Eight Hours Later

07.1.2008 | 7:32 am

Susan and I spent eight hours at the doctor yesterday. And to my amazement, I am not at all resentful. That’s probably because Susan only spent probably an hour or so in the waiting room (I spent considerably more time in the waiting room, but that’s fine — my job is to drive, listen, and ask questions).

The rest of the time, she was either being scanned, having scans read, or talking with the bone cancer surgeon. (Note to people who like details: Susan doesn’t have bone cancer, but since the cancer has metastasized to her bones and we’re looking at surgery, this surgeon was still a good person to talk with.)

Here’s how the day played out. I’m not going to go into details about how long each part took, because I don’t remember. All I can say is that this list covers what happened from 11am to 7pm.

  1. We drive to the Huntsman Cancer Institute. We talk about how all our “together time” is spent driving to and from doctors. We also stop at the new Barbacoa grill close to where we live. Now we have an alternative to Wendy’s and Subways, and it’s a place I really like. Yay! I’ll be fatter soon!
  2. We arrive at the Huntsman Cancer Institute 15 minutes early — traffic was light and finding a parking spot was easy — and sign in.
  3. They take Susan away to go do X-Rays.
  4. I watch an episode from Dexter: Season 2 on my iPhone.
  5. Susan comes back. She reads her Kindle, I watch my iPhone. We both put on signs that say “Geek.”
  6. They bring us into a room.
  7. I go back to watching, Susan goes back to reading. We both know that being in a room doesn’t mean the waiting’s over.
  8. The doctor comes in. We give him the discs for CT scan, the bone scan, and the MRI we got last week. He says he’ll be back in half an hour or so; it takes a while to download these.
  9. We go back to watching / reading. I’m very glad I have five episodes on my phone.
  10. We stop watching / reading and start talking about whether we can cope with another hip surgery.
  11. The doctor comes back in. He says we have three options: 1. We can just do radiation. 2. We can carve out some of the bad stuff in her hip and replace it with high-tech surgical bondo. 3. We can do a complete hip replacement. He says he leans toward option 1, because it doesn’t look like Susan’s hip is in immediate danger of breaking. We both suddenly feel much, much better about the day.
  12. The doctor sends us over to another building to get a CT scan of Susan’s hip. Then he wants us to come back so we can make a decision about what to do immediately. The same day. Is this some kind of crazy alternate universe where patients come first?
  13. We drive the mile over to where Susan’s getting her scan. It’s non-contrasted, because the doctor doesn’t want to see what the tumors look like this time; he wants to see what the bone structure that remains looks like.
  14. They take her back immediately. No wait. At all. Seriously, is this the Twilight Zone?
  15. Five minutes later, she’s out. I didn’t even have time to get my iPhone out and start watching a show.
  16. We go back to the doctor and wait while he reads the CT scan results. I am now on my third episode of Dexter for the day. They should give everyone who is going to spend a lot of their lives in doctors offices iPhones and a big ol’ credit on iTunes.
  17. The doctor shows us the CT scans on a big computer monitor. They mean nothing to me. Rorschach blots. But the doctor says they confirm what he thought: surgery isn’t necessary at this time. We should start Susan on radiation on the hip — breast cancer is generally very responsive to radiation — and come back in three months if things get worse, or in six months if things get better.
  18. We go home. Relieved. Big time.

So: radiation, not surgery. It’s funny how your metric for what constitutes good news changes: “Oh boy! You have to go get heavy doses of radiation every day for four or five weeks to shrink the cancerous tumor in your hip!”

But compared to another hip replacement: you bet it’s good news. Great news, in fact.

PS: Tomorrow, more pre-TdF shenanigans.


  1. Comment by mamafitz | 07.1.2008 | 7:39 am

    …and every day is a new day.

    Prayers, good wishes, good karma all continuing to come your way from PA.



  2. Comment by Uphill Battle | 07.1.2008 | 7:50 am

    Continued prayers for more good days together.

