A very good day

The big event from today was a follow-up appointment with Dr. W. He had already told me how well the surgery went when we talked the morning after the procedure, but today was my first chance to talk to him since he got the full pathology report on the stuff they pulled out of my neck.

Turns out I had three small cancer spots on my thryoid, as well as some cancerous lymph nodes. Although I’d have rather heard that there was almost no cancer in there, he was telling me about cancer in tissue that is no longer inside me. So, that’s good. When I asked him flat-out if that extra, unsuspected cancer, gave any more reason for concern, he said no.

As he’s told me several times, I have the kind of cancer “that nobody dies from.” He said that there’s no reason to think I won’t live a normal, full life once I’m done with the inconvenience of this treatment. (And it’s not even that inconvenient, really.)

So that’s what I’m still banking on.

I was hoping that he’d take the drain out of my neck, but since there was still some fluid draining into it, he wanted to keep it in till my next appointment, four days from now. So I’ve still got a little vial taped to my chest, connected to a little tube that goes inside my incision. It’s draining a lot less already than it was a day ago.

Other than that, I avoided the two most common complications common to this type of surgery. My vocal cords are fine. I don’t have the strength to yell (which my kids appreciate) but otherwise my voice sounds the same. I also had no trouble with hypocalcemia, which results when the little pieces of the hypothyroid are damaged in surgery. Dr. W said my calcium levels were back to normal by the time I left the hospital. I’m still on calcium pills, but I don’t think that’ll be a long-term thing.

I’m also on a synthetic hormone, which I will be on for the rest of my life. I’ve heard stories about people having problems initially with the dosage of the hormones till the doctors get it right, but so far, so good. I felt a little fatigued today, but that could be for a variety of reasons. Certainly, that’ll be the thing to monitor over the next few weeks.

Out of all that, the worst thing that happened was a complication that’s not at all specific to thyroid surgery. It’s anesthesia related. That such a small thing has created such trouble for me is frustrating. It’s almost like a Space Shuttle mission being grounded because the onboard toilet wouldn’t flush. There were some anxious, uncomfortable moments today, but I think I’m past it.

So now I’m pretty much a normal person. I can eat whatever I want, now that my sore throat is pretty much gone. My neck is just a little stiff. I can turn it enough that I can probably drive, although I’ll still wait another couple days. I’ve probably got four weeks before I start the next “inconvenience,” the low-iodine diet.

In short, I guess my days of having my loving wife wait on me are over.


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