Sunday, March 03, 2013

A change of pace

So I'm not even sure where to start this. I'm pregnant. 19 weeks with a little boy. I also have cancer. Papillary thyroid carcinoma to be exact. Which, according to people (medical types who know these things) is the type of cancer they'd choose if they had cancer. Somehow that doesn't provide me with as much comfort as they seem to think it should. I want to yell, "but it's still CANCER! And I'm pregnant!" I'm still figuring out how to get my head around all of this. When I tell people I usually get a face that is probably more in disbelief than mine was when my midwife told me. Then it's pity and a lot of questions I don't have the answer to.

So here's the story. Over the last couple of years I've gained a few pounds, probably around 18. And I tried to lose them but nothing worked. Just part of getting older I thought. Then I turned up pregnant on our second month trying (yay! And holy crap that was fast) and had an appointment with my midwife at 10 weeks. She did the usual physical and when my heart rate was fast (how can it not be fast when someone you've literally just met is about to stick her hand in your vagina? Am I weird that I'm freaked out about those sort of things?) she mentioned hyperthyroidism. Then she felt my neck and there's a HUGE goiter. Like half a lime. Something I hadn't really noticed and no one else did either. She sent me for bloodwork and told me to schedule an ultrasound. She also scheduled me to get in with an endocrinologist, but the soonest was two months away. Bloodwork came back hypothyroidism. She prescribed me levothyroxine and my ultrasound was in a couple weeks.

Fast forward to that day, the tech took quite a few pictures and said I would have results in 4-5 days. The next morning the nurse called me and told me to schedule a fine needle aspiration. A biopsy of my neck. Shit. That appointment was a few weeks away. And I was scared, a bunch of giant needles in my neck? Sounds like a fun time, slightly more fun than letting a stranger stick her hand in my vagina.

The giant lump that turns out is a tumor. It's grown so slowly I like to compare it to hair. You look back at pictures from a year ago and realize how much your hair has grown. From old pictures I had this at least three years ago. Probably longer than that.

The FNA itself wasn't too bad, my nice midwife prescribed me some Ativan so I wasn't too freaked out until I was taken back. Typical surgical prep, and the doctor let me see the bump on my neck using ultrasound. To me it looked like a bunch of grapes, he described it as honeycomb. Two shots of lidocaine and a few strange sensations when the needles were taking samples and it was over. I was left with a bandaid and a faintly sore neck. No biggie. Again, results on four-five days.

Well, a week goes by, then a couple more days. I was pretty confident that this length of time meant good things. If it's bad they call you right away and ask you to come into the office, right? Two weeks after my FNA I had another appointment with my midwife. She couldn't find the results so left to find them and when she came back I asked "inconclusive?" No, papillary carcinoma. Fuck. I didn't process this right away. Went through the rest of my appointment normally, laughing and asking questions about round ligament pain and blood pressure. She told me she would call the endocrinologist (at this point my appointment was in 3 days) and the perinatologist whom I'd seen for my two ultrasounds and also a surgeon. The day went on normally with the occasional "I have cancer" thought running through my head.

Lets move forward a couple more days, at this point my week has been pretty terrible, Monday cancer, Tuesday a vet bill in the thousands, Wednesday my amazing husband breaks a tooth and needs a crown, Thursday endocrinologist appointment. She didn't really tell me anything I hadn't read in the last few days. Except she thinks I need to have surgery soon. Not after this sweet baby comes, but in a month. She would defer the final decision to the surgeon though. So here I am, pregnant with cancer. It's starting to hit me and it's scary. I announced both the baby and the cancer at the same time on Facebook and I'm glad I have a great group of people supporting me, but at the same time I feel so alone.

Monday I meet with the surgeon. I'm also thinking of calling some cancer centers to see if they can treat me and how much would it cost. In the meantime I wait. Not much else I can do.

This would be my lovely expensive cat.



Anonymous said...
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Sheila said...

Tres, your strength is inspiring. I can't even begin to imagine...

Babylon said...

OMG that is grosse!!