More followup on my post about intentionally not calling a patient with bad news on a Friday afternoon (and my karmic suffering at not receiving timely feedback after the disclosure the following Monday).
It was a 15 cm* primary malignant tumor…that turned out to be completely encapsulated! No evidence of malignancy anywhere else (and there were ten pathological specimens sent, as is customary in cancer surgery)! Stage 1! A little chemo to mop up some leaking fluid (that was still pathologically negative) and the patient will be fine.
Rarely have I experience such elation reading a path report.
The patient stopped by as well. Turns out the spouse’s work requires annual wellness checks (which we’d already done) including cholesterol levels, which I had not done when I sent tumor markers. If the pathology had been anything else (ie if it had been more in line with the radiologist’s opinion), we would have told the employer to shove it. But now that a reasonable life expectancy had been restored, I sent the test. We shared a chuckle over it.
* For any non-medical folks, yeah, that’s f-ing big.