Thursday, February 28, 2008

Now I know how pulled pork feels...

First let me preface this post with some really good news.
Pathology from 2nd lobe came back clean. Dr. says there is no need for Radioactive Iodine Ablation treatment since that kills errant malignant cells, and there are none. YEAH!!! Wee-Hoo! Yippee!!

The dread of feeling like crap for 10 weeks, then going through the 3 day treatment, and the fear that it would not work has been overwhelming to say the least!

My calcium levels are slightly abnormal, which would be the reason for the tingly hands, feet and face. The past few days I feel as though I had been on a bender. Hungover without the benefit of being at the party. Sluggish and exhausted. That is how my head feels. Like I am standing outside of myself, watching that 'stupid drunk girl' ready to hurl or pass out.

I will also describe what my body feels like.. I feel like my meat is falling off my bones. Like when you cook - or overcook a chicken. The bone pulls away from the meat. Well, that's how I feel right now, physically. Now I know what a pulled pork sandwich feels like. It is a bizaare sensation....Dr. says it is partly from the calcium level and partly from going super hypothyroid.
I should feel better in about a week. YEAH!! Wee-Hoo! Yippee!

What a relief. My kids are relieved. Hubby is relieved. There is a light at the end of this tunnel.. And the best news is the tunnel is shorter than we all thought.

Now onto better things. Like something to eat, and maybe a glass of wine. MMMmmm.

Monday, February 25, 2008

I should drink more milk...

Today is an okay day. Out and about. Some retail therapy always works. Had someone else blow dry my hair. Vanity wills out.

I think my blood calcium levels are whack. Burning and tingling around the mouth. Hands and feet cramping up. Just came back from blood draw. Another stick - another bruise.

Anxiety increasing. This is going to be a slow road. Fingers crossed for our friend Tara who , from across the country, is going through her own heap of shit....pituitary tumor wise. Ever the joker, Tara says in her unique way "I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy!"

We find humor in what scares us.


Saturday, February 23, 2008

Happy Birtha-versary

Holidays are particularly hard this year. Especially birthdays. Since my Dad died on January 10th, several birthdays have passed. My daughter Rachel's on 1/16, nephew Josh on 1/19, my aunt's (dad's sister) on 1/14, brother Rob's on 1/30 and even Dad's on 2/14 on which he would have been 72 years old. That day will forever be a bittersweet one for us - chocolate pun intended.

Aside from today being my 44th birthday, it is also my mom and dad's 51st wedding anniversary. So for years and years - I 've always searched for the perfect card that says something about me being the best wedding gift they ever received. Not this year. I am not even sure what the appropriate sentiment is. Is one to acknowlegde anniversaries after the death of a spouse?? I don't know. But I did wish my mom a Happy Anniversary this morning as she is here during my surgery and recovery; here on driving and kid duty.

As I mentioned in my first post, we lost our wonderful Dad after a very long and painful fight with cancer. His was a Cancer with a big C, not the Dumb Ass cancer that I have. He had a double whammy Cancer. Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia , for which he lived with with relatively no issues for 20 years - much longer than expected. He finally succumbed to the big C , Merkel Cell Carcinoma - a very rare and relatively unknown form of skin cancer after a year long bout.

The wound is still quite deep for me and my family. I am barely over the mourning. My mom and I refer to this odd sensation often. It is as if a wave starts at my toes , travels up my innards leaving the taste of bile in my mouth. A taste of permanancy. I say ' Shit - this is real. and this isn't going to change'. For months, I shuddered every time the phone rang. Now, I don't. I can't image what my mom is going through lately. Having to retell the tale umpteen times to friends they have had for 'lo those 50 years. She having spent the last year of her very independent life - always tuned into Dad's schedule for appointments, meals, etc....and for the final months , not really leaving the house. Now she comes home , she tells me, not on any time frame anymore and says -"I'm home" . No one answers. The silence is deafening. She turns of lights and televisions just for company. I can't imagine....

