Bracing for Impact – Just a Few More Daze to Go

Fate had the grace to grant me the privilege of reconnecting with those people I did not choose to connect with in the first place. If there is a lesson in this Thanksgiving holiday, it’s that you have to unburn those bridges at some point or it is not even worthwhile. It will make you compound the ills and mistakes made not by you, oh, no, but by the others.

And that was what they were to me. They have flitted in and out of my life, one flitting taking her daughter with her to end that line of thought with utter hatred, and others making up time when they can, and being very honest about that.

I was once a person who had no truck with the elders. But time has taught me the value of cherishing the nearness, the corporal experience, of one who will not be here forever. And I have the best of motives to be aware of that –

my thyroid surgery is in just a few days. I am quite ready; having read all the materials, incentive spirometer in one hand, advance directive in the other, TV remote in arm’s reach, and pets underfoot. It’s my understanding that the operation itself is quite routine. What is not routine, is the identification and staging of the cancer, and the fact that there will be many repercussions afterwards. I’m just biding my time to handle the complications that may occur – the appointments, the specialist advice, the treatments. All done before with my breast cancer. The goal is complete healing, and my goal is not looking like I just had a head transplant.

Of course, this all comes to a head! The excitement, the confusion, the endless talking and explanations, the overeating and excessive drinking, this will all end tonight, and serious thought begins to go into making my one-night stay in a hospital bed as bearable as possible.

So, looking forward to the landing. Bracing for impact – may it be a soft one, surprisingly easy and one that will allow liftoff once again.


My Inside-Out Selfie – or a Spaghetti-like Assault

How many of us can say they had a camera shoved down their throat with little notice, and with no huge anticipation? While I have been diligent in researching the procedures coming up during my bout with Thyroid Cancer, I did not expect this one coming.

Being a photographer, there is nothing as fascinating to me as the technology behind digital images, and the clarity and usefulness they have in medicine, especially. But who knew one of these tiny little suckers was heading for my left nostril?

This was a routine pre-op office visit. Answers to questions, processing information with my husband along to add interest. The surgeon, while a really nice, reassuring professional, a member of all the right societies, suddenly got up it seemed and produced a long, thin what looked like a q-tip, and all I thought was how can a piece of cotton on a rigid little dowel possibly be stuck so far into my face.

Turned out, when I thought is was going to be only a sample or something of the inside of my nose, it just kept going. Turned out, a digital laryngoscopy included a preliminary probe, which felt like a towel being dragged along the back of my throat. Well, that’s how it felt, anyway.


Next, the chrome and silver object of interest. A long tube, flexible with the tiniest camera I ever can imagine, on the end of it, slide its way down my nose. All this time, I’m watching it on a monitor. Was that a hair I saw? OMG. I need a wax. All I could think of was America’s Got Talent, a TV show that actually has occasional performers whose act is to pull spaghetti or string through their nose after swallowing it. Disgusting!

This little camera got pushed past the point of resistance, wherever that was, and my windpipe and vocal cords were right there. Right there, I tell you. I never saw such a sight. And hope never to again.

This was a reverse selfie! This was a trip through my insides to make sure the stuff was where it was supposed to be, and along with an MRI and bloodwork, and reassurance that everything would be all right just added to the experience of my thyroid surgery. I can’t wait to really say Ahhhhhhhhhh.

My Magnetic Persona – Enduring a Non-Metallic Experience

So the instructions were don’t wear anything metallic. Even a grommet on your workout pants is forbidden. Arriving at the imaging center, a euphemism for you are here there is no return. Not sure yet just where they are going to stick the “contrast” another euphemism for opaque substance that will flow through your veins, hit your heart and light up your organs like a candle, when you get there. I had eaten something beforehand, to make sure my stomach didn’t sound louder than that machine in there.

The MRI is a highly technical, amazing machine. But, it is based on some sort of echoing, and the computer works with the pulses to put together a detailed explanation of foreign growths, and invaders to the system, in my case, my thyroid. Both lobes have hosted a number of invaders, and it is time to identify, quantify and remove their asses from the field. They are not playing nice, and we have to call in the team to battle.

My tech was a nice enough fellow, who was all business. I find it funny that I, an older woman, suddenly is the center of a young man’s world. All his professionalism fell away when I would feel that reassuring hand on my arm as I slide into the tube for my MRI. They know, they know, I’m nervous as a cat. No, a squirrel. This is my magnetic personality.

This is the next step in my process of removing a small cancer from my body. It will be the next part I’m leaving in some incinerator. May it have a good journey to wherever parts go. Perhaps in a celestial warehouse to be reunited once again. Who knows?

Totally Rad! Thyroid Follies Continue

Apparently trying to get something done quickly and efficiently is not in the repertoire any more. I do remember working for a Thoracic/General Surgeon, Director of Surgery in the ’70’s, and boy did we drop everything when the C word was uttered. Routine Halstead mastectomies, hernia repairs, follow ups on cold remedies, we dropped the phone and ran. But these days, one has to wait on a phone line for someone to actually get to their desk and sit and turn on their computers. Or finish their danish. Do they still have those?

I can imagine that that is what’s happening. My surgeon, bless him, has a good staff. They are most likely overworked, and live for the end of their workaday, when they can return to a routine they can understand. I can also understand that, but a patient under the gun, so to speak, cannot fathom a delay when there is a gnawing and a cringing, doubt and yes, fear, over the days to come.

I hope what I heard yesterday, that the planning is happening, is happening. I will be the person if need be, that they say – better call her before she calls back again. I am the only one who can speak for me, so I will.

Herstory Repeats – blurp

Almost to the day – October 22, 2008, to October 28, 2015, seven years hence, I come up against the C word once again. My thyroid, delicate throbbing mass of endocrine tissue, was victim of another cancer, a lumpectomy of the right breast, radiation to burn away residual poison made by my own body then destroyed by an alien looking space age metal contraption.

Almost to the day. Actually, the biopsy was performed a few days ago, maybe actually on the day of the prior cancer diagnosis.

All the gory details.
All the gory details.

These are the cancers that they can handle. They are initially very easily dealt with. Cut out the offending part. In this case, a piece of neck that has faithfully performed to its best, helping its owner stay warm, keep cool, and regulate her system in a reasonably efficient way. Until now.

Waiting to hear more from my medical team. In the story of my head to toe specialist list, including a curly hair specialist and a foot doctor, attention is about one quarter of the way down, now. From a fine, painful needle stuck in there a few days ago, an invisible unfelt cut and extraction and more testing. The aftermath.

Stress starts slow, it seems from the gut, but knowledge will hammer it down as the physician slices it out.