March 20, 2013

Surgery and Serendipity

So I've REALLY been putting off making this blog post. I think I kept hoping the outcome would change. But before you start seeing new 'scar pics' from me, I wanted to update y'all on the latest.

About a month ago I was on my low-iodine diet getting ready for Radioactive Iodine treatments and preparing to be in isolation for three days. I had all kinds of blog posts planned for my isolation period, I had books and movies and crafts all lined up to occupy my time. Well none of that happened. I even had enough flowers sent to me to fill a small florist. But the Radioactive Iodine never happened so neither did the isolation.

I knew from Day 1 that this could be a possibility. "But it only happens very rarely," my doctor said. HA! I am ALWAYS the 1% or 5% or whatever. Pretty much when I'm told, "This hardly ever happens," I know it's going to happen to me, I'm 1 in a million, what can I say?

Anyway - I had my Thyrogen injections on Monday and Tuesday and that went fine (these injections are made from the ovaries of hamsters, BTW, wild, huh). Tuesday afternoon I was given a small dose of the R131 treatment. After that I had a scan done of just my neck/head region.

The next morning I woke up and Mama Wanda drove me to the hospital. I just had this feeling that things weren't going to go as planned. The day before they'd explained that when I got there, I'd go in, get the pill, and leave immediately, it was to be a very quick morning. It took them too long to call my name when we checked in. Way too long. And it's never a good sign when Nancy my Nuclear Medicine chica summons me not cheerily, but by saying, "Dr. Frieze is on the phone, he wants to talk to you." Crap.

Dr. Frieze explains that there was an area that showed a high concentration of iodine and that is worrisome considering it means that there is remaining thyroid tissue and with no thyroid - that ain't 'sposed to be there!

He orders an ultrasound to get a better look at the area and possibly an MRI (well, with my luck, I knew I'd have to have the MRI). This is where the story gets cool:
I lay down on the ultrasound table and try to get as comfortable as I can. The tech immediately recognizes me from my biopsy I had back in July and asks how I've been, I give her the 30-second version, "IgotmarriedinOctoberfoundoutIhadthyroidcancerinNovemberhadsurgeryinDecemberandamsupposedtobegettingradiationrightnowbutinsteadIamhere."
She then confides in me that she's been dealing with her own struggles as she had recently miscarried a baby at 36 weeks pregnant. My heart dropped. She was feeling a pain much deeper than my pity party. My eyes watered up and we talked about our prayer lives and how calming it can be sometimes to just trust that somehow God has a plan, even in our darkest days. We truly connected in that few minutes and I'm still trying to find a way to do something nice for her. Figuring it was time to get back to business, she asks me where the questionable spot was on the scan, I just casually pointed to my right side of my neck, "I think it's here." She does the ultrasound and finds not one, but two sketchy masses and does her cool little picture taking of them (it makes a cool swishing sound). Before finishing though, she says she better send the images quickly and make sure that's what they wanted before she sends me back. She returns with a funny look on her face and tells me that she's not sure why I pointed her in the direction of the right side of my neck, because the spot that had shown up on the scan was in the front of my neck, where my thyroid used to be. But that now my doctor was more concerned with the two spots she found... accidentally... The original spot ended up being normal. Go figure. My surgeon is still amazed at that chain of events and he even surmised that someone was winking at me, that it was total serendipity that the ultrasound tech checked that side. I get goosebumps thinking about if I had known to tell her to check the front of my neck and if she might not have even check the right side...
Back to the big picture: I ended up getting the MRI, had a panic attack in the first 2 minutes and got to take a nice little trip to Ativan-land where I was able to relive my wedding day, but we didn't look like ourselves... we were all GUMMY BEARS. Yes, it was awesome. The MRI proved inconclusive, so I had a biopsy the next day.

I think you can guess by now what the biopsy showed, but yes - it showed that both lymph nodes were positive for metastatic cancer. Fast forward and I'm googling the terms Modified + Radical + Neck + Dissection. Barf-city. Don't do it. And don't be like my smart friends who, when I gave them the news in a text message and told them not to google it, and they did anyway.

I'm going to have a much larger incision this time and will most likely have a drain in place to get rid of the excess fluid. Surgery is next Tuesday, March 26. The reason it's taken so long is because my surgeon wanted me to be his only case of the day. Womp womp.

Sooner or later I'll post my sweet little project that is going to be my Relay for Life fundraiser.

Until then - peace! <3
Not your average "here's my ultrasound" pic,
but those are the two heifers in my neck .

1 comment :

  1. The hamster is freaking me out. I love you! You are constantly in our prayers.


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