Mom and Dad were supposed to come to California for Thanksgiving of '07, but Dad was too sick to travel. Hubby and I decided to go to Florida from Christmas to New Years to spend what turned out to be last good week of Dad's life with him. And, that was so hard. It was all he could do to stay awake and spend some time with us. To see my girls. His grandchildren were the lights of his life. You see, the big C, this type, grew in the form of tumors. Tumors on his bones that hurt so bad he writhed in pain. Visible on the outside, pressing on his brain and other vital organs on the inside. We were lucky to have had about 2 quality hours with him....the last day of the year. December 31st, 2007. Dad popped some morphine and sat outside with us our last day in Florida. We got these pictures that day. He had aged 20 years in about a week. A few years earlier, my niece Danielle had her Bat Mitzvah. Dad was sick then, but we didn't know it. He looked great, sporting a goatee and a tan! His legs hurt so we couldn't dance- but every time I hear "We Are Family" by Sister Sledge or "Celebrate" by Kool and the Gang, I just ball my eyes out. We 'chair danced' to those songs. Not the same as the good ole white man's overbite that Dad mastered, but sufficed -to say the least. My Dad was such a handsome man. He had virtually no wrinkles and you'd never know he was a septagenarian. This past Valentine's Day, he would have been 72.

It has been said that a true measure of a man is can be weighed by how many people come to his funeral. Well, if that be the case, my dad was a really big man. There was easily 350 people there. Standing Room Only - A testament to my parents' 50 years of marriagas well as a testament to my brother and sister and I, and the bonds of friendship we have developed.
He would have been so proud of us. He would have said it was the best funeral he had ever been to. It wasn't a somber, wailing event. Rather one full of love and support. We all spoke - sister Stacy, brother in law Fred, brother Rob, Aunt Alma, and me. Eulogies (that is the first time I have used that word). We all found strength in one another's words to go on without breaking up. There was humor, love, and respect. Daddy would have loved it. We all echoed similarities we found in our dad. His love of sports. His obsession with chapstick. His fastidious manner. His pride. He waited for a man from Hospice to come to the house. For that stranger to give him a shower and change his clothes. Applied a fresh coat of Chapstick. Uttered the Shmah (a jewish last rites, if you will) with his last breaths. And simply went.
I am going to put my 'words' here this posting. For my own catharsis. Afterall, isn't that was this whole blog is about?? My own catharsis.
Here goes:
On Thursday, January 10th, 2008- I lost a true parent, a loving poppie, and a great friend. I remember daddy, over 30 years ago, having told me that if I could count all of my friends on one hand, then I was a lucky person. Today, as we celebrate the life lived, not the life lost, I feel as though I have lost a limb.
I had my 'Tuesdays with Morrie' moment with Daddy when we were here at the end of December. As difficult as that was for him and me, I couldn't bear the thought of not letting him know how much I loved him. I laid on the bed with him, stroked his arm - and with tears streaming down his cheeks, he looked me straight in the eye and said - " I am not ready to say good-bye to you yet." I asked him if he knew how lucky I felt. Lucky to have have had the opportunities that he and mom worked so hard to provide for Stacy, Rob and myself.
My whole life- right up to now- all I ever wanted was daddy to be proud of me,. Proud of me when I achieved success. Advise me when I needed direction. Be strong for me when I fell.
He was the first person I called when something good happened and the first person I called when something bad happened. Always supportive. Never gushing; But you could feel him beaming from across the room when his family was all together. Not a yeller by nature; But one stern Poppie Face would usually extract an admission of guilt from his kids. Not a grudge holder or an "I told you so" kind of parent; Rather one who hoped to teach a lesson from one's mistakes.
My children, Emily and Rachel, were blessed to have spent time with their Poppie. He loved them- and Josh and Will, and Danielle sometimes , more, I think, than he loved his own children. More than he loved a really good scotch, a marvelous meal, a good read, the beach, travel and exploration, great music of all genre, his chapstick, his pink Lincoln Continental and the New York Giants.
My Emily said something so profound the other day. On our last day in Florida, the last day of 2007 - Poppie's last really good day before the end - Emily looked at David and I and said " You know, I am getting used to that egg head of Poppie's." She said we could crack him open and have him for breakfast. "Because angel eggs are better that devil eggs." She knew my somber moods and red puffy eyes that I was sad. And just two nights ago, she asked why. I told her that Poppie was very sick, and wouldn't get better. And, I just don't want him to hurt anymore. She looked at me with her big blue eyes and said, "You mean you just want him to die in peace, right?" Out of the mouths of babes.
I hope you found peace my Daddy. You heard me when I told you from across the country not to wait for me. I am sure one day- although I wil think about you EVERYDAY, I - - we all will find peace too.
I love you.
"I am a part of all that I have met. Yet, through each arch gleams that untravelled world, whose margin fades forever and ever where I move."

