Monday, November 2, 2009

Family field trip

We had a unique opportunity to experience the inside of the pathology lab at the hospital today. My boys have been asking questions all along trying to understand what has made "Mom" so sick for so long. We arranged through my doctor to meet with the pathologist where my diagnosis began.

Today the boys got a day out of school to personally meet with the Director of Pathology at my hospital and tour the Pathology Laboratory where no one is usually allowed to enter.

It was truly an amazing experience for all of us to witness what goes on behind closed doors in the closed off basement of the hospital. It felt like something out of a movie. The doctor first spent a good deal of time with us in his office with one of the most powerful microscopes I've ever seen. He taught the boys the difference between healthy cells and cancer cells and then they had the opportunity to see with the microscope what my cancer cells looked like. At 7 and 9 they learned about mitosis and how cancer cells divide uncontrollably and invade surrounding tissue. He was careful to point out that everyone in the lab treats each microscope slide as a real person and not just some cells and some dye. Behind each slide is a real person with a story and it is up to them to interpret correctly what those cells are doing.

We were able to tour through the entire pathology lab and meet with the doctors and technicians to see the process of identifying disease from beginning to end. We saw the hundreds of tissue samples from biopsies and the process of making those samples material to be studied and diagnosed. A far more complicated process than we all imagined.

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