Thursday, September 5, 2013

Medical Adventures: Part 3: It is Either Cancer or You are Completely Fine

Again, I am fine now, but there will be a bunch of scary talk for those who don't like thinking about such stuff.

My endocrinologist is pretty cool. I called her Dr. S because her last name is twice as long as mine. After we go through all the basics, she breaks it down for me. The nodule on the left side my thyroid that is not like the others has her "concerned, but not worried." What she wants to do is stab my neck with a needle and test the contents of of the nodule to see if it is cancerous or not.

I ask what happens if it does comeback as cancer. Dr. S says that they would remove the left side of my thyroid which would required hospitalization. While there, they would do a bunch of samples and if it looked bad, they would go back in and remove the whole thyroid. Then since I would thyroid-less, I would be on meds for the rest of my life. Joy. It looks pretty early so I most likely wouldn't be looking at chemo or radiation. Just removing my thyroid would be enough. Best case if it is cancer, I lose half my thyroid. Worse case, at this point, I'd lose my whole thyroid. Either way, we're looking at life long medications.

I asked what happens if it comes back as normal tissue. Dr. S says "Nothing." I wouldn't even need drugs. I would just need to do blood work every 6 months and an ultrasound every year for the rest of my life.

To sum up, it is either cancer or I'm completely fine and on a thyroid watch list.

I schedule my biopsy, but they can't get me in for THREE WEEKS.

So for three weeks, I mentally prepare myself for both outcomes. I look up Seattle's cancer centers and find out that if I do have cancer, I get free massages, free therapy and access to an art therapy clinic where I can drop in and make macaroni art whenever I want. Woo Hoo! Surprisingly, this did make me feel a bit better. They have a pretty awesome support system for cancer patients. If I did have to do chemo, they have a couple of hairdressers that make shaving your head into an event that is as minimally traumatizing as it can be.

After that, I watched 50/50 and Terms of Endearment. Because I am stupid and a glutton for punishment, that's why. I will say 50/50 is a fantastic movie and I actually watch it on my regular rotation of movies. How he tries to tell him mom he has cancer is by saying, "Mom, have you seen Terms of Endearment?" which is why I needed to watch that too. I really recommend 50/50, though. It is seriously well made and funny. The commentary track is pretty great too.

Next up: Medical Adventures: Part 4: Stabbed in the Neck and All is Good

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