Thursday, February 21, 2008


Made it out of the hospital...

Surgery went well yesterday. I actually did wake up as planned. No major problems this go around, except that I am an oozer according to Dr. Measles. So, as a precaution, he left me open on the table for an extra hour, just to make sure no hematoma developed. Now it is a waiting game for scar to heal and pathology to come back. Depending on what that shows, I definitely need at least one RIA treatment, hopefully no more than that.

Nothing funny or quippy to blog about today. Except Dr. Measles said I should look for signs of low blood calcium. Not the same as calcium in bones. Blood calcium levels can drop because of the parathyroid glands (4 little teeny glands behind the thyroid) can be disturbed or accidentally removed with thyroid lobes. Measles says that although these little glands are about the size of 1/2 a pinky fingernail, they carry more blood than any other organ in body. Symptoms of low calcium are tingling in face and mouth, cramping of hands, chest pains and noticeable anxiety.

How the hell am I to tell the difference between my normal level anxiety and a noticeable increase in anxiety?? Doesn't this guy know me at all??? Hubby and I laughed at that one.

Resting now. Gonna drift into narcotic sleep for a while.

Thanks to ALL for wishes, emails, phone calls really means a lot.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Badump - Chhh

So I was talking with our friend Tara just a moment ago...she's the one who had the pituatary tumor. Emily came up to me to ask about something on her homework . Something easy mind you - she's in 3rd grade. I know 3rd grade math.... I think it was 26 -7 x 2 = _____.

I struggled with this, yes - that is what I said. I struggled with this for just a moment and Tara says...."38". duh. Then she's says "Jeez , I had a brain tumor and I can figure that out!"

We find humor in that which scares us.

When did we get old? That our friends are getting sick, and some are dying. That our children are embarrassed by us when we dance or sing in public. That all the songs the 'kids' are listening to are simply covers of Queen or Tom Petty songs...... That I can't even read the ingredients on the labels in the grocery store because I forgot my 'readers'. That "Thriller' is 25 years old this year- and my kids don't even know who Michael Jackson is. That the Cheetah Girl song 'Fuego' has the Lionel Richie "All Night Long" remix embedded in the song. That I can't remember what the answer to 26 -7 x 2 is. I mean, Jeez - it's not 6 x 8 or anything (family joke).

We find humor in that which scares us.



Dumb Ass Cancer:

Well. tomorrow (the 20th ) is the day I go to surgery yet again...Truth be known, I am more afraid of that, than the next few months of ensuing issues. They will go in through the same opening as last time. Take the rest of the thing out. Send it to a lab...and see what is what.

rocky horror picture show fans only:
Come up to the lab. See what's on the slab...I see you shiver with anticip (say it)pation!

Sorry about that. Anyway. Pre-op blood drawn and hospital pre-re-registration occurred yesterday. I got the new 'hi I'm Barbie' assessment nurse who wanted me to come in for a pregnancy test and chest Xray....

actual conversation
barbie: You need to come in for a urine pregnancy test.
me" ? wha' the fuh?'
barbie: the doctor just wants to make sure there is no chance you are pregnant."
me: ...aaah, there is no chance.
barbie: well, we need your urine to be sure.
me: You already have my uterus. How much surer do you need to be?

