Sunday, April 30, 2006


I'll be honest: yesterday I had a culinary disaster...

My Low-Iodine Diet preparations have begun. One of my coworkers brought me her bread machine so that I can make my own bread, and yesterday I had visions of making wonderful bread, second only to my Nana's creations.

You have to realize that bread machines are for no-talent cooks. You dump in the ingredients and the machine does everything else... except for yesterday when it signaled that it was finished, and I found a mess of unmixed flour and gummy putty. It was Disappointment City.

I called Nana. I researched online to see if I had done anything wrong... How do you mess up two directions: dump, press start. Today I decided I would try it one more time before I returned it Monday.

Et voila! I have a beautiful honey loaf cooling in the kitchen...

Actually, I've been cooking all day. I've also made some individual meatloaves, salad dressing, and a sweet nut mix that's currently cooling. Tonight I'm either going to make brownies or muffins - I've not yet decided which. Maybe both.

My greatest accomplishments today have been breaking eggs without spilling the yolks. It slid just like Mom said it would, and it was so photogenic that Julia would've even been proud. I may get the hang of this kitchen-thing yet.

Most of my recipies are coming from this Low-Iodine Cookbook from the Thyroid Cancer Survivors Association. This webpage has been an excellent resource for me the last couple of months.


I'm in the sleepy tired place where your eyes water just to make sure your cheeks still have feelings...


Thursday, April 27, 2006


This afternoon I went to my 3-week follow-up with the surgeon. He was pleased with my progress. He also says that I'm probably not allergic to neosporin or the scar cream, and the redness was probably due to my body's natural healing responses (neutrophils and lymphocytes to the scene!).

It was a great to hear a good report.

He also gave me copies of the surgical pathology reports and the operative report. Obviously the path came back as thyroid cancer; that one wasn't a surprise. My tumor, which was located on the right half of my thyroid gland, measured 1.8 x 1.2 x 1.0 cm, and was described as hard-gritty, solid, gray-white nodule. The left half of my gland was benign.

But to my surprise there's also information about a lymph node that was taken during the surgery. Funny, methinks, since they said they told me they didn't take any lymph nodes.... The path came back with thyroid, lymphoid, and parathyroid tissue, benign for cancer.

Did I say parathyroid? As in -- they told me they "visualized all four parathyroid glands". Riiight... and now we know why the ants went marching over my face, neck, and arms. Noted.

Next, the long and short of the gruesome details: Instead of a pretty pink and soft thyroid gland, mine was hard and black in color. Not a good sign. Also the central part of the gland that connects the left and right lobes was very thin. This is why they took the thyroid in pieces instead of as a whole.

That last bit leads me to believe that my thyroid gland was on a short clock. I'm fortunate that we figured out it was cancer before it went totally kaput, which would force ermergency procedures and surgeries. That would've made me a total basketcase.

To recap: Cancer. Black. Hard. Bumpy. Bad. Gone.

And we'll prove it's gone on May 17th with the scan. Keep those prayers and good vibes aimed this way. We're not through the woods yet.


Yesterday was a sad day at work for me. You may be thinking, of course it was, you work in an oncology clinic. It's true that I have a ringside seat for some special events in people's lives, their sickness or even death, but many times it's much more rewarding than a sad experience. Death isn't always the enemy.

Or the outcome, for that matter. Medications and treatments have come a long way in twenty years. Nausea and pain medicines are much better. And more people every day are living with cancer instead of dying from cancer.

But yesterday there was a scene that was heartwrenching for me.

A patient came in for her first chemotherapy treatment. Usually on the first day everybody is nervous, and most people cry. That's okay. But this lady was almost hysterical. She was obviously uneducated and poorly groomed. An older lady was with her carrying a 5 month old baby. We don't allow children in the treatment room, so we escorted them to one of the bedrooms.

I went in to start her IV. She was sitting up on the bed, baby in her lap. The baby was crying, screaming, and they pushed a toy in front of him, one with colors and things to move, but it was really too advanced for his age. They told me that he was 5 months old and had asthma. They kept pushing a bottle to him, but he wouldn't take it. Then they told me that he was really spoilled because he coughed a lot - knowing that if he coughed, they would pick him up.

I refrained from telling them that babies who are 5 months old don't have sense enough to be manipulative...

