Dr. Birnbaum came by this afternoon with Dr. Whitlinger. Dr. Birnbaum is the neurologist called in by Dr. Crooks. Dr. Whitlinger is an oncologist who works with Dr. Hacket. They delivered the bad news. The spinal tap shows a lot of active, malignant cancer cells. Dr. Birnbaum says the fact that the spinal fluid contains malignant cancer cells is a sign they have spread beyond the spinal area to the whole body. His take is that the cancer is interfering with neural transmissions, which is the cause of Sue's muscle failure, as well as the cause of Sue's pain.
But also in the past ten months we have acutely tuned in to another lesson not specifically tied to the cancer diagnosis. People have asked, what's Sue's prognosis? And both Sue and I have replied that her prognosis is the same as yours and mine: None of us know when our time is going to be up. On the other hand, she now has a better fix on the answer to that question than you or I do, and in some ways she may be better off for it.