If I had some kind of serious, awful, body disfiguring (more than just a neck) problem like lung cancer (she brought it on herself) or colon cancer (she's so young!) , I think I would be more of the wallowing in self-pity kinda person. The horrific kind where they take out MAAJOR organs.

If I had a feminine cancer, like breast or uterine, or cervical - that's a more 'treat her with kit-gloves' kind of cancer.

But this is friggin' thyroid cancer. A Dumb Ass Cancer - or D.A.C (thanks for that one Cheryl!)

If you asked several people if they know where the thryoid gland is and what it actually does in the'd get a variety of answers.

"is that something spleen related?"
" isn't that what sweet breads are?"
" didn't I see an episode of Top Chef where they made some with thymus gland?"
"something metabolism related, but not exactly sure"

D.A.C. = dumb ass cancer.

I am afraid - dammit. I am also reminded of the scene in Sex in the City - where Carrie is talking with the hot one (whose name completely escapes me right now....dumb ass). Hot one is telling Carrie about her fears about breast cancer. Carrie keeps saying 'everything is going to be fine'. Hot one says - if I can't talk about the things that scare me, you're not being my friend.

Too bad she didn't have a blog.

Truth is everything will be fine (rational, intellectual self), but then again it may not be (fearful, irrational, 8 year old self). And, to my daugher Emily (and to some extent myself). Cancer means losing your hair, losing your lunch, sleeping alot, and dying. I know, Know, Know
that is not the case here...but you try to rationalize with a 43 year old whose got an 8 year old's trachea.

So- we'll let you know. Wish us luck. Send good waves,
Magical , Mystical, or Spiritual - I can use it all.

love to all, Wendy

Monday, February 18, 2008

I love words that have more than one meaning...

Like the title of this blog.

If you were wondering, the Swirl refers to what I used to do professionally and what I now do recreationally. I am a self professed cork dork....

The Pearls refers to the words, the 'isms' , the swirling rants of a stay at home mom for whom the internet has given a new refuse to channel her self-professed pearls of wisdom.
Aah , c'mon, gimme a break, huh? Haven't you been reading along?

The real pearls in my life are my two greatest accomplishments thus far in the 43 and 360/365ths years I have been around...

My girls, Emily Rose (age 8) and Rachel Michelle (age 4).

They are two happy children with amazing gifts for language, the ability to tell a good knock-knock joke at a ripe young age, and the inate love of music and dance - and amazing temperamants...Can you guess which half of those things they get from me and which from hubby????
rachel "mom, mom ...knock , knock."
me "whose there"
rachel '' hoof"
me "hoof, who?"
rachel " hoof arted"
I swear she made this up herself. Maybe we can get her a job on Leno.

So you think I've got troubles....

This is an email from our dear friend Tara McNamara....

We got this weird message around the holidays that said 'sorry for the spelling errors, but just recovering from brain surgery....' (there's that screaching sound again)

I have cut and pasted the following. By the way, she inspired me to write the blog.
Her's can be found at and it is quite the hoot.

here is Tara's message this morning.-

Will read as soon as I get home-damn shoddy blackberry-cant pull up websites. I left a msg @ house. Wasn't sure which day u went into surgery. So very glad you are up and about. My blog pretty much says it all, too. I went to obgyn cause just wasn't feelling right, f'd up periods, etc. Ran some tests and hormones were thru roof or dangerously low. Sent for mri, endocronologist Thought it was cushings, turned out I had a tumor size of a pea pressing against pituitary. Went on serious drugs to supress growth of tumor and control hormones. Tumor grew and started to press against optical nerve-caused really bad headaches, visual disturbances, equallibrium, etc. Did lots of research and found a neurosurgeon and ENT that pioneered this procedure. Which a vidoe of similiar procedure is on blog. I didn't share the diagnosis with anyone but sister until I had to tell my family after thanksgiving as they suspected something was up as I said, I just wasn't feeling right. Plus they we're curious about rapid weight loss. It has been a much longer recovery that I expected, however these past two weeks I have really felt the best since this all started in july. Enough about me!! I will read blog and keep up communication. Pls keep me in the loop and I love getting photos of the girls!! Love & miss you all!

