Puerto Vallarta Mexico March 2010
'My knee is really hurting me' Stephanie tells me
She loves to hit the beach first thing in the morning and go on a brisk walk. The sandy beach is an angled-off camber walk. Going in one direction you kind of hobble because of the off-camber slopping of the sand cut from the lapping waves. When you turn around and head for home and get just the opposite effect.
Her comment 'my knee is hurting' is just a passing 'O' from me. A few days later she can't move her leg and she is crying. She takes an Ibuprofen. Nothing.
We go see the doctor. He is a wonderful man. While his office is only three short blocks away. We drive. Stephanie can't walk to the car. I carry her. It is clear that she has severe pain.
In the small town of Bucerias the doctor has a great reputation with the Expats and locals alike. It's quite an experience to visit this good doctor. As you enter the nondescript multi-tenant building. Located on a very unique cobblestone street. You see his lobby. His office door is closed. There's a camera that alerts him you've arrived. Just some patience and the door opens.
It is at this point that you fall in love with this man. His concern and time is all yours. No rush. Lots of questions. Communication back and forth until both parties understand the next step. He prescribes a modest dose of Pain medication. I pay him 200 pesos (about $16 US)
By the next day it is clear that Stephanie needs to go to the Emergency Room.
Several tests are done. Including a painful fluid removal from her knee. Tests show no bacteria. A long list of possibilities are eliminated. The next day they run an MRI. Aside from some marks on her bone tissue nothing is found.
Ok. I know what you are thinking. This is Mexico right? Yes it is. Well rest assured this facility in Puerto Vallarta has some of the best physicians in the country.
She is sent home and her knee starts to feel better. We think 'wow that was odd'. We mark it off as a bad experience and life goes on.
Fast forward October 8th 2010.
I am in Asia for the first week of a 21 day business trip. I learn from Bria (my amazing 16 year old girl) that she took mom to the ER because her knee was hurting her so bad.
Stephanie tells me to not worry she will be fine. I learn 12 hours latter that she has been back to the ER twice more. Bria tells me the doctor used the phrase 'We need to eliminate cancer'. Based on some lesions he saw on the X-ray. By this time Stephanie is having pain in here hip and ankle.
From Taiwan I grab a taxi and head to the Airport. While sitting in the airplane getting ready to take off I receive a very personal premonition that makes me cry. I get home just after Stephanie had her first surgical Biopsy. We are told that we can expect results by Monday.
Monday comes and goes. Tuesday too.
We learn that Wednesday will be the day for the report. Expect a call. Thursday we are sure it will come. All the while we are thinking the worst.
Friday the call comes "Good news. There is no malignancy. The doctor would like to see you Monday at 10am' We celebrate. The best we can. Stephanie is still hurting. We spend Sunday at Bonnie's house (my wonderful mother in law) Everyone hugs Stephanie and is so relieved and grateful for the good news.
Monday morning we go to Huntsman Cancer institute for the the 10am appointment