Saturday, September 19, 2009

Onward & Upward

Finally, finally, here's a photo of my scar! I am so pleased with how it looks - even tho it's fun to joke that I wish it looked a little more badass. It's perfect, as far as scars go - small & neat & symmetrical. I'm told it'll disappear pretty much completely in a couple of years, but I honestly wouldn't mind if it stayed the way it is.

It's been nearly a month since my last update, and in that time I've had my first post-surgery meeting with my endocrinologist (the doctor who is overseeing my hormone levels) and a second, final follow-up with my surgeon.
All the results I've gotten and the discussions I've had this month have been positive (and occasionally downright excellent) - still such a pleasant surprise, every time.

A brief list of facts & info from my endocrinologist visit:

- My thyroid hormone levels are looking great. I'm taking the pill every morning without fail, and apparently my guts are absorbing it well. My doctor is considering making me a little more "hyper", which he thinks can be achieved by my taking an extra half-pill one morning a week. But we're going to hold off on that for now due to the fact that:

- I will probably be doing the radioactive iodine (RAI) therapy in November. I chose the time period because my birthday is in October (as is Halloween) and I'd like to be able to enjoy the month without worrying about all the small but real annoyances of the treatment. If I do it in November I might have to feel crappy thru Thanksgiving, but I will be perfectly fine by Christmas and can therefor welcome (gratefully) the new year having dealt with all my medical issues for the foreseeable future.

- Regardless, it seems that all of the cancer has been removed. My blood test shows no "markers" and while the nodule was sizable (4 centimeters) the cancer was comparatively quite small, and they tell me it was very contained (i.e. didn't look like it was trying to spread from its small spot in the nodule.) The RAI therapy is optional, but is recommended as it's seen as a safeguard against recurrence (which is somewhat common in this type of cancer.) This is another tough decision for me, since even tho the radiation levels will be smallish it's still, you know, radiation, and regardless of whether or not I get the treatment the cancer may never appear again, or it might pop up in ten or twenty years. It's not as crazy-making a choice as surgery was (thank god) - I already think it's probably for the best and will probably go thru with it. Plans have already been made for the RAI, in fact - I am just trying to decide whether I should cancel them or not.

My follow-up with my surgeon went pretty smoothly. My voice is finally improving to the point where I can converse in crowded spaces and can even almost shout a bit! It's a little rough around the edges still, but I'm expecting further improvements, and my surgeon seems to agree. I didn't get a scope up my nose this time - they were in short supply that day, apparently. Instead, my surgeon grabbed my tongue, put a mirror in the back of my mouth, and had me [try to] say "eeeee!" Fun times. He said it looked better in there, at any rate, so it was worth the awkwardness.

So, I'm pretty much just coasting along at this point. It's been an entertaining month - I'm enjoying all sorts of Bay Area activities: A trip to the Academy of Sciences planetarium for a lecture on the Voyager program, Taco Tuesday on Lake Merritt, celebrating a friend's birthday at the Oakland Coliseum (the A's won and there were fireworks after the game!), seeing "The Third Man" at the Castro Theatre..... so much fun in one month, and it's not over yet!

While my life has changed irrevocably since my diagnosis in May, it's a giant relief to know that it carries on, and that even scary things can have relatively happy endings. It's not over yet, but I'm still feeling good about all of this.