It's hard to believe, but it's been about 3 weeks since this whole crazy ride started. With no signs of slowing, I get pulled into 2014 by my glands and to what should be an eventual fresh start.
A few days ago I had my final pre-op meeting with both doctors. This was an important meeting for two reasons: it was the last chance for me to ask any questions about life post-removal, and it was the last chance for them to scare the tits off of me. Not on purpose, mind you, but my oncologist had to tell me the "potential complications" of removing my lymph nodes. Of which there are many. I could wake up with my left ear numb for life (earrings!), or without the ability to shrug my shoulders. Of course, I could also have a damaged voice box if he happens to touch the nerves running toward my vocal chords - with the potential to have permanent vocal damage if they have to cut into the right side of my neck. Then there is the damage to the nerves that help to control my diaphragm and keep it moving in unison with my breathing. If that nerve gets damaged, I could grow to have breathing problems, as my diaphragm would be unable to let me take in full breaths. Of course, I could always just slip away on the table and die. When I brought up that I was worried about that, he replied, "Let me be the one to worry about that." Easy for him to say. He'll still be alive.
But at least I won't have cancer.
January 24th is my surgery date, and I'm sure all will be fine. Confidence check: 40% (up from 25% last week). Having anxiety is not the easiest way to deal with an impending surgery - one in which I will wake up with pus drains in my neck and missing materials in my neck. Materials that have evolved over the thousands of millions of years to perform a vital function, reduced to a "simple" 7-hour procedure and a tiny tablet to take after. Whatever.
Shit is tough. It really is. I was reading a Q & A from some Thyroid expert, and someone had asked if Papillary Carcinoma really was the best cancer to get. He replied with probably the most perfect quote I had heard in awhile:
"The only people who say that are the ones who have never had it."
And that really hit home for me, because I have been really downplaying this whole thing because my doctors have all been saying it's "the best". Really? Ok well then I guess it's no big deal. But it IS. To me. Oddly enough, realizing that and finally letting myself accept that this is a big deal allowed me to let it go a bit more, if that makes sense. I no longer struggle with the seriousness of this type of cancer, and therefor I can stop internalizing it so much and just focus on the surgery and all that entails. Which is ... relaxing, in a way. I don't feel like I'm being dramatic. This is a real thing and it's life-threatening (sort of).
So now I wait. I will be making a will, just in case something happens to me, so if you want anything that I have, let me know now. All my savings go to my cats, sorry.