinking about my dad, about this aggressive triple negative cancer, about metastasis, about prognosis with metastasis, about that evil freaking cancer. Low, low times.

So tomorrow I will call and hope the CT had a shadow, and the MRI banished it.

Join me in hoping please, please, please?


My dad is gone…


My dad, L. Ray Waller, died last week on September 17. My sister Heidi called at lunchtime to say one of the nurses had called her because he really wasn’t eating anything, he was making noise when he breathed, and they were having a hard time waking him up. Heidi said she was on her way to see him. I said I had an appointment with my oncologist to go over my recent CT scan the next day, and I would likely leave from the hospital for Stratford. She called me five hours later and said he was gone, in his sleep.

One of the reasons I never wanted a big wedding was that I knew I would cry all the way down the aisle walking on my dad’s arm because I couldn’t stop thinking that he would one day die and leave me forever.

I took a university psych course on death, dying and grieving, because I knew I had a problem if I couldn’t even handle the thought of it.

I visited my dad at every hospital stay, staying overnight a few times so there would be a family member right there to advocate for him, went to specialist followups, visited him in his nursing home. I told all my family NOT to mention my cancer, because I couldn’t bear the thought of him thinking that his “baby Jackie” was sick with this f’ing disease. I wore my wig religiously every time I saw him.

Ed and Heidi spoke at the funeral for themselves and for Juli and me, two chickens who have never been able to speak publicly. They made me cry. The mayor spoke as well—my dad lived in Stratford 52 years, yet when the mayor added up my dad’s years of public service, he found that my father put in more than 140 years of public service. The city flew the flag at half-mast the day of his funeral, out of respect and gratitude and mourning his loss.

I drove back home today for a test, and have spent the last four hours in my room, trying to cry it out. So far, it’s fresh tears every time.

The flag flies at half-mast in Stratford on September 22, 2014, in honour of our father, Leslie Raymond Waller, November 12, 1929 – September 17, 2014. Photo by Juli.

The flag flies at half-mast in Stratford on September 22, 2014, in honour of our father, Leslie Raymond Waller, November 12, 1929 – September 17, 2014. Photo by Juli.

Heidi made a website for dad, and if anyone would like to read about an amazing father and man, please visit. She did a great job on a great man.