If there was one song that I’ve used as a source of inspiration over the last year and half, it’s this one.
Life has been hectic and stressful the last two months.
Went to get an Ultrasound-guided FNA on that mass at the beginning of April, they couldn’t find anything suspicious. Um. What? Dr. Roth ordered a PET/CT scan and insurance didn’t decline it (yay!). Went in for that and was 7 pounds over the weight limit of the table. I knew about these limits already since I had to go down to Tacoma after my radioactive iodine treatment to get a full body scan. The hospital staff can clearly see my weight listed in their records, and they know the limit of the table. Why was I even scheduled? I went on a tear and lost 14 pounds in about 3 weeks, so I scheduled another attempt at the PET/CT scan. Everything went fine with the scan, so I waited to hear the results. Waited some more. Called Dr. Roth two weeks after the scans and left a message. She finally called me back a week later. Told me that the mass appeared in the PET scan, so there’s metabolic activity and we really need to get a biopsy done on it. There’s also some enlarged lymph nodes on the right side of my neck, but they didn’t uptake any of the radioactive material so we don’t really need to worry about those and no other sites appeared to uptake it either, that’s good news. She said she’s going to talk to the CT folks and see if they think a CT guided FNA is a possibility. Alrighty then. She calls me back Monday morning and told me she was able to get all the radiologists to talk to each other about my images. They come to the conclusion that that mass is actually the left submandibular gland… You see, the right side was removed as part of the modified neck dissection along with my thyroid. So when they were doing all the scans and ultrasounds over the last year they would see this “mass” but nothing to compare it to on the right side. Great. I’m glad it is nothing, but I’m upset at all the time and stress that was wasted on this. I go in again for regular imaging (I’m guessing an ultrasound) in October/November.
Finished up with speech therapy last month. Had an appointment with Dr. Merati at the end of April, we agreed that we’re not happy with the outcome of the implant and speech therapy. He then referred me over to his counterpart Dr. Allen Hillel. I had my first visit with him on Monday. We went over things, put the scope down my nose to see how things look, he believes that the left vocal cord is damaged as well. WHAT?!? We discussed doing a revision on the implant and the potential of putting an implant in on the left side as well. Great. I mentioned to him that Dr. Merati had mentioned the possibility of doing a type of reinnervation instead. He said we could certainly look into that and if it does work, would give me the most natural voice possible, but it’s a 50/50 shot and it takes 6-9 months before we can see if it actually worked. I told him that I’m ok with that time frame. Hell, it’s been 18 months with this mess that I have now… So, I’m now scheduled for a Laryngeal EMG where they’ll put some needles into my neck to check for electrical activity. This should help them to determine which would be the best way to go. Sounds like there’s only a handful of places that are equipped with the machines and staff to do this type of test in the country, glad I’m going to one! While Dr. Hillel doesn’t seem to be nearly as personable as Dr. Merati, maybe he’ll come around. It was an odd appointment for sure.
Now that we found out that the mass is nothing to worry about I was free to schedule my nose surgery. I took advantage of that and called the scheduler Monday afternoon. Unfortunately, he was already gone for the day, but did call me back on Tuesday. I told him I wanted a Thursday surgery so I limit the time off of work, he told me the first Thursday was June 26th. We have our annual Forum Fest car show the 28th, so that wasn’t going to work. I asked him what’s next, he came back with July 3rd. Bingo! We have a winner, especially with the next being a paid holiday that means I only have to take that Thursday off, and hopefully I’ll be able to work from home or even feel good enough to come in the following week. Looking forward to this surgery more than I was the implant surgery. I can’t wait to be able to breathe out of my right nostril again.
In between all these medical appointments, I got the news that my Grandpa died in a car accident in Spokane on the 1st. 3 weeks away from his 97thbirthday (today). We sure had some good times. Luckily, I was able to head over and help my Dad for a couple days to get things organized. I don’t know how much help I was, but I’m sure that just being there was good. The services will be next weekend.
Found myself riding my bike more frequently now that the weather is better. Decided that the stock seat was preventing me from longer rides so I replaced it last week, going for a ride tonight for the first time with it. Looking forward to it!
Went to the Thyroid Cancer Support group last weekend, I think it’s been about 5 months since I last went. Felt good, but I still think I need to find a psychiatrist to talk to regularly. Found out that the book and movie, “The Fault in Our stars” is about a girl with terminal thyroid cancer. So I went and bought the book. Even though it’s fiction it is based on a true story, now let’s see if I actually sit down and read it. Although, it’s exceedingly rare for a 16 year old to get Stage IV thyroid cancer (meaning that it’s of the anaplastic variety), anyone under the age of 45 gets put into a Stage I or II normally. If I was over that age, I would’ve been Stage III or IV, but since there wasn’t distant metastasis I’m a Stage I, I think. They don’t really stage thyroid cancer the same way that they stage other cancers. Anyway, I look forward to seeing the movie when it comes out too.