I had a doctor’s appointment on Monday afternoon. Basically, the surgeon will remove the nodule and part of the thyroid and send a frozen section to pathology. They will do a quick test and see if it’s cancer or not. If the test says it’s cancer, they will remove the whole thyroid. If not, they will leave the rest. Unfortunately, a frozen sample test is not 100% accurate, so they will send the sample to pathology for more extensive tests. This means there is a chance (don’t know how large) that they could remove the thyroid without it being cancer, or that they could need to go back and do more surgery. I’m not sure whether a partial thyroid would be able to function. The doctor says it’s possible, but I need to find out how possible this is.
One intriguing thing I learned is that one of the surgeons actually does this surgery not through the neck, but under the arm. He is guided by a robot. It’s a little space age, in a way, a robotic operation. The good thing about that is I would not have a scar on my throat, but the bad thing about that is there is only one surgeon who does that, and it would involve cutting through muscle. I’ve done the post-operation muscle pain (I had my knees rebuilt (NOT replaced, rebuilt!) at 22) so I’m not sure about that either. Anyway, it’s something I might learn more about, just to have the information.
At the same time, I no longer trust the odds anymore. I mean, I only had a 20% chance of needing surgery, and I beat those odds, unfortunately. So the odds of something going right or going wrong are not very comforting right now. There is a small chance that I could develop a hoarse voice, because the nerve that controls the vocal cords is behind the thyroid. This is uncomon, and it’s rarely permanent. But that’s not necessarily comforting, because I feel a little unlucky right now.
Anyway, I’ve noticed that every time I go to the doctor, or get this kind of news, I seem to go through the stages of grieving over the next two days. On Monday, I went and walked around a neighborhood after the doctor’s visit, and I didn’t feel much. Denial. Then I went home, and a woman who had been annoying me did something to annoy me even further. I called a friend and complained about her, and silently cursed the entire human race for the next couple of hours. Anger. Finally, exhausted from my anger, I went to bed, where a certain amount of Bargaining took place. The next day, I woke up, and I backtracked a little bit, back into Denial, but by lunch time I had fully moved back out of Denial and into Depression (conveniently skipping stages 2 and 3).
Right now I’m in stage 4.5, in between Depression and Acceptance. I’m still trying to come to terms with this and trying not to engage in fortune telling or black and white thinking. Just because I “beat the odds” and may have cancer doesn’t mean that nothing will ever go right for me ever again. I can’t know that, no one can. No one knows the future.
Either way, I have some good plans for this weekend, so that will help me achieve stage 5, acceptance by Monday night. Which will be good, because the next day, I have a consultation with an endocrine surgeon. So by Tuesday morning, I’ll be back into Denial again.