  3. Comment by Lori | 07.1.2008 | 8:06 am

    Glad that you fell into that alternate universe! Great news! WIN!!

  4. Comment by GenghisKhan | 07.1.2008 | 8:09 am

    Congrats on the good “not-so-bad” news…

  5. Comment by KTBee | 07.1.2008 | 8:15 am

    Yay! Glad to hear some relief came a knockin’!

    WIN Guys!

  6. Comment by The D | 07.1.2008 | 8:15 am

    Glad to read a bit of (comparatively) good news on this front…WIN SUSAN!

    Also, I really enjoy Dexter. I had read that some castrated version was going to end up on network TV and was worried about the shark-jumping potential. Now I’m hearing it’s still on Showtime. Good.

  7. Comment by Lowrydr | 07.1.2008 | 8:17 am

    So did you see Rod Stewart standing in the hallway? That’s great news in the scheme of things.

    Karma and other good thoughts from the Midwest.

  8. Comment by BurkeInTheOzarks | 07.1.2008 | 8:17 am

    I’m so glad you guys received the it’s-not-exactly-great-but-it-could-be-much-worse news!

  9. Comment by Lowrydr | 07.1.2008 | 8:18 am

    Oh wait, that’s Sterling isnt it?

  10. Comment by Little1 | 07.1.2008 | 8:20 am


  11. Comment by Slowracer | 07.1.2008 | 8:32 am

    Dear Fatty and Susan.
    Massive prayers = small positive increments!!

    Go ride man……….

  12. Comment by 331miles | 07.1.2008 | 8:37 am

    Glad you had some good news!

    The iPhone / iTunes idea for patients and guests is a great one. I’m going to go look for some VC money now…

  13. Comment by SDM | 07.1.2008 | 8:52 am

    +1 for the good guys…

  14. Comment by chtrich | 07.1.2008 | 8:54 am

    Hot dang! Keep on WINning!

  15. Comment by Lifesgreat | 07.1.2008 | 8:57 am

    Hooray for the “not so bad news”!


  16. Comment by Hamish A | 07.1.2008 | 8:57 am

    Awesome news! Maybe it’s iPhone Karma but I reckon you guys were due something going your way.

    Positive thoughts and lots of good wishes heading your way as always!

    WIN Susan! Keep on keeping on FC.

  17. Comment by fwcpc | 07.1.2008 | 9:17 am


  18. Comment by Katie | 07.1.2008 | 9:20 am

    Congratulations! WIN Susan

  19. Comment by Al Maviva | 07.1.2008 | 9:21 am

    Dear lord. That’s more monotonous than an industrial park crit.

    Hang in there Susan.

  20. Comment by stefano | 07.1.2008 | 9:24 am

    Great news; sometimes the climb just looks/seems steeper than it really is. Once you’re climbing you find the gradient, although hard, is really easier than you feared. Prayers and good thoughts going your way. Win Susan!

  21. Comment by Dougie | 07.1.2008 | 9:38 am

    It IS an alternate universe. There’s no bottleneck of paperwork and insurance.
    Best wishes for Susan.

  22. Comment by bikemike | 07.1.2008 | 9:40 am

    tears of joy running onto my ham-samich.

    Elden, you must also (if not already) watch Weeds and Cali-(sorry kids) that show on showtime with David Duchovny, this is the new Deadwood.

    Happy Fourth of July to you and yours.

  23. Comment by imonmybike | 07.1.2008 | 10:00 am

    Congrats on the news! Go, fight, win!!

    WIN Susan

  24. Comment by buckythedonkey | 07.1.2008 | 10:19 am

    > Yay! I’ll be fatter soon!

    About bloody time.

    Great news Susan. WIN!

  25. Comment by rexinsea | 07.1.2008 | 10:31 am

    Glad the news is better than expected. Keep up the great attitude.


