Pins and Needles

I feel like I only sit down and write these when I’m in crummy mood.
Had a regular follow up with my Endocrinologist this morning.  Nothing out of the ordinary, but I did mention that I had some heart arrhythmia or palpitations or something when I was at the dentist office last Friday and again on Sunday.  It hasn’t happened since, so I’m not terribly worried about it, but if it happens again, I’ll need to get the ticker checked out.  It could be related to my dose of levothyroxine, it could be something else.  She also asked if it would be possible to cut back on my caffeine.  I said, “I can try, but I need that afternoon pick me up ever since my Thyroid was taken out.”  We’ll see how that goes.  

While I was there I also had my regular blood draw to check my Thyroglobulin, TSH, Creatinine, and CEA panel.  I’ll get those results sometime next week, but I’m guessing they’re gonna come back normal.  While I was there though, I felt so out of place.  It’s a Cancer-only hospital/clinic.  All of the patients there have/had some type of cancer or cancers.  I wonder which one it is when I look at them.  A lot of them you can tell that they’re in the middle of treatment or something.  They look sick.  A lot of older people, not many people my age.  I feel relatively healthy, I don’t look sick, I don’t look like I have cancer.  I sit there in the lab waiting area wondering what the other patients are thinking about when they look at me.  Do they wonder what kind I have?  I feel sad for some of these people.  I wonder what their treatment was like?  What did they have to go through?  What are they going through now?  Maybe, just maybe, I am lucky to have only Thyroid Cancer.  I dunno.  It’s a weird atmosphere for me, and it’s not something I feel when I’m at other hospitals or clinics.

Anyway, they call my name and I go back, take a seat, and throw my arm up on the table.  She takes a while to find a vein in the middle of my arm (the inside of the elbow).  She pokes the needle in and can’t find the vein.  Yay.  I mentioned what about using the top of my hand?  She said she doesn’t like using the top of the hand when pulling out four vials worth.  Ok, I say.  She calls someone else over and immediately looks at my hand and says, “Oh boy, look at all those veins, this’ll be easy!”  She gets those four vials filled in a couple minutes.  I’m sitting there while this is happening and looking at the filled vials in the tray.  Fascinating.  A couple of them have this material in them at the bottom, I asked what it was, she said it’s something to separate out the plasma or something to help it clot before they do the testing.  Crap, I don’t remember exactly what she said.  We wrap things up and I head up to the 3rdfloor for my appointment.

The Women’s Clinic and Specialty Oncology Clinic share this space, it is very woman focused.  Which normally wouldn’t bother me, but it bothers me.  I’m not a woman.  There’s this weird looking women’s empowerment art thing hanging over the check-in desk that looks like a jumbled, crazy, super big crazy straw.  I don’t understand it.  The first time I was there I asked about it, they told me what it was, I still don’t understand it.  I’m always the only male patient here in the waiting area.  I continue to feel out of place each and every time I’m here.  I wonder if the other patients look at me and wonder, “What’s he doing here?”  I contemplate finding a new Endocrinologist at a non-cancer-only place just to get away from this uncomfortable feeling I get when sitting in the waiting room.  What a hassle though.  Even in the office waiting for the doctor to see me, it’s filled with breast cancer literature and self-exam instructions.  Again, I feel out of place.  I can’t imagine what it would be like to be a man with breast cancer with everything so woman-focused.  I get it, women are the majority when it comes to these types of cancers.  It just makes feel like I’m out of place when I go there.  I guess I’m only there a couple times a year, I should just suck it up.

While talking with my doctor we chatted about all the scans/tests that happened in May and how stressful it was.  I mentioned to her that my insurance declined payment on the PET scan.  She was shocked to hear that.  She said that that has to be pre-approved by insurance before it can even happen.  I told her that I haven’t heard much of anything from UWMC, so I haven’t worried about it too much.  She tells me that she’ll get me scheduled for a regular Ultrasound later this year.
I think we’ll be deciding the next surgery for my voice on Monday.  We’re either going to have a redo on the implant to get it in a better spot, or (what I really want to have done) the nerve-muscle pedicle.  Unfortunately, it all depends on what’s still working in my neck.  If the nerves aren’t there for them to use, I’ll have to get the implant re-done.  Dr. Hillel was going to talk to Dr. Merati about what he saw when he was in there as well as look over the surgery report from the Thyroidectomy and neck dissection.  Hopefully there’s enough information between those sources to give him an idea of the best path.  I’m hoping I’ll be able to schedule this surgery to correlate with the big move that’s happening at work next month, that’d be awesome.  

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