An early gift from Scrooge

Hawaiian sunrise, walmartroadieThe sun finally came out after 40 days and 40 nights of gloom and I was perking up. My holiday spirit was starting to appear. Then I got an email from a good friend.

She was scheduled for a needle biopsy on her thyroid this week. When she arrived for her appointment, the doctor did an ultrasound only to find that her thyroid is three times bigger than normal. The treatment is removal. It doesn’t matter if it is cancerous or not. The treatment is the same. There was no point in doing a needle biopsy. They will find that out when they remove it – in January.

Now this has to be the worst Christmas present you can get. It reminded me of my breast cancer diagnosis nine years ago. I had two surgeries. One was December 7 and the other around December 29th, just before New Year’s followed by radiation in January. This put quite a damper on the holidays.

From a sunny side perspective, I didn’t bake cookies or cook fancy meals. I don’t think I even bought a lot of presents. Friends and family gave me a free pass that year. Any sane person would prefer to do the holiday work then get a cancer diagnosis.

For years afterward my follow-up checkups always were early to mid-December (along with the six month one in June-July).

For cancer survivors, the tests are traumatic. You never know when they will find one errant little cell happily reproducing at an astounding rate. Cancer treatments are not fun. You become neurotic when you get an ache, pain or even a twitch. Is this it? Am I gonna die?

After a few years I started pushing the tests back a week or so. Now my checkups are in January. It may sound silly but at least I don’t have to focus on mammograms, MRIs, blood tests and such while I’m shopping, baking and trying to be perky.

As for my friend, she is upbeat. Her prognosis is good. There is a good chance she doesn’t have cancer. In the event that she does, her treatment will not include radiation or chemotherapy. She also had breast cancer so she has been around the block too.

Understanding all this doesn’t make it easier when you wake up at 3 a.m. thinking…..wondering……hoping……praying……

Photo credits: Hawaiian sunrise by walmartroadie courtesy of Flickr

10 thoughts on “An early gift from Scrooge

  1. Oh to be cut from the same cloth,only mine may be a bit thinner. I try to make all my medical appointments when the weather is warm and the days are long. Somehow, that minimizes my neuroses even when I’m well. I’m always happy when I know you get those good reports. That’s the best kind of gift–for both of us!


  2. First, I’m sorry to hear about your friend’s upcoming surgery. Sometimes the waiting is worse than the actual event.

    Second, it’s funny to me that you are talking about doc visits in this post. I had three annual visits just this week & as I sat in the waiting rooms I came to the conclusion that Dec is really not a good time for me to be dealing with docs. Perhaps, like you, I’ll push my visits back to Jan.


  3. Good move to make your appointments in January! The holidays are usually stressful enough. If it will help, tell your friend you know a blogger who had her thyroid “terminated” in 1998 and has been doing fine since! That’s me, of course, and it’s a true story. 🙂


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