Tuesday, September 17, 2013


I feel like I'm swingingly wildly from doing a good job letting go and moving forward at an organic pace, meeting the moment, and then clutching at anything that seems remotely familiar while battling the urge to burst into loud and what will surely be, public tears.

I do not feel that desperate urge to scream to the world that I have cancer. For one thing, I don't know if I do. Emotionally, it feels the same. It feels like I already know I have cancer. It's not like manifesting it, it's knowing that like Schrodinger's cat, I will always be IN and OUT of the cancer box. Forever. So whether I have it or not, both are true, and I get to have all the feelings and worries that come along with that.

Yesterday and today I had my Thyrogen shots. I'm going to write about it a bit because information just does not stick in my head these days and repeating myself helps, hopefully. I realize you may have read this here before but it helps me, so just bear with it.

The thyroid has these little glands on it called parathyroids. They don't get removed during a thyroidectomy, the thyroid tissue gets carved away from them so they remain intact. Consequently some cells get left behind. Many patients have radiation treatment which ablates these cells to make sure that absolutely no thyroid is left where cancer can resume growing.

I did not have radiation as my cancer was on the borderline of what they feel 'requires' radiation. They left it up to me and I decided not to have it. Thus, there are thyroid cells left behind. The Thyrogen shot acts like TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone), basically telling the remaining thyroid cells to do their thing. Thyroid cells (cancerous or not) will release thyroglobulin in this situation, so when we do a blood test and look for Tg, we know that there are some thyroid cells remaining (but it doesn't indicate whether or not they're cancerous).

You want multiple readings over time, and you want it to trend downward.

I looked at my test results again today and the first one I had was .3, the second was .7. I'll have the blood test on Friday and once I have that number, should be able to see a trend. It should trend downward. If it trends up, that's no bueno, so that's what's we're looking for with this next blood draw.

I hope that all makes sense. That's what I'm in the midst of right now. The shots don't have much in the way of side effects for most people, just some fatigue and flu-like symptoms. I am having that, just a bit- queasiness and a general 'off' feeling.

I've started talking about it all a little more freely. I've spent my entire life worrying that I was burdening people any time I needed something. Surely they'd run out of tolerance for my neediness and go away from my life. I have always tried hard to just take care of myself and not need other people. When I was 35 weeks pregnant and finding out at a doctor's appointment that I needed to be rushed away for a cesarean because my baby was in distress, I didn't call anyone, because I didn't want to bother anyone. I figured they'd be irritated to have to find babysitters or leave work or whatever, so I figured I'd just go it alone if Randy couldn't make it on time. The irony is that if a friend told me that story, I'd be crushed to think that she thought she'd bother me- but the shoe is on this foot and that's exactly how I felt.

So this whole thing is hard for me. I don't want to wear anyone out by talking about it, and I remember feeling this way last time, too. I have a therapist this time but she doesn't know anything about all of this yet, so that will be a fun appointment next week.

I had a talk with a friend the other day who said, "Kristina, you're not burdening other people by just living your life. You're just responding to what's happening in your life. There's nothing unusual about that. We're all just doing that."

I felt like I finally got it, I finally realized that it's okay for me to say that this is happening to me right now. If people feel burdened by my needs, they'll take care of themselves and move on, but it doesn't mean I can't or shouldn't have the needs I do. I need connection and to laugh, and to be able to fall apart while driving down the road unexpectedly, and to suck my tears in when it's inconvenient to be a mess and not be questioned when I do it, and to talk about a million other topics and come back to this one over and over.

I'm grateful to have come as far as I have in the last year that I can be with this whole thing in a new way, even if I have to be with it in the old way, too. I was telling Randy that I like to do things the 'optimal' way- the way that will leave everyone feeling heard and supported and connected, and if I can get by without taking a hit, awesome. Today I just am getting through, and sometimes I hurt people's feelings or overreact and I don't mean to, but I no longer restrain myself to the point of always responding 'correctly' with calmness, generosity, and compassion. Sometimes I just.don't.have.it. Sometimes all I can do is walk away and close a door and breathe deeply, leaving the other person to wonder what tornado just swept through the house.

Somehow this feels more authentic to me, to react instead of.. respond. I never got to do that, and here it is, being thrust on me- and while it's hard, it also is very liberating.

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