Saturday, May 5, 2012

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" in your mouth....strange). I didn't immediately have issues with my salivary glands post RAI but did at my first dentist appointment after treatment and surgery in 2008 (maybe four months later). It was like my jaw locked up. Strange and horrible feeling.

Then there are the lymph nodes....those awesome things on the right side of my neck are not my friends and were not MCA's. Prior to my first surgery in 2008, the radiologist had identified several that were "worrisome" that the surgeon would need to evaluate and/or remove. He took 14 and four were cancerous, two the size of small plums. The surgeon is looking for two more of those biopsy-confirmed, cancerous lymph nodes on Friday.

MCA was 47 when he passed. I am 44.

He's a singer from New York. I never knew him. But music has a way of making us believe we know someone and have a connection. Music is healing and heartbreaking and fun and wonderful and....I feel a connection with a person who passed yesterday that I never knew.

Surgery this Friday is creeping in on me like a fog not hitting me as a train. It's a slow and torturous buildup to the unexpected. Yes, I know what the surgery is and what is to be done so how is it unexpected? The surgery is expected, the results are unpredictable. We know what the surgeon is looking for but what will he find? He has found surprises, and not good ones, with my previous two surgeries.

Some have said, and I agree, that there is something to be said for knowing what to expect this time. Yeah, I know what to expect....and it scares the crap out of me.

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