I was driving my 4-year-old son to daycare just days after my Fine Needle Aspiration (FNA) thyroid biopsy, when I got a call from the doctor’s office. The results were in.
I pulled over right away to give my full attention. Because safety is always FIRST in my book. Not because I was driving on a military base and didn’t want a huge ticket for being on my phone.
To add a little understanding and background, FNA biopsy results come back to you numbered 1-6. This isn’t how a medical journal would describe each category, but this is how I simplified them in my brain:
1 – Not enough material was collected to make a determination of any kind. Somebody done messed up the biopsy! (Insert stink-eye here)
2 – The tumor or growth is benign. It ain’t no thing, but a thyroid wing!
3 & 4 – You definitely got something going on there, but we can’t be sure it’s Cancer. Your cells are looking funky though.
5 – You have some VERY suspicious cells, so it’s probably Cancer. So you best get your mind right.
6- Oh, it’s CANCER! It’s the Canceriest Cancer! No doubt!
After the socially required niceties of “Hello” and “How are you?” my doc went right in to it. MY results…a big fat 6.
“Well, it’s what we expected. The thyroid nodule tested positive for Cancer,” he said.
“WE?!” I thought. “Whom is he talking about ‘WE’? Because WE didn’t think it was Cancer a week ago. I thought WE thought it was a 1-in-4 chance. WE thought that meant it was a 75% chance this wasn’t Cancer.”
But all I said was “OK. What’s next?”
The next phase would be a pre-op appointment, a few labs, and scheduling the surgery to remove my entire thyroid, the tumor, and any surrounding lymph nodes that looked suspicious once they had me open.
First, of course, I would have to share the news with my family and close friends. My first call was to my husband. We were both completely calm as we discussed the next steps.
“How are you? Feeling wise, I mean.” He asked me, always a man of few words.
“I don’t know. I’m just in ‘GO mode’ with a little ‘take care of business’ wrapped in.” I told him. I was in shock and a little numb.
After we hung up I looked up to notice I was parked in a 2-Star General’s parking spot. Opps! A military police officer was looking my way. “Try me!” I thought, as I imagined the conversation we would have as I told him I pulled over to take a call from my doc that I have CANCER. “Ooooo, the Cancer Card. I’m already feeling the perks.” I’m nothing if not a silver lining kind of gal.
My next call was to my sister, who happens to be an oncology nurse at a leading Cancer hospital in Florida. (I know, right! Convenient.) She didn’t seem the least bit surprised.
“When you told me the nodule had it’s own blood supply, I kind of figured,” she said.
Damn! That makes at least two people who knew I had Cancer before I did.
“Why didn’t you tell me?!” I asked her.
“Because that’s not something you want to be wrong about,” she said.
As punishment, I made HER call our Mom with the news. Haha! Got you, sucka!
The next two weeks would be a whirlwind of paperwork and preparation. So much stress and so much to do.
March 22, 2016 would be my total thyroidectomy surgery, but more on that next time.
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