As I continued to get my IV supplies together and look for a vein I casuallly asked what the baby's name was.


My patient looked at the other lady and said:

Patient: What is his name?
Other Lady: Uhm, I don't know. I have too many grandchildren to keep up with.
Patient: I can't remember, either.

THey weren't looking at each other, dumbfounded, wondering. They obviously didn't know the baby's name, AND they acted like it wasn't an important piece of information that they should even know.

Me: You don't know his name?
Patient: I'm not his Mother, I'm his great-aunt.
Other Lady: Oh, it's something. He has a name.
Patient: Isn't it *name*?
Other Lady: Yeah, I guess it is.

At this time the Other Lady is still trying to push the bottle to the screaming, nameless baby. She takes off the top and smells it, making a face.

Other Lady: Well, no wonder he wouldn't take it. I think it's sour.

She left the room to make a bottle, leaving me with crying, nameless baby, and my patient.

I had another nurse come to start the IV. It was too terribly sad for me to even attempt a stick. It was all I could do to keep from crying on the spot. How could they not know his name? It's not like I asked what blood type he was, or how much he weighed, or if he'd gotten all of his shots...

The other nurse came to start the IV, but Other Lady hadn't come back with the bottle. I took the baby to the other room and swayed with him until he quit crying. He liked John Denver.

After the IV was started I took him back to my patient and he went back to crying. Eventually Other Lady left with him, saying that if he wasn't going to behave, she'd just take him back to his mother. She said that she didn't know how to get him to stop crying.

I bit my tongue.

I have helped people who live in squalor. I have held hands with people as they died. I have told people that they have cancer. I have done many things and been part of many situations where other people look at me and wonder how I can cope with all the sadness around me.

But this topped them all.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Mitchum Man

The other day The Hater noticed that his deodorant sported a label stating:
If you only shave when you have to,
you're a Mitchum Man!

We've been really amused by this because we can't find a correlation between shaving and using deodorant. Last we checked, you don't put deodrant on your face, or maybe we've been wrong all these years.

If you have any enlightenment regarding this statement or concerns about our personal hygene, please let us know. Meanwhile, The Hater went to work grizzled and scruffy today, with the obvious justification ...

PS: The website also boasts that "if menage-a-trois is the only french you know, you're a Mitchum Man". Also, we took the quiz to see how manly we were and only made 60% (granted, that's with me helping). Maybe I should try his deodorant tomorrow; what a great excuse to skip shaving!

Monday, April 24, 2006


The Hater finally delcared it safe to come home. It's raining and humid here, but the really bad weather has moved on. See, he's a mountain-region kid, and they didn't play tornado games like I did growing up. When we first moved, anytime a weather warning would come on tv he'd get excited and make me put my shoes on.

Finally he matured to the tornado sirens and didn't get really excited every time they sounded. We'd calmly turn on the tv and see that danger was miles away and there was really no need to put on our jeans and shoes to fight the mighty wind.

Tonight there were multiple tornadoes west of us headed directly this way. We live on the second story of an apartment complex and really don't have a close place to seek shelter. We have his work, of course, but not a place where, if the tv mandated you take shelter immediately, we could go other than the only room without a window or on the outside corner of the apartment -- the bathroom. And although we've never actually left the house because of tornado concerns, tonight seemed like the night to do it. Several other people were pulling out of the complex as we were, too.

So when the sirens sounded and they said it would be at our intersection within thirty minutes, we threw all of our wind-up-storm-paranaphanalia and left. Don't worry- we have a carrier for the cat, which she hates.

When we came back to the apartment The Hater asked if I was mad that he "overreacted". I told him that I wasn't because when we left it really did look like we were going to be in danger. We mused that we never thought we'd get the c-bomb dropped on us -- like we never thought we'd get hit by a tornado.

With how our luck has been going lately, leaving was probably the best thing we could do. We're ready to retire from being a statistic.


We're at The Hater's workplace, down the road, listening to the wind-up radio. There's a big basement room here where we can go if things get hairy. We're getting tired of being the winder-uppers for the radio, which keeps power for about a minute every time you wind it. I'm not even going to mess with the wind-up-flashlight unless we lose power, at which point we'll also lose computer access.

