For those of you who are entering this conversation now, here’s a little recap of my thyroid issue: In December I went to my normal physical with my doctor. She felt a suspicious lump in my neck. She sent me on to have an ultrasound. I was told I had large nodules….from there is was a biopsy. It was then we found out one nodule was benign the other was undetermined. Both were quite large. I had the option to wait it out..go through the biopsy process all in three months again or to have surgery. If I opted for surgery I could have the undetermined side removed and the good left or have it all taken.
I opted to have it all taken. Last week on Thursday was the surgery date. I’ve been recovering nicely.
Today was my trip back back to Lacrosse to check in with my surgeon. I really only expected a formality visit. They’d take out the stitches…he’d tell I could shower normally and drive. All good. In light of that Hubby decided we’d do errands in Lacrosse on the way. He needed to go to Menards. I needed groceries and wanted to go to JoAnn’s. All the way there we chatted about where we were going to eat and when we’d eat. Hubby had a meeting that he needed to get back for but I was campaigning for the Mexican restaurant on the way home in Waukon. If we did that we’d need to just grab a sandwich now….so we grabbed something at the convenience store with the expectation of a nice supper out.
We got into Lacrosse and decided there was enough time to hit Menards before the doctor. I didn’t have phone, I forgot it at home, to GPS directions to Menards but Hubby was sure he could get there….About a mile into town on the way…the truck started acting up. There was a crazy ping-ping failure alarm going off that said low oil pressure. We pulled into the closest Kwik Trip and Hubby popped the hood. He called our mechanic and asked what he thought. In the end we made the decision to just try to get me to the doctor. Hubby would deal with the truck while I was in my appointment.
We started out good with no alarms but by the time we got to the clinic the alarm was pinging all over again. UGH. I went into my appointment worried about the truck. We were almost two hours from home. What were we going to do? I didn’t have my phone.
I checked into the doctor’s. They took me back. It was all I expected. The nurse took out my stitches. I waited a bit and the surgeon came in. He checked my neck and told me I looked good and asked how I felt. Then he told me the pathology report was back and I have follicular thyroid cancer.
Wow. I have cancer.
I didn’t expect that. I didn’t expect that at all.So I am a person who makes up the 10% of people who have undetermined nodules who end up with cancer….
Now what does that mean? I’m not really sure. I did ask if he knows what’s next for me. Being the surgeon, he couldn’t be exact…my doctor would be talking to me on my next appointment of the 25th. From the sounds of it I will likely be taking a radioactive thyroid medicine…no chemo. No radiation. From my understanding what happens is my blood levels are tested and then I am given a radioactive medication to ingest. I then am radioactive and have to stay on my own without anyone else around for a couple days. Then I’m good to go.
At this point that’s really all I know.
There are many things to be thankful for. Survival rate for this is high. It’s one of the most curable cancers. All of my thyroid have already been removed. If I had opted for one side only, I’d now have surgery scheduled to have the other side removed. Even though I just found out what I have, I am already on the road to recovery. That’s wonderful news.
So out of the doctor’s office I’m waiting for Hubby to show up in the lobby. I know I have to tell Hubby. He wants to know my results. I want to get out of the hospital before I have to say it out loud. I ask about the truck. I’m trying to figure out how to make the cancer not sound bad. There just isn’t a way. I say what about the truck again…he says what about you. I say truck first. He says…not good. What’d the doctor say he asks? I don’t want to say. I never want to say. I want to ignore it but know I can’t. I have thyroid cancer I say. He stops. I push him ahead. I want to get in the elevator where I won’t have to talk about it for a minute before I have to explain it all. I don’t really care about me. I don’t want to hurt him and I know it will hurt him to hear it. In the parking ramp…I’m a little more together now. I tell it all. Telling the first time is the hardest.
I tell him everything you’ve just read. He’s quiet.
We start talking about the truck again and start figuring out if we can or how we’ll get home.
The oil pressure is the problem. We stop and add oil to the truck. We do what we can to hurry out of town…no Menards. No groceries. No JoAnns. We talk and drive. Drive and talk. We listen to the truck. I finally ask for his phone and start calling the kids. One by one they are told each time they are told not to call the others until I’ve told them all. Each time I tell…it’s easier.
I’m still not all that bothered by the diagnosis for me…I still am more bothered that my problem will become Hubby’s problem. It will become the kids’ problem. For me it’s just a step by step process. I have to do whatever I am told. On the 25th, I go to the doctor and learn the next step and then do it. For them it’s a scramble. Who watches the dog? Who has to change their schedule? Who has to wonder if they’ll have thyroid issues?
The truck goes along pretty good. The alarm comes on again…then off. Will we make it home? I have Kelli on stand-by to come if needed.
We make it to Caledonia. We find a Chevy dealer. He put the truck on the computer and it seems it’s just a sensor that has gone out. The guy was awesome. Apparently Hubby told him -My wife has thyroid cancer and we are on the way home. He needs to tell it to. He hasn’t told it yet. As annoying as the truck trouble was I am thankful that he had a chance to say it. The more it’s said, the easier it is. The sweet mechanic didn’t charge him a dime. He said we had enough for one day. He was right. It’s been enough.
We finally made it home. Kalissa came with pizza. I messaged my childcare parents. I have to tell them.
I write the blog post. I have to tell it again. It’s easier…easier every time.
Things will be different for a little while….but I’m still me. I’m just me with cancer…but cancer that has already started to be treated. The largest culprit has been removed. I’m already on the mend. I am so happy about that.
I’m sure there’s some reader reading this who better knows what’s next for me. It’s a long wait until the 25th when I get official doctor’s word. If you can share your story, I’d appreciate it lots.
My little nephew sent me the cutest drawing…He calls me “Aunty Jo Gracie” after our old beagle Gracie.
It was another chance for me smile today!! Thanks Matt!!