Saturday, March 25, 2006

the c-bomb

Justified Sabbatical

I think this has been the longest absence of a new post sine the birth of this blog. The last month of so I've really had a hard time finding random things to write about because I've had some health concerns that did not have an official diagnosis, and I didn't want to scare anybody until I had a full story to tell. This post is that story.

I went to a family physician about a month ago who palpated an enlarged thyroid gland (in my neck). We drew labwork and waited two weeks for results. During that time I developed occasional difficulty swallowing dry food, like bread. The nurse called me to tell me that my labwork was fine and there was no need to worry, but they started me on a thyroid hormone medication anyway, with plans to recheck labs in six weeks. I noticed there was a slight bulge on the right side of my neck.

The next week I was working and one of my patients leaned to hug me, but it was a neck hug instead of a body hug, and it was painful. I went immediately to one of the oncologists with whom I work and asked him to look at my neck. . He said it probably was not cancer, but made some phone calls for me and refered me to an endocrineologist in the city.

Nobody is accepting new patients at this time in the city. I thought there would be at least a three month wait to even be seen. The office called me and made me an appointment for two weeks to see the physician and possibly have an ultrasound and fine-needle biopsy.

Wednesday, three days ago, I saw the endocrinologist. He, too, felt the mass on the right lobe of my thyroid gland. We did an ultrasound and found a much smaller mass on my left lobe. We biopsied both places, taking three samples from each side.

I went home and took a great nap. The doctor called while we were making lunch - the left nodule was benign and the right nodule was cancerous. I have thyroid cancer.

Dropping the C-bomb

The question was do I continue to go home for my surprise visit - or do I stay in the city. The Hater and I talked about it and decided I should continue my previous plans. I called a few close friends and headed to the airport, not three hours post diagnosis.

I sobbed in the terminal, which I think is totally fair. Some people gave me funny looks, but nobody accused me of being a terrorist, so that was good.

Sister picked me up from the airport Wednesday night. We had been planning this for a couple of weeks. She told Mom and Dad that she was going to Nashville to meet a friend and go see a hypnotist at the comedy club... and brought me home, to which they were muchly surprised.

Thursday morning I dropped the c-bomb on Mom and Dad. Thursday afternoon after Sister got off of work I dropped the c-bomb on her. Last night we had a big gathering of close family and friends, after which I dropped the c-bomb on them.

Nobody knows what to say when you drop the c-bomb, and that's okay.

The Plan

Not to panic, obviously; I gave up worrying for Lent.

Monday afternoon I begin my journey from Tennessee back to the city. Tuesday morning I'm going to work, but will leave during the day to have a meeting with a surgeon about a thyroidectomy. I won't know any more details until after that time.

My parents are planning on coming to the city for the surgery.

My Professional Opinion

Don't cry for me, Argentina. It is true that I've got cancer, and it'll be true that I'll have a time of suck to get through, but everything should be okay. The type of cancer I have is 100% treatable and has very successful treatment plans.

If you've got to have cancer, it's not one so shabby to have. I will be on a thyroid-replacement hormone for life, but it's relatively cheap. I will have to be followed by a specialist if they decide to take my entire thyroid gland.

I don't know yet when my surgery will be scheduled. I may or may not undergo radioactive iodine therapy (I-131), but I am already making Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles jokes. I doubt that chemotherapy will be involved.

Standing in the Need of Prayer

All prayers, good vibes, and well-wishes are most appreciated. I will keep you updated.

5 comments:

Vol Abroad said...

Hey, I'm sorry that this has happened and we'll keep you in our thoughts.

nicole said...

*HUGS*HUGS*HUGS*HUGS*

Oh G, I'm so sad that this happened to you. But I'm definitely relieved to hear that this is a treatable form of cancer and that you'll get through it.

*HUGS* (sorry, I can't stop doing that these days).

You sound like you've got a very positive outlook on things which is great. You've also got wonderful Hater behind you for support. You're gonna be a-ok! :)

*HUGS*

ps -- I shall definitely add you to my prayer list (which has grown considerably from cancer in the last year or so).

Lisa T. said...

Wow, what a shock. I guess that's news no one is ever prepared to hear. I will definitely keep you in my prayers. I have no doubt that you'll be able to beat this, as much energy and willpower as you have. Attitude has so much to do with a patient's recovery, as I'm sure you know.

My boss is actually preparing to undergo a new round of radioactive iodine therapy. She had her thyroid removed a few years ago and has to take the iodine periodically. She assures me that you do not glow in the dark after taking it.

Hugs and best wishes!! Make use of those paint by numbers when you start to think/worry too much!

Kris said...

Shit on a shingle. That's really super weak but at least the prognisis is good. You've got a shoulder to cry on if needed.

B:)

unsinkablemb said...

Sorry to hear the news. Sending prayers and good vibes your way...........>>>