By the way, you can post comments without having a google account. You just can't post anonomously. You're email address will not be posted.

check back daily - I am on a roll!

Wend'i' as my friend Keith called me.
Do I look like a Wendy with an 'i'?

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Feelings .Nothing More than Feelings.Trying to Forget My, Feelings of......

I am generally a fearful person. Just ask hubby. I am afraid of trains, planes, automobiles, open water, things touching me when I am in open water. Hubby says I have a general fear of transportation. I am afraid of just about anything that has wheels- steering or otherwise. I used to say I'll be one of those old ladies, with like 20 cats, who everyone is afraid of; A recluse who takes taxi's to the pharmacy for her anxiety pills because she is afraid to drive. And that'll be when I'm like 45. And I hate cats.

I am afraid of doctor's, walking out of a public restroom with toilet paper stuck to my shoe, letting my family down, being discovered to be the whimp I really am....I am afraid of not being in control.

Oddly enough, I am not one of those who is afraid to be alone, or afraid of thunderstorms. or afraid of dying. But I am afraid of being lonely, afraid of world war, and afraid of dying young.

I absoutely hate my hair. Since I have been living in California, I have been blowing my hair dry. The past 10 days or so. it hurts to llft my hands above my head. It hurts to lift my chin so as to hold it back to blow dry my hair. I am curly, it looks weird to me and I hate it. Can't wait for the day it doesn't hurt to do so- then bye-bye Whoopee Goldberg hair!!

I have been wearing scarves on my neck since the surgery. Maybe that can be 'my thang'. Although the swelling and bruising has gone down considerably, I still have what looks like a golf ball in my neck. So, I have been wearing scarves to go out in public. How chic! As odd as it sounds, people do look at you with a sort of sympathetic glare. I bet I subconsciously did it as well . If I saw a woman wearing a head scarf or turbin, I would say she had cancer, and probably hold the door open for her or something lame like that. The other day at the mall with my girls, I got looks. I mean, Christ- it's like 70 degrees here. Who wears a friggin' scarf?

Just today, my friend Jami took me to the indian reservation casino for a girl's day. (thanks - my favorite pastime!) and there were tons of people wearing scarves. It was cold in there. But all I could thing was they were looking at me as if I had the scarf on to hide some plastic surgery scar. But then they'd look at the hair and think, this chick didn't need plastic surgery, just a good hair stylist.

getting fat(ter):
I know, I know....who gives a shit. I'm not fat, just fluffy!

With no thyroid, I will have to be on thyroid hormone replacement medication for the rest of my life. But before I can do that, I have to make sure that this cancer thing is in check and to do that- you stop all thyroid meds for a period of time before the radioactive iodine treatment. You go super hypothyroid (which means underactive = lethargic, dry skin, always cold, and get fat. At least that is what I am told. I already live in sweat pants, what a looker I'll be!

Good thing I have these scarves for the getting cold part.

Can you picture this now? A scarf in summer-wearin', sweat pant sportin', curly bed-head fat lady with 20 cats???? And I hate cats.

Being the center of attention:
I hate being the center of attention. Except on my wedding day. That was the one day that being the center of attention was okay. Don't confuse being the center of attention with being the boss of things. Oh no, that I like. Remember, I like being in control.

What I mean is, I don't like the sympathy. I know people mean well, and they love me (or like me , or tolerate me, or like my husband)and just want to help...but I don't want to talk about this unless I WANT TO. I don't want to be in the position of making other people feel better about this. I am having trouble doing that for myself.

I will make an exception for children , though. Especially my kids and my neice and nephews who have hard such a hard past few months and people being sick and some of them dying.

Look, the fact is that no cancer is good cancer. I rationalize this whole situation by saying that if you had to have cancer, Thyroid cancer is the one to have because it very rarely spreads outside the organ itself. It responds well the Radioactive Iodine Ablation (RIA) and so what, you go on a hormone replacement pill forever? Quite frankly, I always thought if I was going to get a cancer, it would be an unsympathetic "you brought it on yourself by smoking" kind of cancer. Christ, I bet some people don't even know where their friggin' thyroid is!

