Tuesday, October 27, 2009

#41: Not Have Cancer Anymore

So hey, who'd have thought when I made this list that a.) 'not have cancer anymore' would be on it, and b.) it would be the first thing I'd scratch off?

Ok, so this one time way back in April we're both studying and I look up and Joel's squinting at me like he does sometimes and I'm all, What?  And he's like, You have an Adam's apple and I'm all Dude, I do NOT have an Adam's apple.
But it turns out that I sort of did.  And we had no family doctor at the time so it took a while to get one, and then she poked and prodded my apple and was all, Ehhh, I'm not concerned but I'll send you for an ultrasound.  And the ultrasound people ultrasounded it and were all, Ehhh, we're not concerned but we're going to send you to an endocrinologist for a biopsy.  And then the endocrinologist stuck some needles in my neck and I did not like it.
ANYways, the results came back suspicious but inconclusive which means that it may or may not be cancer, but that even if it is cancer, it's what they call an 'indolent' cancer which is the opposite of an 'aggressive' cancer.  So!

Tuesday night we have steaks, and then consider night-nachos because I'm not allowed to eat after midnight, and while we are considering night-nachos we fall asleep.  We are not made for this sort of lifestyle.

Wednesday morning Joel takes me down to the hospital and they whisk me off right away to the Patient Storage Locker, which is big and square and full of people lying in beds either bored or unconscious.  And they give me one of those little nighties that opens in the back which I totally put on wrong at first, and also a skeezy robe and some booties, one of which is broken.
And then Ridiculously Kind Nurse #1 keeps bringing me toasty blankets straight from the little blanket oven where they keep them warm (no jokes) and checking to see how I'm doing but other than that I'm just lying there in my little crib for close to two hours watching an orderly change the sheets.

And then like eight people come by one at a time to ask me all the same questions about who I am and if I have any allergies and what my birthday is and whether I understand the procedure that's going to be done to me and I'm tempted to make jokes about it still being me in this bed but I get that they're just doing their jobs and trying to make sure that no one accidentally goes in after, say, one of my kidneys by accident.  Plus, every time someone comes by I'm all, Yay, a person!  I WILL ANSWER YOUR QUESTIONS!

And then Ridiculously Kind Nurse #2 comes to bring me into the OR Patient Storage Locker and I'm all, Wheeee, something is happening!  And she's like, Ahhh, not so fast.  You're probably just going to have to wait in there for a while, and also, I'm going to need to take your glasses now.

So I end up waiting in there for another half hour only now I'm blind, and then the surgeon comes by to ask me if I understand the procedure and to please indicate the lump for him and then he scribbles on me with some marker and leaves.  The man is seriously a robot.

And then the anesthesiologist comes by and looks vaguely like Joel and this is comforting, except that I haven't got my glasses on so he could really look like Charo for all I can tell.  ANYway, I give him a heads up that needles make me faint, and he says that if I can go ahead and faint I'll be doing half his job for him.  He is pleasant and I like him.

And then Ridiculously Kind and Probably Not That Much Older Than Me Nurse #3 comes to wheel me into the OR and introduces me to the three other Nurses in the room as though I were a pal of hers and not just some specimen they were going to dissect, and then I'm on the table and they're all fussing around me and sticking things to me and it's like being at the spa but less relaxing.

And then the anesthesiologist pokes a needle in the back of my arm and is all, That was the bad part.  But this is the good part!  And he holds up a syringe full of something brownish so I can see.  This is your rum and coke, he says.  It's your Kahlua and milk! says one of the nurses.  Your bellini! says another.  And while I'm trying to think of a cocktail suddenly it's six hours later.

So I'm back in my crib in the Patient Storage Unit and I'm conscious again and no nurses are coming to check on me and I haven't got my glasses on and my voice is broken and I can't make any noise and I feel like nothing so much as an infant.  A terribly bored one.  And it's half an hour before I can get anyone's attention and have them bring me a phone so I can call Joel, and also my glasses and my book.

And before Joel gets there, the surgeon comes back to say some stuff about the surgery, about how it went well or about how they found an army of gremlins growing in my throat or who knows, because I was still HIGH as a kite and I remember nothing except that he came.  I think.  That also might have been Charo.

And then Joel comes with a pot of yellow lilies only one of which is open, which are my favorite way to get flowers because then you get to watch them open one at a time and it's like a science project, or an advent calendar.  And then he sits there for another four hours studying while I alternately sleep and pretend that I am not sleeping.

And finally they decide that I can go home except that putting my pants on gives me the faints, and they want to keep me but Joel talks them into letting me leave and I am miserable by this point because I only thought I felt fine, and all this putting on of pants has made me realize that I feel horrible and I want to be in bed.  But we have to go fetch me some T3s and it's late and we drive all over town looking for a pharmacy that is open and I am queasy as hell but swallowing hurts so much that I can't stand the thought of...reverse-swallowing, as it were.

And I thought that I wanted to eat some yogurt when we got home because I had had nothing since the pre-op steaks except some jello that they brought me, and to be honest Joel ate most of that because my throat felt like razor blades and sea salt, but upon further consideration it turned out that I did not want to eat yogurt because I was already sleeping.

Ok and then the test results came back cancerous, so a month or so later we did it all again except without the accidental mutism (PHEW!) and I stayed in hospital TWO days and my mom and sister came to visit and then I went home and felt like shit for a few weeks because my thyroid was gone, and then they gave me adequate thyroid-replacement-in-a-jar pills and now my eyes are bloodshot all the time but I feel fantastic.

So, I think you aren't officially allowed to diagnose yourself cancer-free until you've been clear for 5 years, but as I no longer have a thyroid, I don't really see how I can still have thyroid cancer.  Right?  Riddle me that, science.

Done and done.

Ed. 3/4/10

Radiation completed, scans came back clean (says the scan tech, who is not a doctor but who, come on, sees a lot of scans).  Moving closer to 'officially' not having cancer anymore.

Ed. 4/18/10

Scans are, I quote, the cleanest the doctor has ever seen.  I am the valedictorian of scans.  I am also officially cancerless.

No comments: