And it’s been a little cuckoo.
Two weeks after surgery, I found myself in the emergency room in the middle of the night with a high fever, swollen neck, and just an all-round generally bad scene. It was not the best.
The ER brought my fever down, gave me a CT scan, and transferred me back to Penn by ambulance to let my surgeon deal with me. His team kept me for a few days until the infection was well reduced and I was let back out. He, his residents, and nurses were amazing. My poor father ran himself ragged. The amazing Kevin popped up for an after-work visit, and my lovely aunt took care of me from the moment I left.
The whole episode set me back a couple of weeks, and it left me feeling pretty anxious. I’d been feeling better every day till this happened, and afterward it felt hard to trust that I was recovering. It still does. But I am.
I have to admit, I’m ready for it to get easier. From the lump to the diagnosis to the surgery to the re-hospitalization, it had only been getting worse – more challenging, more unpredictable, more frightening. After the surgery I learned I have what’s called “tall-cell” papillary thyroid cancer, which some think can be more persistent and rapid. It wasn’t the best news. I don’t want to go through this again. My soul shrinks away at just the thought of that.
But I’ve done research and learned that’s very unlikely. I’ve set up appointments. I have amazing people beside me – not just my family and friends (they have been unbelievable) – and not just the healthcare professionals (they have too) – but people you wouldn’t expect to be specially thoughtful or caring, like my disability contact and my insurance case manager. People are amazing at every turn.
I’m ready to meet endocrinologists this week to check my levels and plan the radioactive iodine treatment. I’m ready to start physical therapy. I’d like to say that I’m ready to start work next week, but eh, not really. But I got to see friends this holiday weekend and it was wonderful to be out driving and laughing and moving and feeling like part of my own life again.
I’m healing fast. I’m stiff and sore, easily tired and sleeping a lot, and quick to tears. I’m grateful and blessed, but frustrated sometimes – usually when I’m tired. One thought does recur… All my friends have been getting their own families, but all I’ve been getting is cancer. It’s maudlin and pointless, but it pops up when I’m drained. I’m so happy that people I care about are in great places, but sometimes a small internal sulk happens. Practically speaking, though, it’s hard to imagine how I’d even meet anyone right now, let alone anything more. So I’m trying to remember to take one thing at a time.
All told, though, this is a good place and time. I’m happy and grateful and ready to do the hard work of coming back. I’m ready for the summer.
More later, but for now, check out this video from doctor/writer Lissa Rankin. I’m devouring her book, her website, all her stuff – and recommending it to everyone I can. Even if you’re perfectly healthy, check it out.
Now let’s write about something other than DOCTORS for a change, yeah?