Post-Op appointment today with my endocrine surgeon. I was SO excited to hear that I could resume normal exercise activity. I was staring with happiness and vanity at my scar in the mirror ( before having the new flesh-colored tape put on) when the words, “And now we have to talk about the pathology” were spoken.
Y’all. What pathology?!
And this begins the story of how having an MS flare over the summer led to a non-regularly scheduled MRI that showed that my right thyroid gland was being an asshole and trying to choke me by compressing my trachea. I just thought my swallowing and weird -feeling- in -my -throat issues were one of the gifts of MS. Because those can be typical symptoms. The huge lump growing out of my neck was something I was so used to because it has been there since my Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis was discovered back when I was 40. I guess I wasn’t vain enough to notice that it had shifted and grown even bigger….
Anyway, Surprise Surprise: I actually did have a very small 2 millimeter “baby cancer” carcinoma. Too small for the fine needle biopsy to even find. So small that, as the surgeon said, “ You kind of got a 2 for 1 because the treatment IS the total thyroidectomy.” More on that in a minute.
After his multiple reassurances that I do not need any further treatment- no radioactive iodine treatment which is standard for bigger thyroid carcinomas- and that it absolutely had not metastasized ( way too tiny) and was definitely not in my lymph nodes- I actually laughed. Because this could have been a different story. A story of another Fuckening.
I laughed because I have MS to actually THANK because it’s the reason this was found so very early. It would have certainly been found this year with my regular old MRI- but it could have been bigger and created more problems. Can’t even process all of that right now- and I don’t really have to!
As my son said, “ Now you can’t complain that you have MS.” I called bullshit on that very quickly- as we all know- We can be frustrated AND grateful AND overwhelmed AND joyful all at the SAME TIME.
Back to the interesting part about having a total and not a partial thyroidectomy: initially, the surgeon had said we might just want to do a partial on the right side because that part was the rude part. This is where listening to your GUT and trusting your intuition comes in. I immediately said that, knowing my body and the way it likes to attack me somewhere, I wanted the WHOLE thing OUT because otherwise the left side would just start growing and then we’d be right back here and he’d just get more money for the second surgery. So THAT was the side that had the baby cancer- my “good” part of the thyroid. The part that may have been left in if I did not insist vehemently that I wanted it ALL GONE- and which he was completely understanding about. He hugged me with such warmth and kindness today. Surgeons are human, too.
So, what a day it has been. A Good Day. For many reasons. Thank you, MS. Said with actual thankfulness and not sarcasm.
May we all remember to listen to ourselves. To check in with our bodies, spirits, and minds as we travel along doing the best we can, learning how to be our own experts.