After having a complete robotic thyroidectomy less than two weeks ago, I went to my post-operative visit with my surgeon yesterday feeling optimistic and healthy. I had survived the surgery without too much trouble, used very few pain meds and my incision was healing well. My plan for the visit was to convince my doc that I should switch to a natural hormone replacement rather than continue on with the synthetic hormone I was currently taking.
When I brought this up to my doc, who by the way, is extremely sweet, quite hot and very compassionate, he hesitated a bit and said “we may want to wait on that considering the pathology”. Pathology? Wait, didn’t you tell me just minutes before the surgery that the chances for malignancy were about 3%? I had a series of biopsies and they all came up negative. I was surprised although not totally shocked. I kept my composure although seconds later I noticed I was having a little trouble breathing. My doc stopped and took a deep breath with me…
I cannot tell you how grateful I am for my surgeon. He made the news bearable and luckily I was already well versed on the disease having gone through this a few years back with a good friend in the program. Thyroid cancer is very common and very treatable. The pathology report indicates that I have the follicular variant of papillary thyroid carcinoma with three lesions. One is a 4cm encapsulated mass, the other two are micro-carcinomas, with metastatic papillary carcinoma in one of the two lymph nodes they removed.
I have a copy of the pathology report and spent a lot of time yesterday on the internet, reading studies and learning about treatment options. I did my best to stick to trusted medical sites and steered clear of the message boards that often contain horror stories that are not pertinent and often exaggerated.
I go into the fix-it mode when presented with this kind of information, educating myself about EVERYTHING, the docs, treatment options, pathology, recent developments, personal stories of friends, etc. I’m not one who likes to be left in the dark.It’s exhausting but it is the way my brain works and I accept that and realize that it is a futile attempt at control.
Last night we had plans to go to the baseball game with friends. My husband “won” box seats in an auction and our team is doing well so he was really excited to go. Me, not so much. I don’t really like baseball. My recent diagnosis gave me the perfect reason to back out (sorry, D) but I really wasn’t up for it either way. I ended up going to my home group last night, the best possible choice I could make.
It ended up great, I was able to share what’s going on in my life and it was such a relief. I started to cry despite all good intentions but managed to get through it without too much discomfort. I realize that without the program I’d be in a much different state of mind. Since I received the news, I’ve been practicing the third step and silently reciting the serenity prayer.
I’m lucky to have a supportive and loving family and a solid group of recovery friends, to help me get through this. There are many who’ve gone before me, some who didn’t make it, but I watched many of them persevere with grace and acceptance. And that’s what I strive for, grace and acceptance.
I really feel blessed. Sure there are moments of tears and fear, but that’s to be expected. The prognosis is good, I can get through this, I’m strong. Sitting at the meeting and listening to others share about their struggles in recovery last night made me realize, “this is why I’m here, I can help someone else with my experience”. What a treat.
So I’m keeping my sense of humor and optimism. I’m feeling ok despite the other fact that my son is sleeping in our basement. That’s a different story for another time. Until then, I’ll keep sharing my journey of recovery. And now that everything is not wine and roses, maybe I’ll start writing more regularly. Glad to have this outlet to communicate. I’ll keep you posted.