So, all the comments and traffic from my blogging in the closet post have been making me feel that I should maybe reconsider my don’t talk about yourself rule. I’ve mostly broken this by slipping personal posts into my writing category, so I’m tempted to occasionally keep that up since that kind of writing can be both therapeutic and fun. Now, I do not mean to actually go so far as to list my name and picture (Am I a 14 year old girl or 80 year old man? You decide!) but I have been struggling a bit with a kind of dirty little secret that only 2 people in my life know about…so I figure…why not just jump in and start with that?! Forget toe wiggling in water personal stuff, I’m gonna cannonball! (Being able to swim might help-but I’ll worry about that later…) Alright…here it goes:
Once upon a time, in 2010 I went to the doctor and she made a slightly scrunchy concerned face while feeling my neck. She quickly explained that the reason for the scrunchy face was that she felt something that seemed mass-like under my skin and thought it would be good to get some imaging done. Oh boy! Perhaps it’s not scrolling yellow text on a starry background, but it is my dirty secrets back story, and so my considerably unepic journey had begun. Dah Dah! De dah de dah dah! Node wars! Starring your hero Hans Solo/Princess Leia like Livesinstone (Liv to all their fans…both cats agree and are working on pronunciation), who in reality may actually be more like a Jabba the Chewy cross but whateves. Was I getting off track there again? Who me? Oh yeah…dirty little secret…
Really, it wasn’t a long or epic journey, and I know I’m blowing it out of proportion, but I found it a bit harrowing. My imaging showed a mass of about 3 cm (just over an inch for you non metric people) in my neck, but apparently the biopsy (uh, ouchie!) I went to after that confirmed it was a sleeper and although it had moved into the neighbourhood of my thyroid (and officially is refered to as a thyroid nodule) it wasn’t interested in campaigning for a takeover. And my mind, the obnoxious jerk that it is, can’t help but echo, “Yet” over and over like someone coming out of a bad dream in a movie from the 80’s. So, being the doer that I am, I asked what the next step was. I was told to wait and see. Huh. I felt like a small planet with the death star orbiting it. Sure, it’s not shooting at you, so just let it float around, it’s harmless! Waiting and seeing sucks.
It was at this point I probably should have shared this with friends and family. But I didn’t. I needed to forget about it, and the more time passed, the harder it was to just toss that into the conversation. So, I left it, saving it for “the right time”(there never is one). And although it bugged me, I mostly was able to forget that the death star was orbiting my head. Doing some reading on it helped as I found that nodules were quite common and mostly benign. Mostly is good, I should be satisfied with mostly, and mostly, I am. Unless I think about it.
Fast forward to my brief lapse of blogging this past winter in which a similarly fiendish family crisis occurred when a similar such mass showed up in the brain of one of my parents. Due to seizures, which looked a lot like a stroke and indicated it was there in the first place, the doctors this time wanted to cut it out of said parent, so surgery ensued. Even though all was swell(ish) and happy jingles in time for Christmas, it was hard to watch someone you love go through. This kind of emotional roller coaster really sucked to ride on, particularly when I had to put my 13 year old cat down during the middle of it (he was also visited by the cancer fairy) and perhaps made all the more poignant while knowing that I had a ticking time bomb (or lazy leech?) in my neck. I had previously been working up to the “Hey Mom and Dad, I have a node” speech, but the time was never right, and considering the situation at hand, this definitely t’wasn’t the best time and there now probably never would be one. Even now, several months later, my parents recovery is still working its slow process back to full health, and I’m left with this stupid secret that makes me feel just a wee bit dirty for not sharing. And at the same time somewhat deludedly heroic for letting the worry of the death star fall on my own shoulders. See how lucky you now are? You now know my dirty nodey little secret. How’s that for bloggy good fun? I think I might feel 5 pounds lighter already…
And so, after the hospital visits had come to a close, a nugget (ok, a nodule) of worry began to worm its ugly little way into my thinking. What if I was next? What if that quaint little experience (thank God it was free here in Canada, for both my parent and my imaging and biopsy we only ever have to pay for drugs after we leave the hospital and nary a needle or bandage is charged to us– to have to have paid for that privilege or having been unable to pay would have raised the trauma factor by about a gazillion) was looking for a repeat performance. On me. Or more specifically, my neck. Because what’s better than having your family gather around you and getting your throat purposely slashed and tubes shoved down there so you can still breathe? And you only get to communicate with meaningful Hollywood style looks and hand squeezes. OK. I have no idea if that is true (and hopefully it isn’t), but damned if that wasn’t what the macabre little muse in my head tells me it would be like. See, I’m cut out for horror writing, my head just works that way. And so, after all the stress of the previous months, I couldn’t handle the suspense.
