The thyroid lump was Cancer. Papillary carcinoma to be specific.
To start, here's some good news:
- Thyroid cancer is one of the best cancers to have, and of the sub-types, papillary has the best prognosis.
- The lump was small - only 8mm. They got all of it. The smaller the lump the better the long term outcome.
- They took out three lymph nodes and one parathyroid gland, all normal and cancer free.
- The chain of events that led to finding and removing this lump is a miracle. I will get into that in a separate post, but will tell you that there was no medical reason this lump ever should have been found. I am immensely thankful for that.
- Even given the bad news (see below), the likelihood that it has not and will not metastasize is very good.
- The pathology shows that it is questionable whether the cancer spread into further tissue. That further tissue is all contained within my thyroid, but there is no definitive way of knowing whether it has spread to the side they did not remove.
- The decision whether to do further treatment is not that of the surgeon, but that of the endocrinologist. I don't see him till next week (Monday).
- If the endocrinologist so decides, I will have the other half of my thyroid taken out to be safe. The surgeon told me to prepare myself that this is a possibility. Same surgery, through the same incision, similar recovery, but a longer hospitalization to ensure all is ok (given the complete thyroid removal).
- Total thyroid removal means drugs to produce thyroid hormones (a possibility now too, with only half a thyroid - but a given if complete removal).
- If the endocrinologist so decides, I will have iodine radiation therapy and be hospitalized/physically removed from anyone for three days.
I am trying to process the good news along with the bad. I know that as far as cancer goes, this could be so much worse. All that said, it's still cancer. I still might need another surgery and recovery, along with all the physical and emotional pain that causes myself and the rest of the T5.
I will have more answers on Monday. I am trying not get ahead of myself, but also preparing for another surgery so I am not surprised/more upset when that is the news he gives.
And of course, because this is not considered "urgent" if there is another surgery it will be months away. After our trip to Mexico - the trip we were supposed to be taking to celebrate the fact that we had survived three years of hell. Not only half enjoying because I know I have another surgery lingering in the distance.
Rio knows that I might need another surgery, but she has no concept of what cancer is. She has seen me visibly upset so we had to tell her something but will try to give her as little information as possible. All three kids can tell something is wrong, so sooner rather than later I will have to put on a brave face and assure them that all is well in their little world.
The scar is looking good...I am physically almost recovered...the future was looking so bright. And now this. Remember how I thought we were done needing our friends to see us through the bad times? Clearly, we're not. Your positive vibes sent my way would be much appreciated. That said, you know we won't answer you right away.
Life is really, really hard sometimes, and this is one of those times. Is this news a death sentence? Very, VERY ulikely. But is it very emotionally and physically devastating to us? Yes, very much so.
Like everything else we've been through, I am reminding myself that this too, shall pass.
It has to. RIGHT?