This morning I saw an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist. After I thoroughly embarrassed myself and fell apart in his office, I cried pretty much for the rest of the day. Overwhelmed is an understatement. Confused. Fearful. Frustrated. These all come into play.
Basically I learned that it takes new doctors a very, very long time to figure out just what I’ve been through, and then they still don’t get it. And when that doctor has a touch (just a touch) of arrogance and thinks they know it all when they don’t really have an inkling of what I’ve been through… well, then it just makes it worse.
After explaining to him all my cancers and how I spent a summer going over the mountain to a geneticist and how they determined my cancers aren’t genetic thankfully, he shrugged and said, “All cancers are genetic.” Aaaaand he lost me right there, so I had to work really hard to listen to him and not just shut down which is what I wanted to do… what I’d just love to do today. Shut down. No thinking. No figuring out what to do, where to go, etc. Just. stop. the. world. for a moment so I can catch my breath and some shred of sanity!
However, he did have encouraging things to say. The enlarged lymph node is just there, fighting something and doing it’s job. Not to worry about that one. He does think there is some impact from my thyroid treatment on my salivary gland on that side, but nothing he should have to do surgery on. Just something to watch.
He can’t feel the node the radiologist recommended the biopsy on and when he read the report, he said, “Oh, sweetie, it’s 8mm. Do you know how small that is?” Well, yes, yes I do. The radiologist told me it was small. He also said there is some calcification in it and metastatic cervical nodes from cancer of the thyroid tend to show calcification. “Well,” he continued, “It’s really small. AND it’s right between your carotid artery and your jugular vein. The risk of something happening there is greater than your risk of it being cancer.”
He recommends waiting. Another ultrasound in 3 months. If it hasn’t changed or grown, then wait another 3 months… and so on and so forth. Because thyroid cancer is so slow growing, 3 months won’t hurt me. He is contacting my oncologist. She will call me to discuss and we will go from there.
It was at that point when I fell apart, because I just. don’t. know. what. to. do. And I’m tired of making decisions and being poked and prodded and wondering and waiting and having no clear answers.
Here we are.
Hurry up and wait.
Y’all. I am exhausted. Utterly and completely exhausted.
And to top it off, my Ash had exams all week and is in the final stages of his science project (and y’all, I am convinced that there cannot be good in a world where there are science projects), so our home is in high stress mode right now.
Despite my desire to shut down, I didn’t. I did the things that I am called to do–care for the ones I love–and I went to my warm and happy place: the laundry. I love the freshness, the smell of clean, the piles of neatly folded memories. That’s what they are. Some may see a shirt or a skirt or a pair of pants, but I see memories. As I fold a pair of pants, I think about that boy sliding in the gym, or that girl dancing in the kitchen, and I thank God for them and I pray for them, and I find solace in socks and sweaters and dresses and jeans.
While I was folding and praying, I realized this is all new to me. Not the laundry… not the waiting… not the scans. We have always been in a place where they found cancer, treated it or cut it out, scanned me and then said, “You’re clear.” I’ve never had to live for months wondering if it’s there. Will it come back? That was a questions I was always facing. Am I carrying cancer around with me all the time? Asked upon occasion but for all intents and purposes, I was clear. Cancer free.
Am I cancer free right now? I don’t know. All I know is there are things “of concern” inside me, and we will just sit and watch and wait and wonder what it is.
This is new.
And not easy.
And I am exhausted in every sense of the word.
Here we are.
Whate’er my God ordains is right:
He never will deceive me;
He leads me by the proper path:
I know He will not leave me.
I take, content, what He hath sent;
His hand can turn my griefs away,
And patiently I wait His day.
(~One of my favorite hymns. By Samuel Rodigast)
(Thank y’all for praying and encouraging and holding us up to the One Who knows. I am blessed. I am loved. Of that I have no doubt. The children still don’t know, although I’m sure they sense the stress. Please pray for their hearts.)