Surgery went great. I’m still healing and very tired, yet I already feel better than I did before the surgery. It is amazing what not having gangrenous bone in your jaw will do for you. I’m already reading and video gaming better than I was on Thursday.
As for my writing… it was four hours before I started the entry below and I finished it, and it’s basically a paraphrase of the wikipedia article.
First, let’s guess from etymology. Fair warning, this paragraph is basically throat clearing as my brain gets used to writing again. Witness that step one was “google “etymology” to make sure I didn’t confused it with entomology or etiology again”. Step two: para usually means alongside of, neo means new, plastic means… well in biology it means “flexible in response to stimulus”, but I’m not sure if that’s true for medicine. A neoplasm is an abnormal growth, including but not limited to a cancerous tumor, and cells in these growths are referred to as neoplastic cells, and its root is plasma, meaning formation, so I was kind of close but I’m still glad I looked it up. Syndrome means “a set of symptoms that we are pretty are linked.” Putting it together, paraneoplastic syndrome means “a set of symptoms connected to a tumor but actually caused by the tumor itself.”
Dr. Wikipedia says I’m mostly correct. Paraneoplastic syndrome refers to symptoms caused by the body’s response to the tumor (such as your immune system correctly identifying the cancer as bad overgeneralizing and attacking healthy cells), or because the tumor itself is secreting a messenger molecule in unhelpful ways. For example, your adrenal glands produce cortisol. The volume produced is moderated by an incredibly intricate system of checks and balances. If some of the cortisol producing cells turn malignant, the may either change the balance of power (too many cells receiving a “go” message) or they may lose the ability to respond to signals all together and get stuck in the on position. This leads to an overproduction of cortisol, which can affect any organ influenced by cortisol, even though they’re no where near the tumor.
Why does this come up on House so often? Because it’s a single explanation for failure in multiple organs, and still leaves a great deal of mystery about where the root cause lies. Pretty much perfect for House.