I had great intentions to send out an update before this, but time flys when you're having fun...
Monday I woke early and did 8 loads of laundry while The Hater was atwork. I stripped my bed and washed everything. (Not to mention thetwo loads that didn't get done over the weeknd while I was still inisolation.)
Tuesday was my first day back to work, and it really was a doosey. I had forgotten how crazy tired I would be! But my coworkers are great, so it worked out okay.
Wednesday was another tiring day, but I smarted up (yes, that's aword), and started a list of things I needed to do before I left the house. I've done well with the list today and will likely have another list tomorrow.
What else? What's next?
Thursday I had a"post scan" here where I work. The purpose of this scan is multi-fold: First, we want to see for sure that the cancer cells are uptaking the treatment. Over time sometimes they quit wanting to play radioactive Iodine games; so we hope to see some evidence of disease on this scan. We want to see "hot spots" to know that the treatment is working. Next, we want to see where those "hotspots" are. Ideally, they'll only be around the place where my thyroid gland was. We don't want to see "hot spots" in different parts of my body, not in the lungs, not in the brain, not on the liver, not anywhere else -- except the "thyroid bed".It'll be next week before I hear about the results of this scan, but we have really good vibes about it.
Unofficially, some of my coworkers and I have been playing with the geiger counter. This is a machine that they use in radiation areas to measure the amount of radiation (or leakage). Also, this is the first cousin to the fun machine that's used in the Ghostbuster movies, too. It looks like a small, wanded version of a metal detector; the closer it gets to radiation, the arrow moves from left to right (more right being more radiation exposure), and the beeps get closer together...
So yesterday we were playing with this machine to see how "hot" I still am. (Mind you, I've been cleared by nucler medicine to return to work and be around people, so long as I don't spit on them.) Well,unofficially, I am still off the chart. The arrow went back almostall the way to the right, and went the furthest right when close tothe base of my neck. Arguably, this is not scientific and no substitute for a real scan, but preliminary findings lead us tobelieve that we have uptake in the thyroid bed ONLY. We hope that theofficial findings are as positive.
So this scan will tell us everything we need to know?
No, it's not that easy. Next May of 2008 I will have another set of scans and lab draws to determine how well this treatment worked. We have to remember that thyroid cancer really is a horse of a different color, and it's timeline is not as quick as some of the other cancer treatments.
Next May we're praying for "totally clear scans" AND a tumor marker"LESS THAN ZERO". We have complete faith that this treatment zapped all of the remaining cells in my body... but if for some reason I still have pesky cells hanging around, I will be referred to specialists at a major cancer center for evaluation and further treatment.
I know it's hard to ask people not to worry, so I'm not even going to bother. Instead I'd rather call upon the teachings of a brilliant professor I had at MTSU. He used to say that teaching was never a matter of motivating kids. Kids were already motivated -- to talk, to play, to look out the window, to pull Jane's hair. Instead, he taught us that to be successful, we would need to rechannel their motivation into a more constructive outlet, like multiplication tables.Scientifically, we say that energy is neither created nor destroyed.We say there is a finite amount of energy on this planet, and it takes turns being passed around from one thing to another. (and they said I'd never use what I learned in Pedagogy... You may recognize this analogy if you're a dedicated haiku reader because I'm sure I've used it before in relation to prison reform.)
Given that we're energetic beings, I'm not asking you not to worry, because the best of worries are a symptom of caring for me, and I really do appreciate that. Instead, I challenge you to rewire your worry. Rechannel it. Turn it into a prayer. Pray that this treatment keeps on working until EVERY LAST ONE of those stupid cancer cells are dead. Imagine your worry in a bubble, and float that bubble up to Heaven with wishes for a NEGATIVE tumor marker.
Satan uses worry and doubt against us, and breeds fear to make us feel far away from God (or whatever name you call Him). But the truth,dear friends, is that God is always right here next to us. He wantsus to ask for His help, and He wants to be helpful. He's been with us since the c-bomb dropped, and we know He'll be with us until forever,despite what the scans say in May.
Meanwhile, I'm still tired. My mouth tastes like exhaust pipe in the dead of Summer (after an old double-loaded tractor trailor has justclimbed Mounteagle Mountain). I'm borderline-constipated (expecting the grand exodus soon). But each day is one step closer to the day whenI feel better, and that is great news.
We hope that each of you are doing well, having a fantastic week. We hope you have big Thanksgiving plans. We hope you know how much we appreciate your friendship and your concern.
Please keep us in the loop if you have exciting things going on, too. It's times like these when we like to hear about other people's drama.
37 minutes ago