Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Meet the Surgeon

My mother was thrilled that my husband was going to go to the surgeon with me. Originally, he hadn't been planning to, and a good friend was going with me instead. What makes the decision for him to take off work so difficult is that he is a consultant, so being out of the office = not being billable. Which is important. But he decided going to meet the surgeon was even more so. So my friend stayed home, my mom babysat, and I met my husband in Oakland to meet the doctor who would be taking out my thyroid, and probably a few lymph nodes too.

I got to the hospital. My husband was in the lobby and I was full of anxiety. We went up to the 6th floor to check in. Once you check in you go to a small waiting room until they call you back for the appointment. The only other family in the waiting room was a couple with a daughter who was maybe about 12. It looked like they were there for their child. Suddenly I felt so stupid for worrying about myself. Worrying about yourself is nothing like worrying about the health of your child. I silently told myself to stop with the self-pity.

We were finally called back to meet my surgeon. We both instantly liked her. Quick, efficient, and upbeat. I was very comfortable with the idea of her performing the surgery. First we went over my biopsy. Yes, the nodule in my thyroid and at least one lymph node were positive for papillary thyroid cancer. I was assured that this was very curable and that this cancer was highly unlikely to recur. She actually said, 'You will probably go on to a live a long and happy life and die of something other than cancer'. It was the nicest thing anyone had said to me regarding my cancer.

She went over the anatomy of the neck. She went over the risks of the surgery. The risks are small but they are there- injury to vocal cords, injury to shoulder muscles, risk of bleeding, etc. All of the risks seemed to be about 1-2%. I couldn't have cared less about the risks, although they have to let you know about them. I just wanted the cancer out of my neck.

Then we set a date for the surgery. She wanted me to come in the following Friday. But that was when my son had his spring concert. I wasn't going to miss his first time playing the trumpet in front of an audience. The next Friday? Was take your dad to school day. I didn't want my husband to miss that either. Finally, she asked where we lived. 'Oh, well, I do surgery at St. Margaret's on Tuesdays. Would that work for you?' Yes, yes it did. So we set a date: May 15th. What a relief.

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