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