  26. Comment by KanyonKris | 07.1.2008 | 10:32 am

    Good to hear some good news, even though it took 8 hours to get it. Man, my life is so easy. Thanks for giving me a good dose of perspective.

  27. Comment by KT | 07.1.2008 | 10:38 am

    Wow, that’s great news!

    I’m glad that you guys are doing well, let’s keep that trend going!

    A Kindle, eh? I’ve looked into that… mainly to cut down on the quantities of paperbacks I’ve got cluttering up the house (even when I go through them and give a bunch away, they keep multiplying. What’s up with that?) and an “electronic reader” just seems so cool.

    WIN, Susan!!!!!!

  28. Comment by AlicesYellowPorsche | 07.1.2008 | 10:39 am

    Score one for the good guys!!

    WIN Susan!


  29. Comment by Slowerthensnot | 07.1.2008 | 10:53 am

    Way to keep rocking it!

    Thats an amazing Doctors vist! Same Day! Coolness!

    Contuined prayers from Colorado!

  30. Comment by regina | 07.1.2008 | 10:54 am

    You have me trained that is good news. WIN SUSAN!

  31. Comment by matt (ming) | 07.1.2008 | 10:54 am

    you and particularly you susan re define what stregnth is. growing up i used to think forest fire fighters were the toughest people around; they still are strong, but they aint got nothing on the nelsen family and other families fighting cancer

    if you can walk away from it, id call it a win.


  32. Comment by Betsy | 07.1.2008 | 10:58 am

    Great news. Glad you had such a productive, positive day.

  33. Comment by MAJ Mike | 07.1.2008 | 11:01 am

    Good news is good news. Nice.

  34. Comment by neca | 07.1.2008 | 11:02 am

    That is such awesome news Fatty! Sounds like things are looking up – that’s wonderful. You guys were way past due for a break!

    I know I for one would be perfectly content to let Susan go to the front of the line. I’m sure those small things (like minimal waiting) are a blessing to you both.

  35. Comment by EuroJoe | 07.1.2008 | 11:04 am

    Had to google Meta-meta- metatatizieded (sp?) I’m learning a lot while meant to be working!

    Good news is great!

    WIN Susan

  36. Comment by hombredebicycle | 07.1.2008 | 11:06 am

    Go Fatty!!!
    Go Susan!!!!
    Its weird how I compulsively read your darn website, and then avoid it when I have a premonition about Susan and now with good news feel free to read it again every day. Not that you really care about this but it is weird, right?
    BTW, you know how to write and be funny about bikes which most of us who are serious about bikes cannot manage to do, even the pros. If you want to know how not to write, how to bore people, and do so while describing riding your bike through the Alps, feel free to check out the blog in the NYTimes THe Climb. Never mind. Keep doing what you are doing.

  37. Comment by Philly Jen | 07.1.2008 | 11:07 am

    Glad to hear that you’re hearing good news!

    Yay, Susan will now officially have “hotter” hips than any starlet in Hollywood.

    WIN Susan!

  38. Comment by Clydesteve | 07.1.2008 | 11:08 am

    I think Rod Stewart would have done well on Twilight Zone. Why didn’t Rod Sterling think of that?

    2:01. WIN Susan!

  39. Comment by Boz | 07.1.2008 | 11:12 am

    You know you’re at the clinic/hospital too much when they say “you know the routine” at registration. It sucks.

    win Win WIN Susan!!

  40. Comment by ann | 07.1.2008 | 11:32 am

    so, this could be a metaphor for the Tour – and the Tour could be a metaphor for the hips – how to do it right, and how to do it wrong – it seems that it was a good day, as days go. Prayers your way from one who neither rides bikes nor knows you – but prayers anyway.

  41. Comment by ann | 07.1.2008 | 11:33 am

    And YES on David Duchovny’s Californi***. He’s a pretty compellingly flawed and conflicted character.

  42. Comment by Justin | 07.1.2008 | 11:43 am

    Long-time reader, first time poster.

