I sat in an uncomfortable chair in the ENT’s office after a long day at work. Between the everyday stress of working and raising my youngest son, I had the added weight of a recent biopsy haunting me, the proverbial kick while I was already down. I suspected the results I would receive that evening would confirm what I somehow already knew to be true.
I have spent the last (almost) two months pushing thoughts of this from my mind. A mental shield. If I don’t, unhealthy thoughts run amuck like bumper cars in my head.
Would things have been so bad if I’d asked about that lump on my neck sooner?
Did all the alcohol I drank in the wake of my mother’s death fuel the spread of the cancer?
Mom always told me she felt like a burden to me. Did she somehow know that I would soon not be able to care for her? Is that why she gave up?
If the worst should happen, what would become of my children?
Pinch-hitting for Pedro Borbón, Manny Mota…Mota…..Mota……(sorry, a little Airplane humor there)
Those are the demons that try to intrude on my day to day life. Somehow, I’ve mostly kept them at bay. Whenever one of those thoughts creeps in, I kick it right back out. I’m not sure how. I’ve never been adept at clearing my mind of harmful thoughts, but it’s working for now.
It’s been five weeks since my surgery. I still have some swelling in my neck and under my chin. My incision, which runs from the left side of the base of my neck to just a couple of inches short of my right ear and required 16 staples to close, is still a little tender and puffy, but healing nicely. My strength is slowly returning, and my energy levels are gradually normalizing.
The hard part is over, but the journey is far from complete.
Next week I go on a low-iodine diet and stop taking my Synthroid in preparation for further treatment. After a week of that, I get two days of injections, some blood drawn, and then have to swallow a radioactive pill that should destroy any cancer which may still be in my body. I’ll have to isolate myself from physical contact for some time afterward, because I’ll literally be radioactive, and could poison anyone I have prolonged contact with.
I’m not looking forward to any of this, but it’s better than another five hours on an operating table.
The silver lining in all this suffering is that my long-term prognosis is still good. My endocrinologist believes my life expectancy will not be affected by any of this. So that’s something.
The next two weeks are going to be difficult, but hopefully, I can continue to keep the demons at bay.
Thyroid Cancer: My Journey Thus Far
2020 Things of Thankful
Interview With a Trooper – Would You Rather Edition
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Interview With a Trooper – Episode IX
Interview With a Trooper – Episode VIII
My Mother’s Shoes