Tuesday, August 7, 2012
Liesl had this picture up on Saturday and it is the exact imagery for life right now.
I mentioned a few weeks ago that I had some follow-up tests done for my thyroid cancer. They were normal tests that I will have done every 6 months for a few years, until I am deemed cancer-free enough to pull back on the tests. I had gotten the results of the blood test (which showed, in the words of the medical assistant, "No signs of cancer.") but had been waiting quite impatiently for the results of my neck ultrasound.
The neck ultrasound looks from the jawline, down just past where my thyroid used to be. The tech starts with one side (the right side for me which was also the side my cancer was one) and then moves to the other side. After finishing the right side, I asked the tech if everything looked alright. He had spent quite a bit of time in one location, taking lots of pictures and taking several measurements. And that had made me nervous. Turns out, I had some kind of a "nodule" (which is code for anything since the ultrasound can't different between things like cysts, lymph nodes, and I'm guessing glands) that was a little large.
I kind of starting freaking out. He began the left side in the exact mirrored place I had the large "nodule" and immediately said, "Well you have the same thing over here, so that's probably good." But we had to wait for the official word before I could really breathe a sigh of relief.
A couple of weeks ago, I finally get the results of my neck ultrasound. I answered the phone one day during lunch and my doctor was on the other end. That's usually never a good sign. He informed me that I had some enlarged lymph nodes (as he called them) that needed to be further investigated. He wasn't too worried about it, since my blood test was good. But he felt obligated to make sure everything was fine. He told me not to worry and that I would have another whole body scan and a stimulate-Tg blood test. He said most people have another whole body scan 6 to 12 months after their surgery anyway, so I was kind of due.
Then I got to go back to work.
After a LOT of crying and freaking out and Googling like crazy, I am doing a lot better with the information. I honestly just can't believe that I could possibly have something wrong. My blood test was fine. I JUST had a whole body scan 3 months ago that showed nothing. And I had caught this cancer when it was small, fully encapsulated and all of the surrounding lymph nodes they removed during my surgery were cancer free. I had gone above and beyond what I needed to do to take care of this. Afterall, my surgeon and first endocrinologist said I didn't even need to have the second surgery or do the Radioactive Iodine.
I was going to wait to share this news until after I got my tests scheduled, but apparently that takes FOR FREAKIN' EVER!! Having these tests done requires the low-iodine diet (yay...) and being hypothyroid (double yay...). Since nobody (and I mean NOBODY) wants to see me stop taking my thyroid meds again, I am going to be getting Thyrogen shots which will allow me to keep taking my meds and still get the tests done. If you want to know how that works, I just figured it out today. E-mail me and I will let you know.
My mom and mother-in-law both offered to pay for the shots so I wouldn't have to go hypo again, but the shots are pretty expensive I guess, so insurance plays a BIG ROLE in getting the tests scheduled. I am hoping to find out when it is schedule this week. If I don't, I think all parties involved (endo's office, health insurance, and Thyrogen manufacturer) will be getting an earful from me. But currently, it is looking like I won't find out if these nodes are fine or not until September sometime.
Not to make this the LONGEST blog post in the history of blogs, but after a lot of reflection, I feel like there are some silver linings coming from this experience:
1) After all these tests, we will know if these nodes are a problem or not. We can move forward and deal with it if they are. And if they are fine, then we know that for the future when I have neck ultrasounds done.
2) I get to realize again how loved and supported I am. The few people I have talked to since getting this news have been so supportive. I'm reminded again of just how many great people I have around me and in my life.
3) I honestly believe that part of this may be God's way of driving home the practice of patience. I am not patient. And I was really starting to get anxious about fertility stuff. I was getting myself all worked up, thinking about how huge that process would be and how badly I wanted a baby, etc. And having to deal with the possibility of there being something wrong again has kind of knocked me back into perspective. Fertility stuff will be hard. But no matter what the outcome, Phil and I will be alive and healthy and we will get our family somehow. I need to take these big challenges one at a time and not let my mind race 12 steps ahead.
So I do feel like I am being pulled back. I thought I was done with the cancer chapter of my life and here I sit, waiting for tests again. But I feel like it will be ok. And I feel like I am being prepared to shoot forward to something great.
Again, I'm going to ask for your prayers. As positive as the end of this post has sounded, I am really really scared that something might be wrong. And obviously, I really don't want to have anything wrong. I am ready to be healthy for a while. :)