So, again, to the doc. Considering my obvious worry (yup, hysterical crying was part of that lovely visit – apparently since I missed doing that in the hospital previously I had a backlog that unleashed itself over
confessing uttering the word “node” to another human being. Fortunately, it was just for the benefit of an intern, who did an impressive job of turning her shock and bewilderment at my sudden outburst in stride. And as she beat a hasty, yet professional, retreat, I managed to put my brave face back on for the doctor’s actual portion of that gong show visit. Yup, that’s me, thoughtfully getting interns ready for crazy since…well, that day) I was told it was an ok time to check into things, since about 2 years had passed.
So I went. They imaged. The image taker was kind, considering I had to lie on a pillow with my shoulders so my neck could stick out to get a really good picture, which left my head free to kind of dangle towards the bed. And so, I was perfectly positioned (yet completely upside down) to see the screen while she worked. And while the imager didn’t say it, I saw how she measured first one big spot (hello nodey!), and then another littler spot.
Um, er, WTF?! I was able to put two and two together. Lovely, looks like nodey has a new neighbour! But instead of asking the imagist, since I really didn’t want to know (as much as I really did want to know) I just stared real hard at the screen, practicing my mental powers of paint shop where I scrubbed that off the screen, or turned it into a smiley face. Then we were done. I waited for the light-headedness from the awkward position to pass, put on my shirt and beelined out the door.
Results came back and the prognosis was as I thought. New node. It’s smaller than the last one, so still nothing they can do. I was told again to wait and see, but this time, come back in 5-6 months. Hopefully it will go away, or stay the same, or maybe then I’ll have a whole partridge family (thanks sadistic mind of mine!) of nodules singing “I think I love you” (yup, that was the song playing in the car from the Copycat movie – did my crazy mind just compare nodes with serial killers? I think it did). So, what have I learned from this and being the somewhat type 1 personality that I am? Waiting and seeing sucks.
So, this is why I’ve been inundating myself, and by default you, to health video reviews. More of those may come (you really only have got the tip of the iceberg there), but since I keep finding the same common theme (eat plant-based diets, try Gerson, juice redonkulous amounts of veggies) I’m not sure you really want to hear more about it. I realize that the doctors said to just wait, but I need to focus on being pro-active to sooth my savage mind, and so far the only pro-active stuff I can find seems to be alternative therapy, which is mostly unrecognized by the medical community – cuz sure, that’ll work.
I realize I probably now sound like a dingbat. And I’m over reacting. (I’m not sure under reacting is my style.) So, what am I doing to distract myself while I wait ‘til May 1st, the approximate 5 and a bit month middle marker when I go back to see how nodey and friend is doing? I officially tried being vegan for one day, successfully, but I’m not quite prepared for that step. So, instead I’ve went with slightly less hard core lacto-ovo vegetarian diet, which I will try for a month (alternating with vegan when I can manage it and figure out how to eat healthily doing so) until test time with hopes that little nodey goes back home to hades. I figure worst case scenario I might get healthier and save a few animals along the way (which I always kind of wanted to do but lacked appropriate nodey motivation). I’m also going to give fresh juicing a try as a supplement. And hope. And wait and see.
Waiting and seeing sucks.