But, with my track record with 2 'didn't go as planned' surgeries and 'this doesn't happen often', and percentages of this, that and the other things that don't swing in my favor - something will get fucked up. It is out my control. And, I hate that.

Aside from being a self-conscious control freak, can you tell I am a pessimist as well? My wine glass is always half empty. Hence the need for more wine!! And, I am not drinking any fucking merlot...If they order the merlot, I am outta here!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

The 2nd grossest word in the English language

goi-ter n. 1. disease of the thyroid gland that often causes a large swelling of the neck. 2. the swelling. from the french goitre meaning gutter throat.

That says it all, huh? Just from the sound of it - it can't be good. Like the other gross words mucus and phlegm - what the word describes is nuthin' pretty.
If you have to picture it, think of that lady in the Danny DeVito/ Billy Crystal movie 'Throw Momma from the Train" - I think she had a goiter. And, it wasn't her worst feature either.

Which brings me to another point, how does a parent know that their little Brooke or Ashley is going to be pretty? Have you ever honestly seen an ugly or homely girl named Brooke or Ashley? How about a beautiful girl named Gladys or Gertrude? But that discussion is for another day.

So the story goes like this......

I have a lot of symptoms of this that and the other thing....self diagnose ad nauseaum ( the internet friend or foe? yet another post for a later date). Finally, because my husband begs me, I go to a Primary Care Physician (whom shall be addressed as PCP from herein) . White coat hypertension abounds. Blood pressure surely increases as soon as the appoinment is made. PCP listens, but doesn't really believe me - tingling and numbness in lower leg, right side of face/chin/ cheek, and right arm,wrist and fingers. At my behest, PCP sends me to have MRI of brain, lumbar spine (lower back) and cervical spine (neck and upper back). He says, and get this - he actually used these words....."you want to find mulitple sclerosis, so go have the scans done'. My husband David was in the room - I always bring back up 'cuz I may be a hypochondriac, but I am not stupid - and as such, since it was my dime (crappy insurance that I pay a ton for, am I better off being an illegal? Yet another post)- I had the scans done.

October '07- First set of MRI's done. No signs of M.S. , but PCP calls to say studies show signs of spinal stenosis and slight disc bulge blah blah blah. That means a narrowing of the openings in which the spinal cord and nerves come out of and could explain the tingling in arm and leg, but do not explain right sided symptoms. Oh well. "Oh yeah, and by the way (sound of shuffling papers in the background as if PCP is looking up my name as he tells me) there is a small cyst in your brain and we need to rule out a tumor and you have small nodules on your thyroid gland"

SCCCRRREEEAAAACCCHHHHH - if only the blog world was onomatopoeic you would
know that that was the sound of heavy gauge needle scratching the surface of an old
vinyl LP - which at that point was all I heard.


November '07 - go back to MRI center for a more in depth brain scan. In the interim, PCP sends me to a neurologist whom I shall call Dr. Nice lady but no doctor (Dr. NLBND) for a Nerve test. She actually looks up stuff in a book written in like 1941 and photocopies it for my diagnosis. According to Dr. NLBND, I shouldn't carry an attache case and swing it. Nor should I wring out my laundry. Neither of these tasks I do, have done, or plan to do. Thanks, Dr. NLBND, and here's your $347.00 and I blow off follow up visit with her.

PCP sends me to neurosurgeon , whom I shall call Dr. Of All the Nice Looking One's In Your Office, Your Old (Dr. OATNLOIYOYO). He makes me bend and stretch, looks at the MRI's and asks if I have ever eaten raw pork 'cuz this kind of thing mirrors a parasite found in people in under developed countries who eat raw pork. Says, see me in a few months. I promptly pay him his $200.00 consultation fee and blow that off to.

I call PCP and ask what is up with all these lame ass Dr's - he tells me my insurance company doesn't pay good neuro guys in our area. Great.

