Voicing My Concerns

I hate whiny, complainy type people, yet here I am, bemoaning life… I forgive me though, because who doesn’t like to wallow in self-pity every now and then?!?! Plus, when I’m not pissing and moaning I’m pretty fun-loving, amiright?!?!

Yesterday was a clusterfuck. <-My favorite curse word!

Actually, it all started Thursday when I got the call reminding me that I had an appointment with Dr. Neck Surgeon in NYC for my yearly follow up.

Q: What are we following up on?

A: It’s a long story, but here it is: I have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis with a side of thyroid cancer! Hashimoto’s is basically when your body tries to kill your thyroid, immune disorder style! In some cases, the onset of Hashimoto’s and elevation of antibodies will be accompanied by a variety of symptoms, including anxiety, difficulty sleeping, fatigue, weight changes, depression, hair loss, muscle/joint aches and pains (among other things, those are my top complaints. Can’t imagine why I’m having trouble losing weight! You can read more here if you’re bored and/or curious.) After lots of “fun” needle aspirations (6 of them!) to determine if the caner was a “bad cancer” they decided that it might be, buuut since they still weren’t 100% sure they wanted to leave me with 1/2 a thyroid (whether it works properly or not!) So about 2 years ago July, they removed half my thyroid and sent it out for a thorough biopsy, if it came back good then we’d just monitor the other half forever, if it came back bad then once I was completely healed we’d go in for the other half.

The biopsy report said it was hurthle cell carcinoma and they’d have to go back in for the rest of it, but Dr. Neck Surgeon said he examined the slides and disagreed with the lab and I could keep the other half. I was torn about it, on the one side I don’t want nasty hurthle cells metastasizing to my lungs and dying a slow, painful death like the girl from The Fault in Our Stars. (That story was a bit close to home when I read it. Sheesh. Tears all around if you decide to pick up that book.) On the other side I don’t want to have to go through surgery, vomit from the anesthesia, be voiceless for months because they have to move my vocal chords, not be able to exercise for a month, and have to wear scarves during the summer all over again (even light scarves are hot in August).

Q: Um, your reasons for not wanting surgery are kind of dumb and a bit vain.

A: That’s not a question, and not really the point. Jerk. I understand that it’s better to get it done; I have a family to raise, and my parents would be deeply disappointed if I kicked it any time soon, but it was really hard to not have a voice, I couldn’t read to my kids or sing them lullabies or make up silly stories, I couldn’t sing with the radio, or teach dog training classes (my livelihood and passion.) And for someone who has always loved to sing, and has a bit of pride about her voice, not being able to sing for 7 months or so was painful, physically and emotionally. It took over a year for it not to crack while talking/singing, and it still will give out if I’m slightly ill or talk too much.

Q: Yeah, but it beats being dead. You should be grateful.

A: Thanks for the update on that. I got it, and I’m super grateful I’m probably not going to die from this, but shut it. It’s my thyroid and I’ll cry if I want to.

Back to Thursday! So I got the call reminding me about an appointment I made a year ago and had completely forgotten about. We had to figure out our car situation, because driving my pick-up truck in the city would not be good times. Thankfully my favorite Heather let us borrow her car! We had to take the kids with us so I made sure to pack snacks and coloring books for them to keep busy with in the waiting room, I’m so prepared. I also made sure to grab my latest ultrasound report (as my endocrinologist has been keeping tabs on the lumps and bumps in my remaining half-a-thyroid) because I figured Dr. Neck Surgeon would want to have a look-see. I put it on the dashboard of the truck so I would see it and not forget it!

We switched into Heather’s car at her place of work, and started driving… for about 2 miles… when I remembered that I had left the ultrasound report on the dash of the truck. We go back, grab it, and are on the way again!

