Interesting Times: Update 10 – A Neck, in Five Pictures
8 September 2013
March 31: A a pre-surgery picture for posterity. When I’d raise my head, some of the swollen/cancerous lymph nodes poked out in a small lump just below my right* jaw. This was my only symptom. (*The scar switches in these pictures, depending on whether the device that took the picture flips the images.)
May 2: The day after I came home. The surgery began midafternoon April 30 and finished in the early-morning hours of May 1. Steri-strips cover dissolving stitches.
May 14: All had been well, and five days prior I’d had my post-op check-up, but this was the day the infection appeared. Around lunchtime it just looked a little blotchy. By midnight I had a fever of 102.5 and was admitted to the ER.
May 16: Both hospitals kept my veins full of antibiotics. My fever disappeared, but the swelling didn’t. For three days they tried to figure out whether to go back in. But it began to abate next morning and I was released that afternoon.
Today, September 8: Fast-forward through four months of my neck shrinking. (Radioactive iodine in July didn’t make me look any different.) Today, the swelling is 99% gone. It does tighten after a long day. You can tell I’m tired when I keep stretching my neck. As for the cancer that used to live where that scar is? All is quiet. The surgery removed the thyroid with its 8 mm tumor and 53 lymph nodes, 20 of which were positive. Since then, ultrasounds, CT scans, and gamma scans have shown nothing worrisome. Next is a thyroglobulin test in January. So far, the consensus is that this was not a best-case situation, but everything is going as well as it can. Now, to keep it that way.
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Background on these interesting times:
First post - Diagnosis
Update 1 - The plan / fear
Update 2 - Giving blood
Update 3 - Post-surgery
Update 4 - The other half of the time
Update 5 - Summer is icumen in (infection)
Update 6 - Grossly unremarkable
Update 7 - All about RAI
Update 8 - Withdrawing
Update 9 – Isolation