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Cancer Conversations

 February 22, 2017

My mind is spinning. I’m breathing slowly to stay centered and focused on the conversation.

I start, “So to sum all this up, we need to do CT scans with contrast of both my neck and lungs, to see if we can find where the potentially remaining cancer is…the ‘lil bugger’ as you called it.”Where is that remaining cancer?

“Yes,” replies the doctor with a reassuring nod, “we need to get a picture of the lungs because that is where metastasis could occur. Just to be safe.”

“And if the cancer is there – which it may not be at all -it’s most probably just somewhere in my neck, a lymph node.”

“Correct. Like I said we want to avoid exploratory surgery.” *Yes, that would be preferable*

I quickly continue to avoid the thought of exploratory surgery on my neck, “and you will also be requesting to transfer my removed thyroid and lymph nodes from two years ago from the other hospital. And then you’ll re-examine that to determine how much of the cancerous cells were follicular variant versus the classic type. And the classic type is the more aggressive type, which is what I have, but we don’t know the percentage of aggressive cancer. And you need to know that because it will determine how we move forward on this.” *I silently congratulate myself on how I’m keeping up with all this. I am on top of this.*

I pause only for a moment before asking, “So why wasn’t that percentage of aggressive papillary thyroid cancer cell in the original pathology report?”

“I’m not sure.  It should have been,” he replies with a slight frown. *I don’t even know how to process incomplete path reports, so let’s move on*

“And you’re going to run more tests on my blood for a baseline?”

“Yes, on everything.” * I suppose I should feel reassured* “Any other questions?” he prompts.

“Does it hurt? The contrast,” I ask meekly.

“It’s like an IV, there’s a needle in your arm,” he gestures to the bend in his arm.

“How do you know I’m not allergic to the dye?” I push.

“We don’t. But we’ll manage that if you do have an allergic reaction.” *Great*

“Okay”, I say. “Okay, I can do this. This sounds like a plan. I can do this.” *you can DO this*

“Well, you don’t really have a choice” he responds. *Well, at least let me pretend I do have a choice* “Oh, and I don’t know what your plans are, but don’t get pregnant just yet. It would be better if we can do what we need to do to fix you.”

I look at my feet absorbing those words and absorbing the reality of having others telling me what I can and can’t do with my body.

“Okay”.*You will be okay, Nadha.*