16 August 2011


I had myself psyched up for my biopsy today.  I was going to let them stick me with a needle and poke around as much as they like and in return they would tell me if I have cancer.  And I was counting on having an answer by Friday.  We're heading for the hills, you see, and if I'm facing cancer nothing would be more helpful than an entire weekend with my family. 

When I called the surgeon's office last week and told them I need to schedule a biopsy they said, okay, and offered me today at 11:00am.  They forgot to mention, however, that today was only a consultation.  It does make sense to start with that but I'd be lying if I said my heart didn't sink when the nurse told me there would be no needles prodding my neck today.  More waiting.

I like the doctor I met with today.  He had gentle blue eyes and his credentials include some fancy sounding European schools.  He was kind and knowledgeable.  And he loves Jesus.  It is comforting to me to know that the man who will poke me with needles and may eventually slice open my neck (sorry for the graphic) understands the most important thing. 

I suppose I should explain my little problem.  At my yearly lady exam in July my beloved Dr. K could distinctly feel my thyroid, which apparently is a problem.  An ultrasound, some blood work, a family doctor visit containing the words "highly suspicious", a surgical consultation, and here I am.  Waiting.

Just a bit about the wonderful Dr. K -- I can't tell you his full name because I don't want to share.  He's very popular and it takes far too long to get an appointment with him because he is, well,  he's wonderful.  I suffered from endometriosis from the age of 14 until I met him in my early thirties and had my hysterectomy at the tender age of 34.  Sometime I'll have to tell you about that.  So I jokingly refer to him as my hero, except that I'm not joking.

Back to the point of this post.  The doctor today gave me two choices.  Choice #1 is a simple and easy biopsy.  Simple and easy sounds great.  I'll take it!  Hold on -- it's not quite that simple, though it is still easy.  The doctor, who I'd have to say is the expert of the two of us, explained that there is very little difference in the appearance of healthy cells and cancer cells, making it difficult for the pathologist to be sure. 

So we come to choice #2.  Surgery.  He removes the entire thyroid since I have 4 nodules, two on each side.  That doesn't sound so bad.  I have a 6 inch scar just above my bikini line (oh the irony, as if I have any hope of ever wearing a bikini) to prove that I've been through worse and lived to tell about it.   Except there's risk, of course.  I don't know much about what is considered high risk but he seemed to feel that 1 in 100 would qualify.  There's the risk of damage to all 4 of my parathyroid glands, requiring extremely high doses of calcium and vitamin D for the rest of my life.  And there's the risk of vocal chord damage resulting in a hoarse voice, again for the rest of my life.  What a shame it would be to deny my adorers the joy of my melodic voice.  Did you just snicker?  Oh, sorry, that was me. 

There was some good news today.  I did not know that thyroid cancer is extremely slow-growing so if the news is bad, it's still sorta good since I have plenty of time to deal with it.  I mean, for my doctors to deal with it.  Or for the psychologist to help my son deal with it.  Of course, the Lord could return and spare us all from dealing with it.  Have you seen the news lately?  Hmmm, that last one sounds more plausible all the time.  But I'll spare you that whole soapbox.  For today.

So now I have a choice to make.  That means I get to do more of my favorite thing...thinking.  Too bad not all thinking is created equal.  Some things are just not that fun to think about and this would be one of those things.  I'm going to go to the cabin with my boys (fun), send my son back to school (not fun), and spend a week at the beach (fun again).  Maybe I'll squeeze some thinkin' time in there somewhere and see where it leads me.  Fortunately, my thinking time is intertwined with my praying time and my praying time is what will guide me out of this.  That reminds me of a very special verse I stumbled across a few months back.

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you.
-Psalm 32:8

So what that verse is saying is, the God of heaven who created this...

...will instruct me and teach me and counsel me and watch over me.  And you. 

Now, what was that I was afraid of? 

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