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Showing posts from May, 2012

Two steps forward, one step back

Everyday, I am feeling better in terms of my neck. The sore, sometimes random pains have mainly shifted from my ear/jawline to the actual incision, which is to be expected. Example: last night, it felt like someone was pricking my incision with straight pins. This is good, as I understand, as it means that the feeling is gradually starting to return to the area. If the pain is too intense, now I just take a dose or two of ibuprofen throughout the day for pain instead of percocet. Swelling has mostly gone down, but I do notice a little still.

Tomorrow is my post-op appointment with the surgeon. It has become a ritual of some sorts that my mom attends this appointment with me then, after Dr. Sanders takes off the last of the steri-strips remaining on the incision, they both curiously stare at the incision on my neck. This has happened with all three surgeries. In fact, my mom scheduled her flight back to Oklahoma on Saturday so she could attend the appointment with me and conduct said …

Pathology Report

Nothing much to see here...two of six lymph nodes positive for papillary carcinoma. Basically the two lymph nodes shot with dye got top billing.

My first reaction: Dang, took those extra ones.

Upon further review: Glad he took those extra ones as lymph nodes on the right side of my neck don't have a great track record. To date between two surgeries, six of 20 lymph nodes have been positive (there's that term again...) for cancer. Maybe those four extra he took would grow cancer cells in the coming years and he saved me another surgery? Who knows...glad he took them all as a preventative measure.

I overdid it yesterday. Not as many naps and too much activity. I'm down for the count today. My mom says she is not taking me anywhere today and, in fact, I will have to walk if I have big plans. No big plans are made. I will not be walking the streets in my PJs, no worries.

Slowly but surely

The pain is subsiding. Here is the best way I have found to describe feels like someone took a bottle brush and twirled it on the right side of my neck from my ear along my jawbone to under my chin to my clavicle. Make you wince? Yep, me too. The swelling is still there but markedly better.

Sleep seems to still be the best medicine. When I get sleepy and tired, I feel like my body is saying, "hey, we need to do more healing. Get to sleep," and I haven't had too much trouble falling asleep at all since last Friday.

I still don't know my pathology results. My surgeon and I keep playing phone tag. I do know he took a frozen section during the surgery of the two lymph nodes that were shot with blue dye, which confirmed the papillary carcinoma.

So what should the pathology report show? That at least those two lymph nodes were positive (an ironic term for cancer, right? I digress...), but he also removed "a bunch" of other lymph nodes. I would like to kn…

Round three begins: "I'm not sick, I'm not well."

My third thyroid cancer surgery was Friday, May 11, 2012. Before going to surgery, I paid a visit (along with my entourage, as they called themselves, of my husband, mother, and Aunt Freddie) to the radiologist so he could inject the two known cancerous lymph nodes with blue dye. This was done and then circled with a blue sharpie on the outside of my neck for good measure (and lots curious looks).

After a one hour delay, surgery was underway. Surgeon said he was easily able to identify the offending lymph nodes and take them. Said he also took some others for good measure and/or he didn't like the way they looked. Said he could see my jaw from where he was in my neck. Super. Of note, he did have to make a new incision on my neck. This one starts on the right side of my neck about midline down from my chin and goes from there to close to my ear. A lovely addition to my growing collection of battle scars from thyroid cancer.

In the hospital post-op, I was hungry but couldn't eat…

MCA, you got me thinkin' about more than "Brass Monkey"

Adam "MCA" Yauch died yesterday, May 4, 2012 (left in the photo). He was a co-founder of the Beastie Boys, one of my favorite groups of all time. While working yesterday afternoon, I played Beastie Boys music, revisiting some of my favorites, thinking of the times I have smiled and sang "Brass Monkey, that funky monkey..." with my youngest daughter.

MCA's death hit a little too close to home. The parallels are continuing to haunt me.

MCA had cancer of the parotid or salivary glands with lymph node involvement. With my first surgery, I had issues with a parotid post-surgery, which causes you to need calcium medically given to you until the calcium levels are adequate to leave the hospital.

When thyroid cancer patient have surgery, this is often followed up with radioactive iodine treatment or RAI. Often folks treated with RAI will have salivary gland issues have the treatment - maybe blocked or dysfunction (imagine trying to swallow without some "juices&qu…