Anyway, I was going to post something about the c-bomb plan for the next few weeks. This coming weekend I'll start my low-Iodine diet. A week from today I'll stop my thyroid medication. After that point it'll just be a matter of trying to keep my chin up while my metabolism plummets.

May the 15th I'll work a half day before I go to take the radioactive Iodine (RAI) treatment. After that point I'll be at home on isolation for about 5 or 6 days. Except for the 17th, when I'll go back for a full-body scan, after which we'll know for sure if the cancer has metastasized anywhere else. I'll be off work about a week and a half.

While on isolation from The Hater and Zoloft I'll have to be locked up in another room. The Hater will have to leave me food at the door. I'll have to take 4 or 5 showers a day -- because my body will process the radiation and get rid of it through sweat and urine.

As of now that's all I know. They'll tell me the next step when I'm swallowing the radiation.

We'll know more about the tornado stuff within thirty minutes or so. The sky's really getting dark around us... and The Hater assures us that we can get to the "safe room" in the basement in 60 seconds.

Update: If you're not for the Jedi powers being requested after radiation, you should vote in the poll! You have less than three weeks before RAI-day!!

tornado updates

The truth is that the tornadoes aren't really close to us right now, but that's what we're watching on tv. They're all about fifteen minutes away, but if we don't get ...

Alarms screaming. We're seeking shelter.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

20oz draft concerns

We have less than a week before the NFL draft happens, and The Hater is concerned.

It's time to have the Vince Young vs Matt Linert debate. After many, many weeks of dileberation, The Hater has decided to prefer with his personal preference of Vince Young. He says he won't be angry if the Titans choose Matt, who will be a better QB immediately.

But he's done a lot of work as Head Coach on Madden '06, at which he's played about 15 seasons with the Titans. He's learned the importance of drafting players with the potential to be great in two or three seasons. He has 7 or 8 Superbowl rings to show for it, so I think that makes him a rather reliable source.

Dear Jeff Fisher, please pick Vince as your first round choice... or I won't hear the end of it...


My job requires me to have a certain number of continuing education hours each year. The last few months I have totally been a slacker and not made much effort to get any. So instead of an exciting post today, I'm going to concentrate my computed energy towards Medscape's oncological opportunities...

I hope everybody's having a good weekend!

Saturday, April 22, 2006

spread the good news

Happy Earth Day!
Go forth and do green things...

Thursday, April 20, 2006


I was given some roses for my birthday, and they're trying to look yucky now. I think I'm going to go herbicidal on them and send them on to the big compost in the sky.

Incidently, these were the first long-stem roses that I've ever received.

Also, incidently, they weren't from The Hater. They were from my supervisor and her husband.

The Hater has no comment.

In a couple of weeks I'll get some flowers to set out on the deck. I think this year I'm going to purchase a strawberry pot and fill it with hens and chicks, too. I'll probably go with asparagus fern and ornamental pepper plants again... but the last pot -- I've got several choices, but don't know what I want to try for the hot, hot, hot all-day sun. Our porch is a warm, toasty place to be during the summer.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

roller coaster

Last night before I went to bed I was thinking about how our 96.23% stressy-lifestyle was seeming to simmer down to a modest 87.73%.

This morning in the shower I did some more thinking and was pretty sure that I was only about 64.031% stressed, which I think to be fabulous for our current situation. Things are looking up... I can still eat what I want for a couple of weeks, and our fingers are crossed for a clean scan next month.

I drove to work. I talked to my parents, who are totally stressed out about stuff going on in LBG. Granted, there's little I can do from OKC to help, but it stressed me out, anyhow. 74.49%.

By lunch I had settled to a 71.367%. But my fuse was really short and I was struggling to not snap at people. One very nice patient wanted to come tell me how her pastor's sermon this past weekend would be a really good lesson for me to hear, which was a terribly sweet gesture that I wasn't entirely in the mood to hear. Such is life. 71.37%.

In the bathroom I notice my scar is splotchy red. It doesn't itch, but lots of nerves were cut during the surgery, and I still don' t have a lot of feeling in that area. I play show and tell with some of the nurses with whom I work. One of the MDs thinks I'm having a reaction to the neosporin I was using. Who ever heard of being allergic to neosporin? 76.112%.

