Just the mention of the word “leiomyo” brings chills to my spine. In 1990 my mother died of a leiomyosarcoma in her liver. My good friend and music partner had surgery today to remove a leiomyo tumor from her stomach and I can’t quit worrying about her.
In my mother’s case, a decade earlier she had had a 10-hour surgery to remove a large very entwined tumor from her intestines. I couldn’t even be there as I was on doctor-ordered bedrest because of a threatened miscarriage (my first child). She was relieved to get a negative pathology reading and returned to the business of living. When she became so sick with cancer years later, they re-examined the pathology from that original surgery to discover it had been mis-read. At that point it was too late to cast blame or file lawsuits and she died a miserable death.
My friend just had laproscopic surgery 3 months ago to remove a very enlarged and painful gallbladder. She had a rough recovery with a secondary infection and never has felt quite right since the surgery. A CAT-scan picked up this tumor in the wall of her stomach. When she described it as a “leiomyo” tumor, much like a fibroid tumor, I’m sure I looked shocked.
I thought about her all morning when the surgery was happening. I pictured the long incision from her breastbone down to her navel. I wondered if the doctor had a feeling about the mass he removed. I hoped the sutures to close the incision would be her last.
My friend is a doctor, who knows only too well what the odds are and what the protocol would be for each outcome. But she is used to being the one explaining all this to the patient and not the reverse. It has been interesting watching her deal with the emotions and fears that are inevitable.
As my friend begins to recover from her ordeal, I’m sending love and healing energy her way. I’m hoping for a legitimate benign pathology reading. And I’m wishing that the removal of this tumor will finally let her get back to full health.
Meanwhile I will surely miss hearing her rich double bass along with my piano part. It will be a while before she is strong enough to support an instrument that size.