Monday, October 17, 2011

The Blip Is Back

I delayed writing this post until I was a bit further along in the process.  Today, I met with the man who will splay open my neck for a second time and go hunting for some diabolical sons o' bitches--my lymph nodes.

That's right, the blip is back.

Actually, it probably never left.  I distinctly remember the look on my surgeon's face and the tone in his voice when I visited him for a check up after surgery.  As I explained that I was feeling well and adjusting to my hormones, he slowly nodded his head and made a face that, simultaneously, wrinkled his forehead, puckered his chin and made his lips disappear in a weird frown.  He nodded, sighed and slapped his knees as he stood up from the spinning exam stool.  "Well, I'll be interested to see what happens with you in the future."  At first, I was flattered.  I mean, it's not like I was going to see him again, right?  What a sweet guy to be interested in my recovery and subsequent trajectory to awesomeness.

But . . .

As days went by, there was something about his voice during that meeting that left me unsettled.  Something knowing.  Something he didn't know how to tell me.  Did I say something inappropriate while waking up from anesthesia?  Did I have a gown malfunction?  What did my mother say that I did not expressly authorize as acceptable mother/surgeon conversation?  Shit.

Now I know. 

Along with my thyroid, he took 20 lymph nodes, 8 of which were cancerous.  His "interest" in me was his way of saying I did the best I could.  I scraped out as much as I could find, but I can't guarantee I got it all.  

The good news is, there is not much left to get.  4 lymph nodes lodged in the right side of my neck that were probably too small to see the first time around.  I'll be in the hospital overnight and have a spiffy new neck scar for my collection.

The great news is, I now have the benefit of working for some of the best surgeons in Los Angeles.  I would be a jackass if I didn't use my resources, so I rolled into my boss's office and said, "Say a girl needs a good surgeon.  Any idea where I could rustle up one?"  As only someone who chooses to slice people open for a living can, he was down right gleeful to set me up with his favorite scalpel wielder.  In the time it took me to walk from his office back to mine, the email was written.  15 minutes later there was a reply, and 15 minutes after that I had an appointment.  Boom.

The really amazing news is D.R. will be there when I wake up.  Alice B. will rest her head on my chest while I recover on the couch.  My family will call incessantly to make sure I'm alright.  My friends will stop by, bring food, send messages and ask if I need anything. 

I am, and will be, love smothered. 

I just need to give my new surgeon fair warning about my mother.


  1. Sending thoughts of health to you and I know this time they'll get it all.

  2. Damn it, Sam. I am so angry at lymph nodes and thyroids and life right now. I am so fucking angry you have to go through this all again. I love you and I know you've got this all covered but it sucks. It just plain sucks. Fucking life. Why's it gotta be so... ugh. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.

    I fucking love you. So fucking much. Fuck.


  3. I just spent a while catching up after someone linked me to your blog. I myself am dealing with a relatively new thyroid cancer diagnosis and connected so much with your earlier posts. This one especially hit home, my surgeon missed a suspicious lymph node so now I'm in a weird place between a conservative surgeon and a more aggressive endo, trying to figure out what the heck to do ... joy.

    I just wanted to let you know I was thinking of you. I know it's been some time since you've written, hopefully you're recovering nicely from surgery and lusting after macarons right about now (Btw, they're one of my favorite foods ever! I had to write when I saw that!)

  4. Stephanie, thanks so much for the kinds words and thoughts. I actually have not had surgery yet and can feel the anticipation rising. I wish you strength and all good things as you move through the process. It's a strange thing to deal with--a cancer diagnosis, but a "good" cancer diagnosis. Is there such a thing?--and I am still reminding myself that I must walk with it in the moment and not let the anxiety of the unknown get the best of me. Looking forward to reading more of your blog as well.