I just made an appointment at the Voice Center at my local University Hospital. I hang up in tears, my endocrinologist says I most likely suffered damage to the superior laryngeal nerve, making it difficult for me to project my voice, and more importantly, to sing high pitches. This is a loss I was unprepared for and I’m going to do everything in my power to turn it around.
I knew there were risk involved in my thyroid surgery. I had a pre-operative visit at the Voice Center where they inserted a tube through my nasal cavity to look at my vocal cords and nerves, performed a few tests, had me sing, and everything looked normal. They told me there was a lot they could do to repair voice damage if it happened as a result of surgery. We’ll see.
Last Friday, my endocrinologist said that my prognosis for this cancer looked great. I did not have an invasive type and the lymph node involvement didn’t worry him too much. He said, “you should count yourself as one of the lucky ones, I usually see all the train wrecks.”
He thought that I would not need radioactive iodine treatment because in cases like mine, the treatment did not improve outcomes. All I needed to do was have a couple of blood tests and he would follow-up with neck ultrasounds and thyroglobulin blood tests yearly. I left the visit optimistic, feeling I’d somehow skated from danger.
I had the blood tests right after the visit and quickly found out I was hypothyroid. (low thyroid functioning) So it wasn’t just the chocolate chip cookies that caused my weight gain? He increased my dose of synthroid, boy, did that make me happy. Then yesterday, while I was driving to spin class, my endo called again to tell me my thyroglobulin levels were higher than he’d like to see, they should be 0 or very low and they were over 8, which means there is likely still disease present; there’s either some stray thyroid tissue left behind after the surgery or more lymph node involvement. Therefore he is now recommending the radioactive iodine treatment.
Next week we are planning to drive down south where I’ll stay at our beach house for the month of September. Now I’m wondering if this is the right time to go. There’s so much to do to prepare for the treatment; a special diet to follow, shots to elevate my TSH, possible voice therapy, and on and on.
I need to pray, take this one step at a time, slow down, breathe. I know everything will be ok, but Fear is creeping in. What if I can’t sing again? I can’t tell you how important singing is to my life. It’s therapy, it got me through the grief of losing my parents, it helps me express joy, and love. I cannot imagine not being able to sing again. Even when I sing “Happy Birthday” now, I sound like a frog,
I was just out doing a little retail therapy at Anthropologie when I received a call from my doc’s office asking if I can come in tomorrow morning for a neck and chest ultrasound. So that’s on my schedule now too and I’m trying not to think about lung metastasis. D suggested I get to a meeting, to get my head out of my head. Good idea.
Thank God for my dogs. I’ll miss them when I’m radioactive but for now they are keeping me sane.
Keep you posted.