Now onto the thyroid nodules. PCP has an ultrasound tech in his office. Go for the ultrasound and at least 5 nolules are found in right thyroid lobe. Go home and google thyroid nodules. Fairly large ones, too. You can actually see them sticking out of my neck. Why didn't PCP 'palpate' (or feel) them upon physical exam , I don't know. Swollen glands, too. Talk to my parents (who had just had to cancel their trip out to CA for Thanksgiving because my wonderful dad was too sick to travel - more on that later too.) and my sister who tells me she has nodules too! I go through the next step in testing which is a radioactive uptake study. You take a pill, and then have an X-Ray. The tests shows whether or not the nodules are functioning or not. Hot means yes, they are functioning, Cold means no they are not. Waiting for PCP to call me back on that .

December '07 - First week of the month, I get a call from PCP who says he got the Radioactive Uptake Study results back and everything seems to be working fine. Follow up with him in a few months...whew! I go about my business getting ready for the holidays, and going to Florida to see my parents (maybe for the last time as my dad is in steadily declining health) and keep a happy face for my kids. On or about the 23rd of December, PCP calls me back and says he just got the final final results from uptake study and I do indeed have a cold nodule.

PCP- all the while shuffling papers " Ah, yes, you need to see a general surgeon about those
nodules. I can recommend someone right here in town"

Me- "what, almost 3 weeks ago you told me you got the results back and everything was fine. "

PCP- " well, I just got the final , final report back."
Me- "What is the date on the report, you called me December 8th"
PCP - and get this ...he ACTUALLY says this to me " well, the way insurance works, the more
hands that touch the report , the more the labs can bill insurance, and this one went to
friggin' Pakistan to be read"

I am so friggin' pissed off right now I could feel the blood churning.... "Okay, PCP, who are you gonna send me to now?"

He sends me to Dr. Measles. Just Dr. Measles, I can't make up anything funnier than that. I make an appointment for January 2nd or 3rd when we get back from Florida. I go see Dr. Measles, and this guy I like a lot. The first thing he did was PUT DOWN THE FRIGGIN' PAPERS and just listened to me. He looked me sqaure in the eye and asked what brought me to these incidental findings in the first place. At this point, I once again explained that I was just trying to find out why I am always numb and tingly on my right side -which I still am, BTW - Dr. Measles asked about family history and we talked for about an hour. Just talked. I make an appt. for a Fine Needle Aspiration of the nodules (which, by the by, had grown a few mm's since first ultrasound ) That study is a biopsy for which 4 results can be drawn.
1) clearly benign
2) clearly cancerous
3) indeterminate (or we didn't get enough cells to tell)
4) suspicious of cancer

January '08 The test is scheduled for Jan. 10. I bring my hubby who is a good foil when it comes to me and needles and poking and general doctor stuff. I mean , the guy came to like EVERY Gyn. appt I've ever had....he's the best. We go in and take the test. The needle biopsy is Ultrasound guided, and the tech was the one who , on Xmas eve of '06 , came to the E.R. and found my gallstones. (oh yes, yet another post for another day) We do the thing and half way through it the cell phone rings. I give my husband crap for answering the call and we go through the rest of this. As we leave the place, he tells me my dad passed away just a few minutes ago. I collapse and wail and am uncontrollable for a few minutes. Hubby holds me . I apologize for giving aforementioned crap for answering the phone. We get it together and go about getting ready for the next week or so of sadness (oh yes, you betcha - another post for another time).

We get back to California and Dr. Measles calls me and tells me that the FNA biopsy came back as suspicious of Follicular Thyroid Cancer and the only way to tell is to have one lobe removed and send it out to a lab for blah,blah,blah,blah.....Jeezes H Christ. Another surgery. - In the last 13 months, this will be my third surgery and the third organ I will have removed from my precious and no so well kept body.