Mid-afternoon The Hater calls. What? No, of course I didn't try to spend $3,000 last night... Yes, of course I have my debit card... What?? Oh, yeah, it's exactly what you're thinking; someone has stolen my information and was trying to buy advertisement with Yahoo. 89.23%.

I crap you not. When it rains, it pours.

A couple of hours later he calls back to say he thinks he's fixed it. The bank and Yahoo are going to take care of us. I cut up my card. 85.7809%. Yahoo will make that account fraudulant, but will probably not press charges, even though they have contact information from the people who stole stuff. 85.79%.

We watched a movie tonight, a nice no-brainer to help distract us from the world. We ate free sandwiches for supper and free popcorn at the movies. Ace was voted off of Idol. Zoloft has discovered a box to explore. Our AC is working. My friend wore his special Christmas present sparkly boxers and showed off his exhibitionism.

I'm going to go to bed soon, settled back down to a proud 82.217%, which is still an approximate 5.03% net decrease from this time yesterday, which is a good thing, granted the scheme of things. However, if I have to strap in for another ride in order to drop some more percentage points tomorrow, I'll have no other choice but to follow Alexander...

I'm moving to Australia.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


Greatest game ever.

There's apparently a trick to winning, but my Sister won't tell me how to beat her.

So I play with blind abandon... and I have no qualms with losing to you, if you'd like to play, too.

rhyme time

This morning in the shower I tried to think of words that rhymed with the word bored. Following is a partial list of one-syllable words I came up with:
board, chord, cord, fjord, floored, foard, ford, forde, goard, gored, gourd, hoard, hord, horde, jorde, lord, mord, nord, nored, norred, oared, ord, plourde, pored, poured, roared, scored, shored, soard, soared, stored, sward, sword, ward, warde

I think I need a new shower-hobby.

Monday, April 17, 2006


This is one of those post script posts,
one that could really be filed under
"I crap you not",
or so the PG version goes...

The back story: Today I wore scrubs without any extra things to cover my throidectomy scar. My neck was commando -- full second-smile in view... because I thought it looked relatively good, to be two weeks old and all. I'm still using the Mederma and Neosporin like it's going out of style, but I really think it looks good... but I realize that being a nurse gives me a wacked-out opinion of healthcare symptom clusters.

Today one of my patients, after hearing about my recent plights with cancer and such, actually looked at me and said...
Oh! You look like Frankenstein!
And then followed with...
You know what I mean, it looks like your neck is ugly on purpose!
I crap you not. There's no real come-back for that...

But you know me, there was a come-back, but I used the one that wouldn't get me fired...

You know, the really painfully obnoxious one,
Thanks! I've never thought about it that way!

That way she could feel as guilty as I did self-conscious---
the small miracles that come from secondary education...

tick tock

It's getting close to the time I designated as my bedtime, but that was this morning before I was ready to unwind after a long day!

There's just too much life to go to bed right now!!

There's drama!

There's excitement!

There's deneumont!

I have to stay up for the rest of the story, as Paul Harvy would say... but the smart version of me says it's time to call it a day. So for those of you still awake, still burning the twilight oil, still rocking to the real world -- have a moment for me... cause I'm zonking hard tonight.

Poll Update: If you are against me having Jedi-like powers secondary to my radiation mid-May, now is the time to voice that opinion! As of right now the Jedi-vote is winning. If you were holding out for telepathy, now is the time to rock the vote...

Sunday, April 16, 2006

belated news

During all of the excitement last week I forgot to report that on Wednesday I had lab drawn... Thursday morning the physician called to tell me that not only my labwork was good, but that the hypoparathyroidism that I had experienced was probably a transient, non-permanent thing.

I don't know what was more exciting:
* Stopping the Vitamin D supplementation...
* Stopping the chalky Tums supplementation ALL THE TIME...
* Knowing that ants probably wouldn't set up permanent marathon across my face...
* Making my very own serum Calcium of 9.2, baby...
* Calling The Hater at work and telling him the good news...
* Him being as excited as I was to hear it...
* All of the above...

I'm digging these baby steps.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

the golden egg

The Hater and I have been invited to join some Easter festivities tomorrow for lunch. I just took some oatmeal chocolate chip cheesecake bars out of the oven; our apartment smells fabulous right now. I don't know if they'll make it to tomorrow... In the morning I'll make a broccoli salad before we travel northward to find where we're going.

