I can't stop listening toIll Communication this week. It's like I've rediscovered it or something. It is perfection.
It's also making me miss MCA. I always feel ridiculous saying stuff like that. Because obviously I didn't know him personally. But still. He was a genius. And a good, good man. And he was gone too soon.
After I wrote my last post I had a revelation. Gee. Maybe I should tell my endocrinologist. I mean, I had come to the conclusion that this issue was most likely a direct result of the radioactive iodine. So, really, I should probably let him know.
I sent an email to him and S., his nurse. I was impressed to hear from her just two hours later. She called me at home.
She said that this was fairly common, and that six months after the RAI treatment was about the right time to have an issue with my parotid gland. I told her about going to the dental surgeon. She said that the dentist's advice about ibuprofen and heat was good. And she also said that using lemon drops again would be helpful. The only other thing S. mentioned that I should be doing is called 'milking'. In a hot shower, soak a washcloth, press it up against the area that's sore, and then press in and move the washcloth down toward the jugular. Sort of like the massage I had read about, only a little more specific.
S. also mentioned that if I experienced face swelling or pain to let them know right away. Apparently there is a doctor in town who deals with this sort of thing- his specialty is helping patients who have complications with their salivary glands due to RAI treatment. My first thought was, that's awesome! So many people on the message boards seem to have endocrinologists who are clueless about the side effects, let alone able to refer them to local specialists. But then I realized that we have a specialist in Pittsburgh because it's so common here. So, yea us?
Anyway. It's been several days since I spoke with S. and I have to say that I'm feeling much better. The pain is gone, it just feels like I have a small area close to my ear that's still swollen. The massage and lemon drops seem to be helping a lot, and I'm hopeful that this will completely clear up very, very soon.
That hilarious 5th grade joke has been in my head for the past week. Because actually, my face does hurt.
It started Thursday evening. My left jaw muscle seemed a little sore. I didn't think much of it though until Friday, when it continued to be sore all day long. Each day over the weekend was a little worse than the day before. Especially first thing in the morning.
My first thought, of course, was ohmigod the cancer has returned and now it's in my jaw! It was the only logical conclusion. For about an hour anyway, until I calmed myself down and realized how ridiculous that sounded. Even just to me, because I certainly didn't share that gem with anyone out loud. Sometimes I've got a pretty good filter for the crazy that goes on in my head.
Anyway, after calming myself down, my next thought was that it must have something to do with the extraction I had at the beginning of January. I called my dentist Saturday morning and left her a message. She never called back...which I have mixed feelings about. But by the end of the weekend I did realize that 1) this was not an emergency (I could still eat, open my mouth, etc.), and 2) that face/ jaw pain may not be her area of expertise.
So, Monday morning I placed a call to the oral surgeons who did my extraction. They made an appointment for me on Tuesday. And then Tuesday morning another thought occurred to me. Could it be something with the radioactive iodine (RAI) again? Why yes. Yes it could. I came across several message boards where people who had been treated for thyroid cancer complained about face pain anywhere from a week to nine months later. It's been about six months for me. The issues range from problems with salivary glands, to TMJ, to Trigeminal neuralgia. I wasn't sure what to think.
I went in to see Dr. D. and talk with her about the pain. She was very nice. She took a quick look inside and out to say that she didn't see any immediate issues, the site of the tooth extraction looked really good, etc. I brought up salivary glands and RAI. She started to say, 'Oh no. That couldn't happen because the RAI only goes after your thyroid cells.' I told her that actually, when you go in for the RAI treatment they specifically tell you that you can experience trouble with your salivary glands. That I was told to suck on lemon drops right after the treatment for a few days. She was surprised and had never heard of this before. 'Well', she said, 'your parotid gland is in the same area where you're experiencing the pain.' So she took another look.
Turns out my left salivary gland is not functioning as well as the one on the right. Source of pain found! I told her that I had read on one of the boards (thank God for the boards, by the way) that I should either try sucking on lemons or at least go back to the lemon drops. She said that would be good since it will stimulate salivation. She recommended ibuprofen and heat for the pain. I also just read today that massage will be good for it too.
The pain is better today than it has been. The lemon drops seem to be helping as do the heat and massage, although
I'm doing those less frequently. When I do any of those things I get
sort of a salty taste in my mouth. From what I've read that seems to
indicate that these things are working and I'm making progress. I'm hoping that this trend continues. I know that for some people the pain never goes away.
Friday mornings, when I do them right, start off with me going to the gym first thing. The gym is less than five minutes from our house, so there really aren't too many good excuses to not go. (Although I come up with them anyway.) This past Friday, as I drove in, I was listening to this story on NPR. This was what I heard in the parking lot, right before going in:
"We only know the locations and trajectories of about 1 percent of
asteroids this size or larger," Lu says. "So for every one of these,
there's 99 out there we don't know about."
Heh. Suddenly my workout seemed so meaningless. Why worry about your abs when we don't know anything about 99% of the asteroids out there for fucks sake? Gawd.
