It’s Saturday morning. 3am and i can’t sleep. Normally this would be typical but annoying. Today it’s a good sign. It means that the exhaustion of last week’s surgery is hopefully coming to an end and I will be back to ‘normal’ soon.
Let’s start with I had no symptoms.
Liv had kicked me in the neck during a tickle attack in August and it hit in just the right spot that gave me discomfort for longer than it should. I brushed it off but Joel insisted I saw the doctor.
The doctor saw nothing to worry about but sent me for a scan just in case (I rolled my eyes. Thank you for another medical bill for nonsense – but today I’m so grateful). The scan showed a ‘small nodule’ on my thyroid. Sounds so harmless.
They felt it needed a biopsy.
The surgeon doing my biopsy almost cancelled as the nodule was so small. (I rolled my eyes again – another medical procedure I didn’t need that was now roped in to. Again. I’m glad it happened). A week later, the biopsy showed abnormal cells.
Now I began to worry. The biopsy got sent to a geneticist, it’s no longer a cute little nodule. Now it’s being called a growth and I’m realising this is now a thing.
Another week goes by and genetic testing came back ‘suspicious’. Everything pointed to possible cancer and needing to get this growth out.
A few weeks passed the growth was renamed a tumor. (That’s a scary word) and I was ordered to have my lymph nodes scanned for possible spread.
That same week Liv was admitted in to the ER, with a Lymph node infection and growing abscess, and there we stayed for 5 days. Watching her, so worried for her as she went through surgery to remove the abscess in her lymph nodes. Everything for me goes on hold while we focus on her. The coincidence doesn’t go unnoticed as we both do battle with our lymph nodes.
Liv is out of hospital and thankfully healthy and I get back to business. Lymph nodes scanned and deposits found in lymph nodes next to the tumor. The doctor says “it’s highly unlikely this is benign” – it looks like cancer is spreading in to my lymph nodes.
I’m laying on the hospital bed. Joel holding my hand. Me saying to him “I’m going to be fine” because what else would I be if not fine, but in my head, shit just got real.
All this testing. All these doctors. I really might have cancer.
In the world of cancer this is no big deal. This is the ‘best’ cancer. This is cancer ‘light’. Something I’m humbled by when I think of loved ones who have been taken by this evil disease after years of fighting and torture.
We prep for surgery and agreed on removing the half thyroid with the tumor. It was the right thing to do. We didn’t need to do any more. Take out the bad half. Test it. See if we need to go back in for the rest. Positive. Only half is a good sign.
Two weeks later. Game day. I’m gowned. IV’d and ready to get this over with.
Ten minutes before going in for surgery the procedure was up’d to full thyroid plus a bunch dof lymph nodes and “looking incredibly like cancer”. I looked at Joel and I signed on the dotted line. There was nothing to say. It had to be done. Take it all.
So here we are. One week post surgery.
A gnarly scar running across my throat held together with glue!
I’m laying right in the centre of limbo. I simultaneously did and did not have cancer last week. Schrödinger’s cat world.
Another week until testing comes back with results.
If I didn’t have cancer it was all a clever rouse on my body’s part to trick multiple doctors, surgeons, geneticists, pathologists and a couple of endocrinologists. If it is cancer; well then it’s gone and outta here before it got to throw down big time.
My sharing like this is not for sympathy or concern. It’s because you just never know what life will throw at you and how you will handle it. But what matters is that fate or God or whatever you may believe in caused the string of events to occur in the way they did that got me in front of that surgeon. I say Joel and Liv have probably saved my life. That’s an incredible thing.
I’m thankful for pushy doctors every time I rolled my eyes.
I’ve learnt in the last week that thyroid cancer is the fastest growing diagnosed cancer in the world. But also the most treatable.
I’m so grateful that my friends didn’t look at me with pity. My friends rolled up their sleeves and said “what can we do?” And that’s what I needed. From the flowers to the toilet plunger on Saturday morning (thanks Jojo) to taking me out for lunch, the hundreds of texts and messages from around the world, friends and our au pair, Maddy helping with Liv, and my team at work picking up what I dropped to focus on this. We are so grateful for the support.
To my forever wonderful parents being my cheerleaders and late night virtual hospital visitors keeping me company in the wee hours and my incredible husband. My amazing husband, with the countless issues at home, Liv’s unexpected surgery a week before and with me to worry about – he’s held us all together.
With or without cancer. I feel like the luckiest woman in the world. Without love. There’s nothing. They all keep me going.
Who knows what could have been.
Here’s to next week.