    It’s pretty uplifting, Mr. Fat Cyclist, to see how positive you can remain in times of such adversity.

    I just wanted to say that I saw my first Fat Cyclist jersey (the “rust” colored one) on my way to the trail yesterday. Minneapolis loves ya!

  43. Comment by Heatherann | 07.1.2008 | 11:53 am

    Yeah! Good news.
    WIN SUSAN- You can so do this!

  44. Comment by NW | 07.1.2008 | 12:16 pm

    You have a gift for seeing the positive. Susan’s a fighter. WIN SUSAN!

  45. Comment by kentucky joe | 07.1.2008 | 1:44 pm

    we have a winner and it’s….Susan!!!


    so glad for some good news for you all; now go blow up some fireworks, grind out some miles in the saddle and then check out the tdf….have a great independence day FC and family!

  46. Comment by Bikerchick_IL | 07.1.2008 | 1:48 pm

    Wow, what remarkable karma the Fatty Family has in the bank! Seriously thrilled you got a manageable approach, and seriously impressed that you can still find the glass half full.

    WIN, Susan, WIN!

  47. Comment by Jaime O. | 07.1.2008 | 2:08 pm

    A collective sigh of relief from the peanut gallery that contains all of your readers. WIN Susan, WIN!!!

  48. Comment by Orbea Girl | 07.1.2008 | 3:28 pm

    That’s great, those silver linings just keep getting bigger.

  49. Comment by aussie kev | 07.1.2008 | 3:40 pm

    good news, so glad you both had a good outcome for the day.


  50. Comment by ceecee | 07.1.2008 | 4:20 pm

    I’m glad the news was positive for your family. I hope she gets relief from the pain in her hip soon.

    I found Dexter by accident on network TV. Very cool the way they put the show together. Disturbing, but cool. I’ve heard it’s sooooo much more tame than the Showtime version. We don’t get Showtime, so I’ll never know.

    Many prayers for your whole family.


  51. Comment by bobbieh | 07.1.2008 | 4:23 pm

    Hugs to the both of you ~

  52. Comment by Born4Lycra | 07.1.2008 | 4:47 pm

    So there won’t be any x-rays posted this time round. That’s also good news they were scary.
    I spotted back there in the comments Justin calling the orange jumpers “rust’ coloured there’s a new perspective.
    Congratulations to all the staff at the Huntsman – sounds like a first class service based operation they’ve got going.
    Well done Susan you are out in front in the maillot jeune. Hope i spelt that right.

  53. Comment by Don | 07.1.2008 | 5:04 pm

    WOO HOO! Good news to hear, surely! Continued Prayers, WIN Susan!

  54. Comment by Swedoz | 07.1.2008 | 5:12 pm

    Glad to read about the good news (excuse the lack of quotation marks). Keep up the the good work.

  55. Comment by jay | 07.1.2008 | 5:20 pm

    You had me really going there — I believed everything you were writing, until I got to the line about Susan not having to wait for the CT scan. You’re a great parodist, but that was just too much!

    Seriously, man, that’s wonderful. Thanks for sharing the good news, and WIN!

  56. Comment by Sarah G | 07.1.2008 | 5:32 pm

    Excellent news. So happy for you.

    So, I’m a book nerd…or maybe in this day and age I should say a reading nerd. What did Susan have on her Kindle to get her through the day?

    Also, I would like to send her a copy of my novel, which came out last year, in case she ever feels like reading something on paper (I’m not hot enough to be on Kindle). Drop me an e-mail with the address and I’ll stick it in the mail. Be sure to let her know there will be NO HARD FEELINGS if she hates it and stops reading after the first paragraph.

  57. Comment by Barb | 07.1.2008 | 5:54 pm

    Radiation is your friend!

  58. Comment by clambertsmith | 07.1.2008 | 6:03 pm

    Life is good – glad to hear about the good news and looking forward to each “next day” on your blog.

