Thursday, May 24, 2012

The day after yesterday

That's today, right?

Can I talk to you about how mundane and ridiculous things are - all of a sudden? Hearing the doctor tell me, "It is cancer, yes." and then having to pack up my stuff. Packing up my bags felt like the most ridiculous thing I had to do in that moment. I felt like suddenly the earth cracked open and some giant was going to come walking down the street with a lightning bolt in it's hand, and that wild beasts were going to eat all the people while the sky turned black and the sun died.

Because in THAT world, cancer makes perfect sense.

I got to talk with my doctor finally today and she was really warm and gracious and supportive. She even offered me sleeping pills (hah!) Generous, if not... weird. I guess it's not weird. I suppose it's normal to have some trouble sleeping when you're faced with the "worst case scenario" that is cancer.

The plan for now is that I will meet with the endocrinologist on the 31st at 2:15. After that, I think I meet with the surgeon who is an Ear-Nose-Throat (ENT) doc so we can discuss the surgery.

Given that I have had problems with my lymph nodes since this whole situation began, I am already pretty convinced that the cancer is in my lymph nodes. I'm not alarmed by that- the studies that I have read (and my doctor verified today) indicate that this type of cancer spreads slowly and my prognosis wont' change even if it's in my lymph nodes, but my treatment will (chemo? I don't know).

Let me just say - and I know you won't want to hear this but it's what's true - I am pretty confident that this is in my lymph nodes. I'm sorry. I know that is scary, but I can't lie to you. I also want you to know that I haven't spent a moment afraid. Not a single moment. That is the truth. Shocked- horrified - upset- but not scared.

I will start on TSH suppression after the endo appointment probably. The explanation my doctor gave me was excellent because I was very confused why they'd be suppressing my thyroid, but I just wasn't understanding what that meant.

TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) is released in the pituitary gland (also a VERY important gland!) It basically tells they thyroid, "hey, wake up! Release some stuff!"

The "stuff" that the thyroid releases is the very thing that feeds this kind of cancer. So we suppress the pituitary gland's messaging cues and it helps to stop the cancer hopefully from growing more while we wait for surgery.

I have no clue what this medication might be, what the risks are, what the side effects are- I won't know anything until I meet with the endo. In like.. a week. /sigh

After I go on the drugs, we do the surgery and then I begin the life-long journey of taking thyroid drugs to replace the organ that will be cut out of me. When they do the surgery they will take out the lymph nodes that have been bothering me as well and check them out for cancer.

This type of cancer can show up in other areas but I don't know if, how, when the docs will look for it. But we don't have to talk about that yet. We're not talking about it unless it happens.

I also asked my doctor if because the first biopsy didn't say 'malignant' and the second one did, does that mean we caught it early? She said that basically the first one not being benign was an indicator for cancer and that the second one just confirms it- but that it could have been in there for a long time and we just didn't know it. I'm not a fan of that, but what can you do? It's not like I can go back in time and have them do something different- as soon as I knew there was an issue, I went straight to the doctor and we started this crazy journey. I did all the right things, and will continue to do what feels right. No regrets.

My favorite things right now (the thing I turn to all day long) are the messages people leave about my blog, the comments where people are so raw and revealed and honest in how fucked up this is, that they're scared, or some really sickening gallows humor which I TOTALLY LOVE.

Right now my favorite thing to say is, "I can't pick up that sock. I have cancer." "Please get me a fork. I have cancer." "I don't want to go to town and grocery shop. I have cancer." So far it's not working, but I'm confident that sometime SOMEONE will feel sympathetic enough to let me get that one over on them. ;)

We did tell the kids last night and that went remarkably well. I was worried they'd be highly upset and they were definitely shocked but they didn't cry or freak out. Both of the boys independently said that they're not worried because they know my chances are great. What is there to worry about? I agree.

I want to talk about my husband but... I don't know what to say yet. He's amazing. He does for me what he has always done, since I was 14- he stands still and lets me fall against him and he holds me up when I am to weak to hold myself up. He's everything I need and I love that we are doing WAY more laughing about this whole thing than we are worrying.


  1. I'm so glad you're writing. Have I already said that? ;)

    I love your attitude -- your fearlessness. It's inspiring. But it's also ok to be scared. I know you know that, though. And maybe that will come, or maybe not.

    I'm here every step of the way...

  2. I'm ready for you to get the surgery already.