I'm really pumped about the cookie bars. I've made this recipe a few times before, but this time it looks much prettier. The top layer of cookie is smooth and even. They'll make a pretty plate tomorrow.

Happy tax day to my fellow American readers, especially to my most avid fan, Vol Mom, who is usually giddy to see the 15th pass. I hope that everyone's numbers crunched out even.

Friday, April 14, 2006

the poll survey

They have set my date for radiation in mid-May.

Many superheroes have developed their superpowers secondary to radiation exposure. I've not found literature to support specifying which super powers you receive, but I am working on it. I do know that radioactive iodine for thyroid cancer is a higher dosage than for other thyroid disorders, so I'm pretty sure I'll have some say as to what side effects I can expect.

What superpower do you think I should request? To the right you'll notice a poll -- feel free to vote as to which superpower you think I should have. I've disabled the cookies; this way you can vote multiple times as to which powers I should request. We have about a month before I'll get radiated, so that should give us plenty of time to explore our superpower possibilities.

Please advise. Vote!

a great Good Friday

Yesterday the week caught up with me. I came home from work, changed out of my scrubs, and then was in bed before 6:15pm. I zonked through the night. It's been a long week, and I've been super tired to show for it.

But I made it through! Woo-Hoo! Welcome, sweet weekend...

Without further aideu, something entertaining:

1. YOUR ROCK STAR NAME:(first pet and current street)
Rudy Pennsylvania

2. YOUR MOVIE STAR NAME:(grandfather/grandmother on your mother’s side, your favorite candy)
Dorothy Nuggets

3. YOUR DETECTIVE NAME:(favorite animal, favorite color)
Tiger Blue

4. YOUR SOAP OPERA NAME:(middle name, city where you were born)
Parkes Lawrenceburg

5. YOUR STAR WARS NAME:(first 3 letters of your last name- last 3 letters of mother’s maiden name, first 3 letters of your pet’s name)
Gas Kes-Zol

6. JEDI NAME:(middle name spelled backwards, your mom’s maiden name spelled backwards)
Sekrap Sekrap

7. WITNESS PROTECTION NAME:(middle name, street you grew up on)
Parkes Quail

8. SUPERHERO NAME:(”The”, your favorite color, the automobile you drive)
The Blue Chevy

Yeah, I totally stole this idea from nicoleMART. You can see her fancy names, too, if you like.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

vitamin X

Is it the weekend yet?

When I was diagnosed with the c-bomb The Hater and I immediately went into an action mode and made lists of the things we needed to do. Now that the waiting and the surgery are over we've relaxed enough to have a reaction mode to our cancer. We've been really stressed the last few days; we're more than ready for the weekend.

We were talking this evening and mused at what a successful reality tv show our life would be right now. Besides the c-bomb story line, we can also sport drama at both of our jobs, with our location, and with our friends. We went from an approximate 5.4% crisis drama to an approximate 95.23% crisis drama in a month. My first idea for a title of the show would be something like Coming up Roses, but The Hater was thinking along the lines of The Middle-Weds, since three years doesn't exactly qualify us as newlyweds anymore. I would be willing to negotiate title and story line with any interested television producers. Please advise.

Meanwhile yesterday was my birthday. Due to circumstances that nobody can control, I think it qualifies as the suckiest birthday ever. The birthday c-bomb and the associated drama have really rained on our parade. For this reason, and in true Mad Hatter tradition, I am declaring a future unbirthday celebration to take place either later this summer or this fall, depending on how quickly my hormone levels recover and how quickly I feel better. I haven't decided if I want a big shindig or a small get-together, but there will be a party and fun to be had by all. It will be good times.

Things will look up soon. We're just getting tired of treading water.

Monday, April 10, 2006

the longest day

I'm happy to report that I made it through my first day back to work after surgery. It was the longest day in the history of the universe, and I'm dog tired.

Have no fear, I didn't work too hard or do too much. My coworkers took on their mother-hen roles and watched out for me. The Hater even called to check on me during the day. My parents called after I returned home to make sure I hadn't worked too hard...

