Saturday, December 02, 2006

The bandages are off!

On Thursday I went back to the hospital to get the results of my pathology report and have the steri-strips taken off. When I first got home from the hospital I was worried they were going to fall off, so I was being pretty careful with them and didn't even want to get them wet (I'm a big baby, I know...)! That didn't last long. Even standing in the shower with the water washing right on them didn't seem to have any effect and when the nurse tried to get them off, they were pretty much cemented on there. She said she had never seen them stuck on there so well - and there were a couple of layers instead of the usual one. I don't guess I need to say it hurt like heck when she ripped them off! But... the incision looks really good. I was shocked when I looked in the mirror, I didn't think it would be as cute as it is :-). The line is really thin. It's hardly noticeable even now. The doctor told me about these Neosporin scar bandages to wear all day, and also vitamin E oil to minimize scarring.

As for the pathology, she said there was no evidence the cancer had spread outside my thyroid. They took some enlarged lymph nodes while they were in there, and they came back negative for cancer. YAY! I was really worried because I knew about this nodule for over two years before I did anything about it earlier this year. *Cringe* I know. But truly, when I first found it, no one seemed worried about it at all, and I never noticed it changing dramatically, and it didn't seem to be causing me any problems. And seriously, I totally didn't think it could possibly be cancer. Me? Cancer? No way!

Sometimes you hear about people with lumps the doctors tell them are nothing and they persist because of a gut feeling that something is wrong and it turns out to be cancer. For me, it was the other way around. When I finally saw an endocrinologist this summer, he insisted on a second biopsy just a few weeks after the first inconclusive one because he felt like something was not right. And I resisted because I really thought it was nothing. Normally when the first biopsy comes back inconclusive, they wait 6 months to do another, and that's what I wanted to do. The endocrinologist basically bullied me into going back for an ultrasound guided biopsy by calling me repeatedly! He told me that new research shows the characteristics of my nodule are indicative of cancer in 1 out of 3 cases, not 5 out of 100 like he'd originally told me. That really scared me into going back. Thank God I did.

I still have to have the radioactive iodine treatment because of the size of my tumor, so that messiness is still up the road. But I hope they will give me a lower dose of the stuff since there was no spread. I'm a big believer in the power of prayer, coming from a good Irish Catholic family :), and I have to say I've really been walking in God's graces through this whole ordeal. The outcome so far is absolutely the best we could have hoped for.

The doctor also started me on Cytomel, which is a temporary thyroid hormone replacement until I have the radioactive iodine and go on the permanent stuff. I'm feeling pretty good. Definitely not 100% yet, but really well.

Yesterday I woke up and everything felt DIRTY in my apartment!! I started cleaning the kitchen like a madwoman... I was down on my hands and knees cleaning the kitchen floor, and it occurred to me... I really need to go to work and get out of this place! So I showered and packed my food and got on the metro armed with fresh baked cookies. Everyone was shocked to see me, of course, since I just showed up without calling. It was good to see everyone. No actual work was done on my part, but I sorted through all the emails in the inbox and got some taskings for Monday and went through all the hello's and how've you been's.

I had to admit to myself the other day that I really needed a break. Not that this has been like a vacation or anything, but the last few days that I've been feeling pretty good, I've been thinking, this is nice! I needed to disconnect, take time off of work, get away from the international news, and yes, even *gasp* NOT exercise for a spell. But today? Today I am going to the GYM! For cardio! Scared and excited, people! I may even try a light weights circuit to see how it feels. Sooo excited! It's the small joys in life!

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