Skip to main content

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.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Back to the Doctor...and 10 Things I Hate About Thyroid Cancer

OK, look at the last time I added a blog post....yes, January. Ridiculous. It's been too long since I've written, and I apologize for that. Time marches on, for the good or bad, and it has slipped away from me.

One item on my thyroid cancer timeline I see not documented in my blog: I did get more bloodwork done in April. It was good news: no change in the thyroglobulin. Just gotta keep on top of it and make sure that it doesn't get above 2.0.

I'm going to see Dr. W on Friday to check in, let him tell me it's time to get it and the TSH checked again. And...OK, here's the thing: I feel something/am having strange twinges on the left side of my neck. Everything has been on the right side to date so maybe......what is it? I will listen to my gut and let Dr. W tell me it's nothing rather than assuming that. Because even though I can say "oh, it's nothing," the thinking about it and worrying will drive me crazy.

Also, I discovered yesterday an amaz…

Letter to Dr. W

The latest and greatest (?) on the beast that is thyroid cancer, best expressed via the letter I sent to my new endocrinologist/thyroid cancer specialist:

After a year, I'm still waiting....and waiting

Here I am back again at my blog talking about thyroid cancer again. I had my yearly appointment last week with Dr. Wartofsky. It was an interesting one. He had two students in the exam room with us. I didn't mind. He's one of the best thyroid cancer doctors in the world (I'm not kidding) so please, spread your knowledge to any who will listen.

He could have easily said, gesturing to me, "This is exhibit A, a papillary carcinoma patient who has had multiple recurrences." I actually think he did that before I came in the room.
I started the appointment with honesty: "Hey, I am really nervous because I have not gone a year between appointments since my recurrence." He understood. The students nodded.
I showed the students my scars along with their accompanying stories. I have two scars: one large one about five inches long centered on my neck, lower half, and the other about three inches long on the upper right side of my neck. The longer one was used twi…