And I do appreciate everybody's concern, but today went just fine. I took it easy, which is my plan for the rest of the full-time, hard-core work week. It'll be gravy.

spicy secret

It's not really my secret to tell, and I'm usually not a secret-teller, but I heard something yesterday that was just too good to keep to myself...

If you have ant problems, sprinkle cinnamon around the window sills and door jams - around the kitchen counters - and the ants will not only avoid crossing the cinnamon, it will make them not want to come back. And! Then your kitchen smells like you've been baking, not ant poison.

I had never heard of this before, but my friend's kitchen is sprinkled in cinnamon and she has nary an ant brave enough to cross a line. Now I don't know how long she'll have to keep things sprinkled or exactly the biology of why ants have a cinnamon aversion.

If you're that smart, dear entomologist, explain it to us in the comments.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

rock and a hard place

Many apologies for the lack of exciting material on the blog for a while. See, for about a month I struggled to think of things that didn't have to do with waiting to see what was wrong with me. And now for a couple of weeks I've been struggling to think of anything besides that.

So mabye I should just quit pussy-footing around and talk about it.

I don't want to sound like a whiner, but I wasn't supposed to get cancer. It was certainly not on my 5-year-Plan, and quite frankly I'd like to mulligan this hand and try again. I don't believe I have cancer to make me a better nurse or a better person, although I really can't believe that people have tried to tell me that to comfort me. I don't think there's a reason that will lead to some great good that I had a malignant tumor in my thyroid gland, although the irony would be amusing. I don't want to argue that it was part of fate or destiny or some greater plan, although it could have been.

I'm not dwelling on that because I really don't want to be a whiner. Whiners get on my nerves. Whiners need purpose and reason, and although enlightenment would be comforting, I don't feel like I need it in order to justify my current situation. I'm in a place of react and act, and quite fankly I don't have the energy to give it any more whine than that.


Facts: My surgery went well. The surgeon visualized all four of my parathyroid glands. The tumor itself was about a centimeter. There was no lymph node involvement. I return to work tomorrow.

The plan is to continue my calcium and vitamin D supplementation. My pins-and-needles have subsided for now, and I anticipate tapering off of them as the swelling subsides. I will continue my short-acting thyroid hormone medication for three more weeks, after which time that will stop and I'll go to a low-iodine diet of leaves and twigs for two weeks. After that I will take the radioactive iodine therapy, I131, on a Monday and be at home on radioactive isolation for about a week or so. I will not glow in the dark, but the thought amuses me.

At this time I'll have a total body scan to make sure that there are no other malignancies. That's when we'll know for sure that it's not moved to my lungs or liver. That report will warrent the official sigh of relief.

But we're in limbo for a while until we get that report.

So for now I'll continue talking about random things or itching. I'll probably have a fancy post aobut the removal of the steri-strips and the roller coaster that is the swelling in my throat. Just know that I'd really like for it to be about two and a half months down the road.

Saturday, April 08, 2006


I itch. I itch. I itch. I itch. I itch. I itch. I itch.

And I'm not supposed to scratch.

But I itch.

I itch, and I don't do itching well. Itch. Itch. Itch. Pshaw.

Friday, April 07, 2006


This morning I made a solo trip out to town to go by work and sign some papers so that I could officially go back to work next week. It was good to get out of the house, but by the time I got back home I was exhausted. I had a great nap before lunch.

I think next week will be a long week, too.

Meanwhile, I'm thinking that my calcium levels are still low. Although my pins-and-needles-sensations in my face and hands are better, I still have a positive Chvostek's sign and would be lying if I said I didn't tap on my face at least once an hour to see if it's still twichy. However, it's great not to have the tingling sensation all over my face for now.... the ants have gone marching somewhere else, and I'm hoping they don't return.

I'm abstaining from all bubbly beverages for now, which is sad because Mom and Dad brought me 4 cases of Sun Drop when they came to visit. And I've got a Diet Coke in the refrigerator that sings like a Siren every time I open the door... It's hard to feel good enough to want to drink some coke, but also knowing that doing so would only decrease the serum calcium and phosphorus in my bloodstream. So for now I continue drinking water and longing for the sweet bubbly nectar that awaits my recovery.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

pins and needles

I went for my scheduled appointment with the endocrinologist this morning. The bad news is that my calcium levels are still low, but the good news is that they're not so low that I need to be hospitalized. So I'm still at home, taking calcium supplements and Vitamin D supplements to treat my hypocalcemia.