It’s about 60-70 miles to the part of NYC that Dr. Neck Surgeon practices. Kayleigh fell asleep, Devin mostly complained about how long it was taking, and Bear told him to be quiet not so nicely after the first round, it was pretty fun. We parked in the parking garage next door to Dr. Neck Surgeon’s building, went in his building and up to the 5th floor and as I was checking in they called me back. Guess what I forgot in Heather’s car in the parking garage? That damn ultrasound report. (Did I mention that “brain fog” and memory issues are side effects too? Fun!) So I sent Barry a text and he took the kids back down and out to get it while Dr. Neck Surgeon felt my neck, glands, thyroid etc. and looked down my throat with his little mirror. (Barry is kind of a saint sometimes, but don’t tell him I said that, I don’t need it going to his head.)

**Want to test your voice skills? Pull your tongue out and down (pinching it in gauze) and have someone look down your throat with a mirror while you try to sing the long “e” sound. I’ve gotten better at it I guess… Dr. Neck Surgeon doesn’t tell me, “No, make the ‘e’ sound and hold it.” over and over while I think I’m doing that very thing to the best of my ability anymore.**

Dr. Neck Surgeon said my vocal chords are finally back in sync and working perfectly now (yea!!!) “We’re just waiting on that ultrasound report and I’ll run your thyroglobulin levels and you’ll be good to go.”

I was not good to go. He read the report and decided that although they hadn’t really changed in size, the amount of nodules and the difficulty of finding them all every time they checked would be ridiculous, plus the fact that the big lump in the other half had gone bad, which means the chances one or more of these would go bad was increased, so we’d better play it safe and remove the other half.

When I walked out and told Bear he said, “Why the f*%& didn’t they just take the whole thing out the first time then, like they should have?” (He actually edited fuck on his own, radio style, because of the children. It was a proud moment!)

*I think Dr. Neck Surgeon did not disagree with the initial biopsy report after all, but was waiting for me to completely heal and didn’t want me worrying for two years until they could remove the other half. But that’s just my theory and cannot be proved.*

So it is what it is, I’ll be waiting for Dr. Neck Surgeon’s assistant to call and schedule the surgery. In the mean time I’ll be keeping myself busy with things like sewing and crocheting cute stuff for Heather’s baby boy, because adorable baby stuff can help cure anxiety and depression, that’s SCIENCE!

P.S. Don’t feel sorry for me, I’m fine. Seriously. Chances are I’m probably not going to die from this, unless I die from the anesthesia, or I fall off the table, or the elevator at the hospital crashes, or Heath Ledger blows up the hospital to mess with Christian Bale and the rest of Gotham, something like that. Everyone else will be stressing about it way more than me. (I’ll be stressing about the fact that despite cutting out refined sugars, eating healthy and clean, and exercising 5 days a week, I’m still not losing pounds or inches. F you thyroid. F you right in your nodules.)

P.P.S. I’m sorry if I should have told you about this before posting it on the internet. You know who you are, and I’m sorry if it hurt your feelings. I didn’t think about it until just now, and it’s kind of late to text you since I don’t know what hours you’re working. I’m sorry. And I love you. And Happy Easter!


2 thoughts on “Voicing My Concerns

  1. first time you have ever made me cry and it better be the last beotch!! . I still remember your beautiful voice and when you sang my heart will go on. Mike said you should wear a hot choker to cover the scars. Before you get all judgy, remember he is a 45 year old man still stuck in the 80’s. He also suggested you record that beautiful voice singing and reading stories. He does have his smart moments. I think he is secretly wishing I get this disease….as 7 months of me not talking would be heaven to him. I was not put here to be heaven for him though. So i shall continue to torture the shit out of him by talking all day long!!!! In all seriousness though, I admire you so f*cking much!!!!!!!!!!!! You are a wonderful woman!!!!!!!!!


    • Awe, thank you! I didn’t mean to make you cry! I totally lol’d at the chokers though, do they even make those anymore?!?! I bought myself some cute new scarves, because who doesn’t love an excuse to shop for themselves?!


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