Mighty Girl had this posted over at her blog last week:
“I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive
element. It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my
daily mood that makes the weather. I possess tremendous power to make
life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of
inspiration, I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations,
it is my response that decides whether a crisis is escalated or
de-escalated, and a person is humanized or de-humanized. If we treat
people as they are, we make them worse. If we treat people as they ought
to be, we help them become what they are capable of becoming.” -Haim
You can read more Haim Ginott quotes here. He has a lot of good stuff to say. My favorite parenting book isHow to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk. He didn't write it, but but he was a mentor to Faber & Mazlish and it's heavily based on his work. Seriously good stuff. I try to re-read it every couple of years or so, and I am way overdue for a read. As evidenced by the Boy who is in a constant state of ten-ness. ugh. A friend of mine is convinced that it's hormones (she has two stepdaughters and has been down this road once before, and is going through it a second time).
Yesterday was ugly. Apparently I had single-handedly ruined his entire weekend. I don't know how, but I somehow managed to have one friend come down with an illness, I made sure that something came up for another friend's family so that their plans would change, and I also fixed it so that two friends were not at all home when he called. Haha! Do not ask me how I do these things. I do not know.
I mostly kept my cool. I think. But I know that I let some snark and sarcasm out during the course of this conversation (which started and stopped a few times). That has been a new habit of mine lately, and I know that it needs to stop. We're a pretty sarcastic family and usually it's funny, but it's just not appropriate in these situations. I'm probably scarring the poor kid for life.
I've got to get back to helping my kids become what they are capable of becoming. I need to start using my power to make life joyous.
Saturday was the Girl's birthday. Just like the Boy turned ten on the tenth, the Girl turned two on the second. Kind of funny how that worked out.
Of course, turning two is not as dramatic as turning ten. But it's amazing how much your baby changes in two years. The Girl has gone from this:
Second (and first) birthday celebrations over here are really more for the grown ups. We're not planning kid parties for the Girl just yet. Saturday the in-laws came over for lunch- hot dogs and french fries. Just what the Girl wanted. Followed up with two bite cupcakes and a big nap.
Saturday night we went to dinner with one of our favorite families. The family includes one of the Boy's best friends and his parents. The dad, J., and I got the same thing for dinner. Fish tacos. They were delicious but gave me an upset stomach in the middle of the night. Whatever. I was fine by the next day. Just tired. But J. was hit a whole lot worse. We found out the next morning that he had been throwing up all night. Clearly he got more of the bad fish than I did. I actually felt a little guilty about that. But not too guilty. I had my share of that last month.
Sunday was the Super Bowl. meh. I didn't have much of a preference either way. Pittsburgh seemed to be divided between the people who despise Ray Lewis and the people who didn't want San Francisco to tie the Steelers for six Super Bowl wins. I'm from the Baltimore area, so I half-heartedly rooted for the Ravens. Although I really don't think I would have cared if the 49ers had taken it.
We had friends over for the game. Which gave me an excuse to bake a birthday cake for the Girl. The in-laws just aren't into sweets. I didn't want to waste my time baking for people who don't enjoy cake. But kids? Almost always enjoy cake. So I was happy to bake for them.
That icing is all buttery and sugary goodness. Ridiculous.
It was a shitty week. Literally. Monday night our sewage line backed up. Tuesday morning the plumber came to snake the pipe. While snaking the pipe the cable broke off. So, Tuesday afternoon we were told that they would be out Wednesday morning to dig up the line- and our front yard in the process. Matt, the very nice kid who came to dig up our yard, told us it should be done by the end of the day. It wasn't. That's because there were two clogs, one by the street and one closer to our house.
All I can say is thank God for the gym membership. It's where my family took showers for a few days while we waited for the whole situation to get resolved. Which it finally did. Thursday at 4:30, one hour before we left to go to dinner, followed by Louis CK.
Dinner was great. It had been a stressful week and I drank a lot of wine. A lot. Louis CK was even better. And surprise! Todd Barry was there as an opener. And he was also very funny. Laughing for two hours straight was the best way to end the week. Seriously.
The night before we went to see Louis CK, the Boy asked me about him. I said, he's a comedian. Well, then, does that mean he'll tell jokes all night? Like puns? Won't that get old really quick? No, I said. Not like puns. More like observations? I guess. So then I went in search of a clip that I could actually show a ten year old. I chose this one, because I thought, how much trouble can we get in to watching him talk for less than two minutes about a dishwasher?
OK, actually, this was a pretty good clip to show the Boy. We're used to swearing around here. For instance, you should hear my father talk. He's never bothered filtering himself around kids. And did I mention that we had a sewage line back up this week? So, lots of cursing around here anyway. Also, music, movies, poetry- it's everywhere. I've told the Boy that it's ok for people to use profanity if they feel like it's enhancing their art, music, writing, etc. We just don't talk that way in everyday life. So I was ok, until the 'suck my dick' phrase at the end. gah. Another great parenting moment.
The Boy was good with it though. He tried to make me feel better. 'It's ok Mom! I know what that means. I mean, I never say it. But I know what it means.'