So yesterday was another day of tests. I went into it thinking that they weren't going to find anything on the ultrasound, but would find something on the swallow study... I was only half right.
It started off feeling odd. I think, though, that, subconsciously, I knew what I was going to be told, because the afternoon before, I picked up yarn and started trying to figure out how to knit again. (For those that don't know, I crochet. I'm kick ass at crocheting. Knitting, though, I've never really gotten the hang of. Until now, evidently.) So, since I had started a dishcloth the afternoon before, I brought that with me. Boy was I glad.
I got to the imaging center at the hospital, signed in, then sat down and started knitting. After a few minutes, I was called up, but someone had put in my chart that I was male. Which, of course, as is evidenced by the boobs I proudly display, I am not. Still, no bigs, the girl and I had a good laugh, and she fixed it. So we did the little bit of paperwork - essentially just the privacy and consent to treat stuff, standard fare with anything medical now - and she sent me through the labyrinth to the radiology department in the hospital with all my paperwork.
Got to radiology, give the nice lady my paperwork, sit down and start knitting again. After a couple of minutes, I hear her on the phone talking about me. I kept hearing, "not on our schedule," and "they sent her to the wrong place!" and I start to panic just a little. Then, she called me up, and told me that I was supposed to go back to where I came from for the ultrasound, then come back here after for the swallow study. She apologized profusely, but still, I wasn't terribly concerned - I had cleared my day anyway because I know how these things can go. Went back to the original location on the other side of the building, gave them my paperwork, sat down, and started knitting a bit more.
This time, someone asked me about my knitting, though - "Is that going to be a headband?" I told her no, that I think it's going to be a dishcloth, but it's really just me practicing. She kept watching, I kept smiling and knitting. Then the older lady across the way started staring. Then another lady sat down by me and watched, too. I felt a little self conscious because, like I said, I'm really not good at the whole two pointy sticks thing, but at the same time, the expressions on their faces were friendly, and I like to think that what was helping keep me calm was calming them, too.
Finally, this sweet, sweet lady comes to get me for the ultrasound. We go in, chatting a bit, and when she says she's going to take a look at my thyroid, I point out that there is no thyroid, just the bed. She was unaware, as somehow, it didn't make it to them that I had already had a thyroidectomy. No big deal, though, they get limited info.
We get started with the ultrasound, and it's just taking longer than it ever has before, and she's typing more than they usually do. I start getting a little anxious, so I start swallowing, which was making it even harder for her to get the images she needed. I kept apologizing, but she kept telling me not to worry. When she was finishing up, I noticed she kept reaching for her in-house phone that was in her pocket... she then starts asking, "When did they remove your thyroid? How many rounds of radiation have you had?" I knew, beyond a doubt, something was up then. If there was nothing there, there would be no reason to ask that.
That's when she told me, "I see thyroid tissue. Here, look." She shows me what she sees - two areas, one on either side of the thyroid bed, about a cm across in size, but of abnormal shape. Then she shows me the doppler - both are vascular. At this point, she tells me that, had I just had my surgery recently, or had I not had two rounds of I-131, she would just assume it was residual thyroid tissue the surgeon had missed. However, none of my previous ultrasound reports, including the one from this past October, note any residual tissue. This is new. This is new since October. This can only mean one thing. She calls the doctor (radiologist? Are they the ones that read and interpret sonography? I honestly don't know), and have him take a look, too, to make sure he agrees with her assessment. He does, but asks her to do another couple of images so that he can be watching in real time (ah, the beauty of computers in the medical setting - it's amazing!!!), and he still agrees - new thyroid tissue, two areas, vascular. At this point, my anxiety is doing some crazy manic swinging - I'm terrified because, holy shit, thyroid cancer is NOT supposed to grow this fast! at the same time, though, I'm kind of relieved in a weird way, because now I know that it's not all in my head - this can certainly be what's making me feel "off," and I'm not wasting time with this appointment to MD Anderson. So yeah, like Old Blue Eyes said, "Ain't that a kick in the head."
So, when we're all done, she gives me a hug, and sends me on my way back to radiology for the swallow study. I get there, but at this point, I'm in such a weird mood that I can't knit - I just sit there staring at Drew Carey and his inane contestants on "The Price Is Right," (am I the only one that, since watching Happy Gilmore, always wants to say, "The price is WRONG, bitch!" on there??). Finally, this super sweet lady, Pam, comes to get me. She also chats me up the whole time we walk to the x-ray room, just being friendly and comforting, telling me exactly what to expect - just a soothing person. We go through the swallow study with the radiologist (man, barium is nasty, but those fake pop-rocks they give you to blow up your gut? Make you want to hurl when they lay you on your stomach, let me tell you!!!). Easy peasy, no structural issues, just some moderate acid reflux making it hard to swallow. Also explains why I get chest congestion when I eat. He says go to a GI, I say that, for now, I'm just going to keep going with my zantac till I get past this other crap. I have enough specialists right now - I don't want to add yet another to the list....
So yeah, there's yesterday. When I left the hospital, I called Hans and asked if I could come to him. Of course, this is the one day that they decided to take an early lunch (it was 11:20 when I called), so he and a few guys (great guys that I love, incidentally) were already at lunch. He told me to come anyway, though, so I did. They had just finished eating when I got there (I don't think any of them know what's going on), so we left and took a walk to get a sandwich for me. He sat with me while I ate, listening to me, then bought me a gelato, and sat there with me while we ate that, listening some more.... Of course, I called my sister, mom and mother in law to tell them, and I texted my best friend (at that point, I was talked out). Then, I got home to a lovely email from the office manager at Hans' office, who knows everything that's going on, too, checking on me and asking if there's anything she can do to help. Everyone's been so supportive and caring. It means more than anyone can know... .
I'm still smiling, I'm still positive, I'm still fighting, but right now, I need to just be angry. I need to be sad. I need to be scared. Thank you to all of you that let me be those things....