  59. Comment by Miles Archer | 07.1.2008 | 6:49 pm

    Thanks for sharing

  60. Comment by Anne | 07.1.2008 | 7:25 pm

    I’m another first time poster, long time reader.Hurray for you, Susan and Fatty! Prayers, cheers and more prayers from Chicago!

  61. Comment by Pinkbike in Pasadena | 07.1.2008 | 8:33 pm

    Wonderful news. That’s just great. Now, relax and enjoy the holiday!

    Love and prayers continue from So Cal.

  62. Comment by Di | 07.1.2008 | 8:54 pm

    You’re right. It is odd how your perspective changes, but it really is great news! I hope Susan’s spirits remain high. :-D

  63. Comment by Anonymous | 07.2.2008 | 12:28 am

    Good luck Susan and family!

  64. Comment by Mike Roadie | 07.2.2008 | 7:16 am

    ….and every new day is a good day!

    I guess they know who they are dealing with!

    Being a geek makes the world an easier place to stomach!


  65. Comment by Pammap | 07.2.2008 | 7:49 am

    I like the “not-so-bad” news because you are moving in the right direction. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. I believe you’ll WIN, one step at a time. (2:01)

    FYI guys, it’s not Stewart or Sterling but Rod Serling in the Twilight Zone. I loved that show but hate it when I’m living there. :)

  66. Comment by Flash | 07.2.2008 | 8:13 am

    Glad you’ve found a new place that actaully treats people well! Seems like you and Susan are so deserving of that.

    BTW: Can you take the brots down? THey are making me hungry :)

  67. Comment by bikesgonewild | 07.2.2008 | 10:20 am

    …just checkin’ back in w/ love & good thoughts for the two of you (& family)…

    …keep fighting & keep winning…

  68. Comment by barry1021 | 07.2.2008 | 11:07 am

    I feel the tide is turning. The C gave its best shot but it failed. It is weakening. THe white flag is coming. Keep the prayers and good thoughts focused, victory is coming.

    On a sorry note, I wore my pink WIN jersey yesterday. It’s last year’s model becasue I missed the 12 second window to get one this year. I feel so out of date.


  69. Comment by BotchedExperiment | 07.2.2008 | 11:58 am

    Huntsman Cancer Institute…I think I’ve been there…

    You guys should look into getting part-time jobs up there. I mean if you’re going to be spending 8 hour chunks of time, you might as well be getting paid for it. With your discriminating pallet, I’ll bet they’d hire you as a cook in a heartbeat.

  70. Comment by The Neil | 07.2.2008 | 2:41 pm

    Fatty, I was just checking out the WilliamsCycling.com link off your site. I think they may be advertising to the wrong crowd. They have a 190lb weight limit on most of their wheels. I think there is only one set for over 200.

    Keep on keepin on.

  71. Comment by judi | 07.2.2008 | 5:09 pm

    WIN SUSAN! Glad she’s not having surgery Fatty!

  72. Comment by Walter | 07.3.2008 | 9:30 am

    A day late and a dollar short, but, Congratulations Fatty & Susan!! You were overdue some “good” news…

  73. Comment by kiki | 07.3.2008 | 10:34 am

    WIN Susan! I’m a runner, not a cyclist, and my July 12 5k is dedicated to you! I’ll be wearing a WIN Susan t-shirt I made especially for the race!

  74. Comment by Rod Newbound, RN | 07.6.2008 | 8:13 am

    Everyday’s a good day, some are just better than others.

    Having been through this trial with my mother I can understand much of what you are going through. But of course, I can only imagine what Susan is experiencing.

    We all know our destination, it’s the journey that unique. Blessings to you both.

  75. Comment by Mark | 07.8.2008 | 9:13 am

    Again, wishing you the best of good luck! Good that surgery isn’t necessary, hope the radiation goes well! Nice moves with the iPhone – how did we survive waiting rooms in the old days?


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