I’ve seen a couple of the best thyroid-cancer doctors in the world. Keeping me safe, making me cancer-free, minimizing side effects, ensuring that recovery will be as smooth as possible: there don’t seem to be better people than the ones I’m talking to.
I’m going with the second doctor I saw – I’d expected to just go for a confirming opinion, but much preferred him. He and his staff seemed warmer and more communicative, and he seemed more cautious and thoughtful in his approach. Also, comfortingly, he specializes in plastic/reconstructive surgery in addition to thyroid cancer surgery, so he’s got an extra professional stake in making me look as non-frightening as possible.
So. I am booked for April 30 at Penn.
Both facilities and doctors are brilliant. My insurance is excellent. This type of cancer has one of the highest cure rates. I have amazing people in my life who are positive and supportive.
I am spoiled for choice and incredibly, incredibly fortunate.
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I’m not going to lie, though. I am focusing on goodness the majority of the time. But the other maybe quarter of the time, this sucks. Even though I know I’m in a best-case scenario.
I have pockets of being a straight mess. It depends on the day. Or the minute. I am 80% perfectly fine, and then for about half an hour a day, I am a giant weepy mess.
Apart from anything else, when you start to talk about cancer you realize how many people get it. Thyroid. Breast. Endometrial. Cervical. Lymphoma. Pancreatic. It’s reassuring – look how many people do awesome! – but unnerving. Why does this happen so often? It makes me think a lot about our environment and how we live.
More personally, this is frightening. It will hurt, and while I have a decent pain tolerance, I am not good at the anticipation of unpleasantness. It’s going to leave a big scar, and it’s hard to think about looking frightening. There are chances of losing my voice; having nerve damage that weakens my arm or my face; gaining more weight; and a lot of other possibilities – some more likely than others.
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On Easter I started to wonder, what if fear is an evil? I hadn’t thought about it quite like that before, and have been considering that since.
“Worry often gives a small thing a big shadow.” – Swedish proverb
“For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline.” – 2 Timothy 1:7
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Here’s a TED talk that sums up my approach to life in general and this in particular. Check it out, please. It’s really excellent, regardless of what’s going on for you.