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Sunday, May 17, 2009

Tumors, Surgery, and Hair...Oh My!

Life has continued to be surprising, busy, and craptastic. I've started lots of blog posts and not finished any of them. Yes, again. They've all been too negative to post to I've kept them to myself.

Again, you're welcome! lol

Had a nice Mothers Day though. Brunch with my little family and my sister and her 2 kids. Here's 2 pics of me and B at the restaurant. Bunny ears courtesy of Mr. Man...

Here's a better pic, sans bunny ears...


After brunch I sent Mr Man and B over to my in-laws to visit his mom and dad while I went for a haircut. Every other summer I chop all my hair off and donate it to Locks of Love. I normally wait until June or July but this spring I've been dying to get rid of it all and just didn't want to wait another 2 months.

It started at a family reunion while we were camping, many moons ago, with my cousin who is an amazing hair stylist. I've NEVER had short hair and he convinced me to chop it all off and donate it. He explained how this company takes the hair that's donated and makes hair pieces for children of low income families who've lost their hair due to long term medical illnesses. So even though I've had long hair all my life, I'm a sucker for kids so I let him go to it! That first time was 8 years ago, and I donated almost 16 inches of hair.

Here's a pic of what the back of my hair looked like a couple of weeks ago before I went in to donate it:


Here's a pic of the of the ponytail that was chopped off for the donation. Doesn't look very long but it was almost a foot long. Over 11 1/2 inches!


And now, here's a couple pics of my sassy new 'do:

I haven't had time to ask anyone to take an *actual* picture of me so these are all pictures I've had to take with my blackberry. And yes, they're taken from my car lol

This one looks kind of Farrah Fawcett'ish huh?


And that's the good news for the week.

For the bad news... Ultrasound results came back. 2 new tumors showed up for a total of 6 tumors that they can actually see on or near my thyroid. I am scheduled for pre-surgery consult for May 27th.

Surgery. Ugh...

I felt a lump near my collar bone a few years ago. Started having routine tests to monitor my thyroid. Over the course of the next couple of years, the tumors started multiplying like Gremlins in the rain. Found out a year and a half ago, maybe 2 years ago, from my dad who lives in New York (and who I haven't spent much time with growing up), that his side of the family has a ton of thyroid cancer history.

I've had countless tests, ultrasounds, CT scans, 2 biopsies, and one surgery, so far. They removed a lymph node near my neck that was encased in a tumor that had cancer characteristics but the final report ultimately proved it was fine.

I had one endocrinologist who was following the tumors in 2007 who I hated. You know the kind of doctor who acts like you're wasting his precious time? Ya, that kind. My mother in law told me about the surgeon who handled her thyroid removal surgery when she had thyroid cancer for the 2nd time. I started seeing him in 2008 and he is amazing.

At my appointment last year he said that with tumors popping up at such an "alarming rate" and with my family history of thyroid cancer, I have an extremely high chance of having thyroid cancer in my life (if I don't already). So, we have 2 options:

1. We could continue to monitor my thyroid and these tumors and anymore that pop up for the rest of my life. Got that? REST. OF. MY. LIFE. Which means ultrasounds, CT scans, biopsy's done with very long, sharp needles by inept 1st year residents who don't know what the hell they're doing, etc every 6 months.

2. We could do surgery and remove all the tumors and remove the thyroid gland all together. And be done with it!

Yes, I would be taking thyroid replacement meds for the rest of my life but that would be much less invasive then what seems to feel like a ticking time bomb. Because in all honesty, my surgeon thinks it's only a matter of time, before the cancer strikes. If there were no problems with my thyroid, and no tumors at all, we wouldn't be worrying. But there are, so we are.

In 2008 we agreed to give it one more year as a test to see if these tumors would stabilize before committing to surgery. The year is up. New tumors have arrived. Moment of truth is here.

I'm not looking forward to surgery but I'm thinking that the alternative would be more stress for me, which in turn, makes all my other health problems so much more worse. I don't want to spend the next 10 or 15 years stressing every 6 months about test results and wondering if *this* test will be the one that comes back showing I need to have immediate surgery.

Could be a moot point. I could have cancer now. The surgery could be non negotiable anyways. But even though I'm not looking forward to the surgery, I do feel confident it's the best choice for me at this point in the game.

Is it sad one of my bigger concerns is the scar it'll leave? I can't rock hot cleavage with an ugly scar on my neck!

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