Surgery is sheduled and performed on February 8th. I asked Dr. Measles what the complications and risks were on this type of thing. Even though I had googled all there is to know about Follicular Thryoid Cancer treatment, risk and what not , and even though he had already told me about the risks, I wanted to know again. "The biggest risk in this is the patient developing a hematoma after the surgery." he says to hubby and I while I am in pre-op dressed in blue from cap to gown to booties. I say "How many times have you had a patient develop a hematoma in all of your years of doing this ?" 'None." says he assuredly. He goes on to tell me that you have to like the finesse of this kind of surgery as opposed to opening a gut and moving junk around to take out an organ. This is one bloody region of the body with very small and intricate vessels"- he likes this. Okay. that is good to know. Good to know that your surgeon isn't grossed out as much as you are by the mere mention of the word 'goiter'. (bet you were wondering when I would bring up the word again, right?)

Well- I get through the first surgery (first , you say?) and all seems fine in world. Honestly all I remember is being woken -rather shaken awake forcibly, and being yelled at to open my eyes and open my mouth ...I am scared , I say and Measles takes my hand. Later on that evening, when I wake up, and have the friggin' worst sore throat and little mittens on my teeth , and have to pee sumpin' fierce.....(thank you lone orderly man who shoved the little bedpan under my waaay exposed nether regions) I am told that I developed a hematoma and had to go back in for a second surgery to suture the bleeder. If if never happens, it seems to happen to me. I am freezing cold and nurse covers up my 1/2 naked body with a warm blanket. They are wonderful caregivers at Thousand Oaks Surgical Hospital.....again , it's my dime, so why not stay at a nice place? Hubby is there - after several hours and many freak outs, I am this is the second time in 3 surgeries that things went awry that 'never' tell me I am okay and he loves me and I drift in and out of consciousness.

Next morning, Dr. Supple - Measle's office partner (and no, I have no cute name for him either, but am laughingly reminded of the old Three Stooges 'Dewey, Cheatum and Howe' routine) comes in and tells me that there are only two kinds of doctors that hematomas happen to. Those it has happened to, and those it will happen to. I sort of smile (because BTW he is cute and his hands are as his name implies) and drift in and out of morphine induced sleep for the next day or so.

I get home from all this two days later.....waiting for test results. Can't sleep lying down because of the massive amounts of phlegm and mucus in my throat from the trauma. Bruised from nipples to chin without benefit of cosmetic ball sized lump in the throat - Now that's a goiter!!!

Go to see Dr. Measles on the 14th - Valentine's Day (big whoop de doo here) and what would have been my dad's 72nd find that lab results came back and I have a follicular adenoma and Hurthle cell changes suggestive of cancer. Not good pathology report. Hurthle Cell Cancer is not good. And, Measles tells me, only 3% of Follicular cancer is this kind....and when the cells are present, it almost always means cancer. Need to have the other lobe taken out and biopsied, too. It could come back benign.....but from what I have read and experienced, if it is rare, and almost never happens......I'll probably be in the small percentage of people who get this crap.....Google Hurthle Cell and see what you find. I did and I am scared.

So- here I sit. Writing my blog which I have been threatening to do for years, by the way. Scheduled to go back under the knife on February 20th. The good news is , Dr's Measles and Supple know my anatomy. They know I am a bleeder and quick clotter. They know I have the trachea of a nine year old and will use a small tube. They use the same incision site and there is not additional scarring, just completion of the original one to heal which will take several weeks.

Keep you fingers and toes crossed......the fun is just beginning!

**Updated on September 4th , 2008. This was my first ever post. It came to me in a dream while heavily sedated. I woke up, grabbed a laptop, and created my blog. Something I had been threatening to do for years. Anyway - As it turns out, the third surgery went off without a hitch. Now I have no thyroid gland. And, those nasty Hurthle cells never had a chance to procreate their little cancer babies in my system. Now, I am slowly trying to lose the 17 lbs. gained while thrown into Hypothyroidism and I am trying to figure out why my blood calcium levels are so low this many months out of surgery. Chronic pins and needles in my hands, arms, legs, feet, face and mouth...muscle spasms and the feeling like my 'meat is falling off the bones'. Measles is stumped - and now it's time to find another doctor.