Hypoparathyroidism can be induced when someone has thyroid surgery. I'll paste a picture here that shows the thyroid and parathyroid glands. (The thyroid gland is the pinkish butterfly-looking meat that wraps around the trachea, and the parathyroid glands are lavender and labeled.) The good news is that my surgeon specializes in thyroid surgeries, the better news is that he visualized all four of my parathyroid glands during my surgery (which means he probably didn't nick one of them), which means the best news is that my angry parathyroid glands causing my low calcium levels will probably only be a transient thing. We're hoping that the surgery and swelling is causing my symptoms, and that it will all resolve as everything heals.

Theres a possibility that my symptoms could be permanent, but we think it's too early to get excited about something that will probably go away in a couple of weeks.

So for now my face goes into different degrees of tingles, as do my hands and fingers. It's annoying, but better than other complications that could be happening. Exciting things we will be looking for will be muscle cramps. If the tingles start cramping, we'll be making a trip to the ER for IV calcium. Certainly not fun or something we want to do, but it's good to know that it's relatively simple fix for the possible complications.

And I've been eating lots of dairy products, too, because even though I'm taking the extra supplementation, I figure it can't hurt. And, Dear Reader, I have intentionally drank milk, too, for the first time in more than 20 years. It's as nasty as I remembered it tasting, but I'm taking one for the team and trying to drink a couple of glasses a day. Trust me, this is huge. HUGE.

Meanwhile, my neck and shoulders are stiff and I'm slowly trying to stretch and get back my range of motion. I'm not in much pain and am hardly bruised at all. Hiccups aren't much fun, but that'll get better as the swelling goes down.

The Hater has been the greatest nursemaid. This morning he helped me wash my hair and get into the tub. He also is the best gopher and hander-to-me ever. He's been absolutely wonderful and there's no award worthy of his goodness and sweetness. I couldn't've asked for a better husband. He'll be safe from the dog house for at least a week or so...

I think my parents will be traveling back to TN tomorrow morning. I'll have my first day of being unsupervised, which I think will be just fine. I'll probably watch movies between my naps and chocolate pudding.

We think the cat senses that I'm not feeling great. She's been exceptionally cuddly and sweet since I've been home from the hospital. Even now as I type she's jumped up next to me, soliciting love. She's ready for me to go to bed, and I can't disappoint my furriest fan.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

home again

I'm tickled to report that I'm no longer in the hospital. I'm minus one thyroid gland and plus a fabulous neck wound that I'm telling people I aquired in a knife fight. (Minus cancer, too, says The Hater, who has been the best nusemaid.)

My only excitement to report is some fluctuation in calcium levels after surgery. They've got me taking extra Tums around the clock, and tomorrow morning we're going to the MD's office to draw labwork (to make sure that my calcium levels aren't in the toilet). So focus your positive energies on that for me... I certainly don't want to go back to the hospital for IV calcium.

Or for their fantastic culinary advancements, either. I experienced such experiments as ground up poultry with yellow gravy that was so photogenic that we posed it for a Kodak moment... and scrambled eggs that were school bus yellow.

There's no place like home.

Thanks for all of your letters, phone calls, and well-wishes...

Saturday, April 01, 2006

the countdown begins

My parents came into the city tonight in time to invite us to supper. They made it in about 12 hours, which is about par for the course. We had a nice visit and sent them on to the hotel so they could recover.

We came back to the apartment and cleaned like mad people. The cat is terrorized by the vacuum cleaner, which always secretly amuses us. She's still running around in circles looking for it, although it's been put up for a while now.

We're caught up with laundry. I'm going to start the dishwasher soon. Then I plan on zonking hard and sleeping well tonight.

As far as the cancer goes, it's still there.

I'm trying not to be one of those people who says "I've never been sick in my life, and then I got cancer", because those patients get on my nerves. I'm trying not to be like my patients who whine and complain. Right now I'm trying most to be like my patients who always seem so graceful and held together, those who smile and emit calmness.

You know, fake it 'til you make it.


Just pluggin along...