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big words
mirror girl  Rockwell
Did you ever notice how some words have a lot of weight to them?  More than it seems they deserve?  They just have so much history and emotion tangled up in them that saying them out loud is a little harder, hearing them is a little jarring every time - no matter how regularly they are a part of your world.  I'm dealing with one of those  words today.

I spoke to my surgeon yesterday after he got the pathology back from my surgery last Thursday.  It turns out that one of the smaller nodules on the right side of my thyroid is cancerous.  I already had an appointment scheduled with my endocrinologist this morning for a post-op checkup, but it let us talk through what we do now. 

First, the positive list.
1)  I have a follicular variant of papillary thyroid cancer.  If you pull out your google-fu (which I have done) you discover that this is typically a non-agressive type of cancer, and with treatment the success rate at beating it is 97%.  As my endo said this morning "if you have to have cancer, this is the kind to get".
2)  We found it incredibly early.
3)  It was small, only 1cm.  The larger nodule that was the reason for the surgery originally was totally benign.
4)  It's already out.  Think about it for a second, I found out it was cancer because it's already outside my body and was cut up in a lab.  There is a chance that I was cancer free before I even found out about it.
5)  I had an ultrasound today - everything else in my neck looks to be benign, though there are still a few nodules on the left side.

What this means now.
1)  I am going back into surgery Friday morning (7:30am PDT) to get the left side of my thyroid removed.  While part of me certainly wishes I had chosen to do the entire thing up front I think this might be the best scenario.  J pointed out that during the first surgery cancer was an unlikely possibility, this time they know it was there and so will take a much more careful look at the area and be sure to get anything (including lymph nodes) that look like trouble.
2)  Six weeks after the surgery I will go through a radiation treatment (radioactive iodine).  Chances are if I have the non-aggressive form this step isn't necessary, but the endo recommended treating it as though it is the aggressive version just to be safe, which sounds good to me. It also kills all of the remaining thryoid cells - cancer or not - in my system, which means future testing will be a lot easier.   I am hoping to figure out a way to get superpowers out of this.
3)  After the surgery and the radiation I will be on the synthetic hormone pills for life.

So it's obviously not good news, but it's a lot better than it could be.  I am grateful that this is all happening now, while I'm unemployed and can deal with all of this without trying to juggle work.  I'm grateful that it was found early and small and is entirely beatable.  I'm grateful that J is so entirely awesome in helping me through all of this (he came to the dr with me this morning to be extra ears and ask questions).

The surgery on Friday is going to be the weirdest case of deja vu ever. 

I'm still a little shaky about the whole thing, obviously.   I have cancer.  It's weird,  and mostly unreal.  And a really big word.

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Oh, Christ. I'm simultaneously horrified and relieved. It does sound like even though you "have cancer," you...kind of don't really anymore anyway, and you're going to be totally fine except for having to take stupid thyroid pills forever. I'm glad you have J standing by you for all this. One of these days, I need to see you again so I can hug you and stuff! Good luck on Surgery, Part Two.

hugs and kisses from us, and i hope your next surgery goes equally well, and everything is really, truly, settled.
the pills, btw, are not so bad; i used to leave my pillminder by my alarm so i'd just swallow the thing dry when i stumbled out of bed and roll forth. early, is really good.

Wow, I'm so sorry. But also relieved it's treatable. How scary. But how lucky you are to have good doctors and excellent support in J. I'll be thinking of you. Keep us posted.

Hugs and good thoughts and best of luck!

Lots of good thoughts heading your way.

My grandmother called her breast cancer supercalifragiliciousexpialidocious because "cancer" doesn't have enough syllables to express the impact.

*hugs* be well.

That must have been a very shocking appointment. It sounds like you're doing good, mentally, with everything. I think that's a GREAT start to a full recovery. Good luck with everything on Friday. I'll be thinking of you and hope all is benign and clear.

Oh my gods. If you need absolutely anything, please don't hesitate to call or text. Food, knitting, drugs, hugs... I'll even bring my kitty over if you want feline snuggles.

Thinking way huge ginormous positive thoughts for you.

*HUGS* That is one big word.

I'm glad they checked and that it's very treatable.

I'll think good thoughts for you.

Definitely a big word, especially when you were already moved on to thinking about the scar and healing, rather than another surgery and then radiation. Scary for sure, but if it had to happen, yeah, this sounds like the best case and treating it like it could be aggressive, even if it's less likely, definitely sounds like an intelligent plan to me. It also sounds like J is pretty damn awesome.

I'll be sending prayers and positive vibes your way on Friday!


*HUGS* Wow, that must be a lot to absorb...! The thing to remember though, is you don't HAVE cancer, you HAD it, a tiny little bit of something trying to be it, and that's already gone. The rest of the medical stuff is just precautionary measures to be sure it doesn't come back.

Sending good thoughts and warm fuzzies that all goes smoothly!

Heavy news -- I hope all goes well, and will be thinking of you.


That was me.

*blink* holy carp! i am moving the internets right now to send you huge hugs. :(

this will sound lame, but i'm flummoxed how else to word it, so i will not overtax my brain and just accept that it will sound lame to say, "i'm sorry to hear about the cancer." i'm relieved, however, to hear that the one that was found is benign and that there is a course of action prepared for you, which you seem to be psyching yourself up for in the best possible way (which is also fantastic -- good for you). your "voice" has an optimism to it which is amazing.

i'm glad that J is able to be there, in so many ways, and be so supportive and wonderful. he's extraordinarily lucky to have you, so it would only be karmically fair, right? :)

wish i could do or say more. if you need help finding info beyond your mad google-fu, let me know. i will scour :)

and if you like haribo, let me know. we do have goodies here that are alternatives to chocolate ;)

wow, but I'm glad it's all been discovered in this manner with so much chance for good results.

I have my fingers crossed for you and I hope everything goes okay. I'm glad you have someone with you who is being awesome.

I do believe this covers all the bases of "Best bad news possible."

I'm glad they caught it, I'm happy to hear you have a plan...I'll be thinking of you and yours.


"if you have to have cancer, this is the kind to get". Well... you go, you! Seriously, how terrifying, and yet what a relief to find that it was caught so early. I hope all goes well on Friday- I will be thinking of you.

PS- Still loving J, by the way! So awesome of him to be an extra et of ears, because this is certainly when you need that.

And clearly I meant that he was an extra "set" of ears. I don't think he is like ET, because I don't know that ET had external ears... it has been a while. Maybe he can point his finger at your neck and say "Ouch." Sigh. *hugs*

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Glowing would be cool. My doctor has already said that J and I shouldn't sleep together for the weekend, or use the same toilet and things. But it seems like a quick hug shouldn't be too awful for the other person, and possibly entirely necessary for me. Maybe we'll just have to be sneaky.

Thanks for you good thoughts. I may pick your brain some more when I'm closer to the actual RI treatment. It is helpful having friends who have already done this.

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