Don't Poop Yourself

You know what the AWESOME thing is about being injured?

Cheering for people who aren't!

I'm sitting here making signs for a friend who's running a half mary tomorrow.  This is one of my personal favorites - besides, it's just good life advice:

There has been an awful lot going on with me for the past 6 months.  I've been engaging in some serious career development, fighting not feeling well (and the slew of diagnostic tests and appointments that come with it), fundraising, trying to re-litter-train and integrate the newest cat into the household, working overtime in a stressful environment, helping plan a wedding, planning three mini-vacations related to that wedding, my marathon, Thanksgiving, and another wedding. 

Oh, and training for a marathon.

This is why 2016 will be the year of ESLSG.

As you may know from my race report, the leg injury I had during my half reared its ugly head from the very first mile of Chicago, and to be truthful I probably never should have completed the race. But, even though I usually err on the side of extreeeeeme caution when it comes to racing and training, something got inside my head in Chi-town and I walked hobbled and limped pitifully for that last 14 out of the 26.2 miles just so I could finish.

This was a pretty dumb move, I admit.  It's left me hobbling for the last 2 weeks - and hurting really bad.  So this week, along with getting the results from my 6-year scan, I also got an x-ray and an MRI and started PT.  

I hate waiting for answers.  I also hate not getting any, which (to be honest) is part of life with a chronic illness or six.  But this week I actually GOT some answers - and, while both of those answers ended in ellipses and not exclamation points, I'm starting to adjust to that as a norm. I'm also just grateful to get answers at all.

Before cancer, you have this impression that once you get that final "all clear" scan or once five years post-treatment happens, you hit "remission." That's not really what happens.  They call it having No Evidence of Disease - I've talked about NED -  and with some cancers, you still have to get lots of tests regularly (and even a couple clean scans) before you ever hear of NED.  

I've had a clear scan once, but because I still need medication adjustments every three months and I still have calcified lymph nodes, I'm still waiting on a really definitive moment. I've still never heard of NED.

The first thing you hear from every doctor you meet when you're diagnosed with thyroid cancer is something like, "that's the good cancer!" or, "if you're going to get cancer, that's the one to get!" They don't tell you that you are also going to struggle with things like periods of severe fatigue that make you feel dead, as well as B12, D, calcium deficiencies, mood problems, hair problems, skin problems, weight problems - and lots and lots of lots of testing - for life.  

As I have said before, thyca is a twofer: first you get the cancer, and THEN you get the thyroid disease for life.  So thyroid cancer is one of those with a super-high survival rate, but lots of nebulous possible outcomes that can prevent you from really ever meeting NED.  

(Not to mention that calling ANY cancer good is just . . . well . . . bullshit.)

The answers I got this week went something like:

  • ---the x-ray does not show any fractures or bone issues in your leg.  We will do an MRI, though, to rule out a stress fracture we can't see on x-ray . . .
  • ---your thryoglobulin and antibodies look good. your lymph node is still calcified, but his buddies are gone.  However, your TSH is 5.5 times what it was 8 weeks ago, so you need more medication and tests every 3 months . . .
  • ---you still have a calcified lymph node that has not decreased in size . . .

So, for the most part, these things are all good, but - as you can see - they're not definitive.  For someone who tends to look at life in black and white, this has been one of the toughest things to adjust to.

That doesn't mean I can't extract the positive, though. My superpowers have always been positivity and ridiculousness.  That medicine increase will help me feel less tired and also help me lose that 10ish pounds I've gained.  I'm not saying I'm not going to have to work at both those things, just that now they'll actually be possible.  And for that I am ever so grateful.

In the meantime, I'm making race signs, waiting for MRI results, and resting my leg until I know what I can and can't do between now and January.  I'll catch you soon for results and more on my 2016 plan.

In the meantime, try not to poop yourself.

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