th“So tell me again—” I asked the cardiologist. “Just how big is the myxoma?”

The cardiologist began speaking as he waited for the information to come up on his computer screen. “Last week, when we did the regular Echocardiogram, we had tentative measurements, but by doing the Transesophageal Echo and the CAT scan we were able to get a much better idea of its size.”

He paused while he clicked the mouse a few more times. “The TEE measurement is 3.3 x 2.2 centimeters, and the CAT scan, which is probably the most accurate, is 3.2 x 1.8 centimeters.”

I know enough about the metric system to know that 2.5 centimeters is about an inch. So this “hopefully bth-1enign” tumor living in the right side of my heart—up in the atrial—is about an inch and a quarter long and three-quarters of an inch wide, tethered to the septum between the upper chambers.

“It’s like an elongated ping-pong ball,” said the doctor. “With every pump of your heart, it bounces back and forth.”

I’m sure I turned 50 shades of pale.

“Don’t worry,” he continued, “it’s not going to tear loose. It’s going to take a surgeon’s knife to get it out of there.”

Swell. Just swell. And the alternative is to do nothing but “hope” that the tumor, roughly the size of the last joint of my thumb, never gets enough congealed blood on it to create prime conditions for a cardiac arrest.

0068113174933_500X500So today I’m taking copious amounts of iron and folic acid and vitamin C and blood thinners and so forth in preparation for a very unexpected intrusion into my chest cavity. At least it will be under “controlled” circumstances and not as the result of an “attack” of any sort.

And for that, I’m very grateful.