Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Post-op appointment

What a wild day, for many reasons. My post-op appointment was supposed to be the major event for the day, and turns out it was the most mundane thing that happened today.

Let me get to it.

We met with Dr. Harper today for my post-op. I really do like her a lot, I wish we had more occasion to work together besides her desire to cut people's body open and my desire to stay intact. We just chatted a bit about our experiences since the surgery and outlined a few areas where things could have gone better. She said she'd talk with the people involved herself and make some adjustments- that's just what you want to hear when you have valid issues, you want to hear there is going to be action!

She was really positive about my healing, and said that my calcium levels in the ER would have been normal or they'd have alerted us to them. I had reviewed my lab values myself and they were all within normal ranges, so my parathyroids must be healing nicely and doing their job! We have some new labs ordered to see how I'm adjusting to my medication and how my Vitamin D is doing now that I'm taking it more often, I'll do those before I leave for the Redwoods.

She was surprised to hear my voice still sounding so high, and hoarse, and to hear that I'm still having 'breathy' issues. I run out of breath while talking, I get winded very fast, etc. This is all due to a probably paralyzed or sluggish vocal cord. She said to give it a month from now and if it's not better, that she'd refer me to an ENT (Ear-Nose-Throat) doc and we'd talk about possible treatments, the most fun one being to put me asleep and inject some kind of stuff into my paralyzed cord to bring it back to a normal size/whatever so it would function properly. Oooh. That sounds fun.

Tonight I thought, hey, would I rather have a needle down my throat or radiation? I'll take a needle in my throat, thank you.

I was thinking about the pre-op photo I took of my neck, and how I was very in the moment with my feelings, and acknowledging that I would never look the same. I am still trying to get used to this scar, and what it does to my neck. I was at a farmer's market recently and a kid straight up asked me, "Did you have surgery?"I was really glad he asked me so directly and we could just talk, rather than having him stare at my neck like I was Frankenstein's daughter or something. I plan to concoct some kind of awesome story to explain my scar. So far all I've got is, "I was in a knife fight and someone stole my thyroid." It's cool, but doesn't have enough.. I don't know... panache. I'm accepting ideas. ;)

I think in some ways this whole cancer thing is still hitting me. It started and ended so fast, I sometimes still think to myself, "Holy crap, I had CANCER." Cancer? Seriously? *ME?* How in the world did that even happen?

Randy and I were talking today about how I fought cancer and won. I admitted that I don't feel like I did anything more than what was required of me to survive. You get hungry, you eat. You get cancer, you get treatment. Done, and done. It didn't require a whole lot of mental acrobatics to understand my treatment, I just had to do it. It was hard, harder than anyone told me it would be- but it wasn't a fight, it was more like a surrender. I had to surrender to having cancer so that I could survive it, if that makes sense. I had to let go of expectations about what my life was going to be, and accept a new reality, and give in to what was scary and hard. By surrendering, I won the fight. Weird, but that's how it's done I guess.

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