I hate to say "we're so busy" yet it comes out of my mouth all the time.
Yes, we're busy, of course, but isn't everyone? That said, I think those of us with "special" kids are just a bit busier. I feel like I am run off my feet every single day. How working moms with special needs kids do it really blows my mind. But that is not the point of this post.
This is about me. Well us. And this month.
In a normal month, we have three therapy appointments a week: one that the boys share, and two for Feldenkrais for Asher.
Plus we do therapy stuff at home every day.
We're attempting to get to Strong Start play group once a week.
On top of that, throw in a random two or three other appointments for any combination of the rest of us: teeth, eyes, naturopath - you know, the normal stuff.
Then there's Rio's activities - currently just skating lessons and ski trips on the weekend.
And of course Jordan works full time (only one job these days, thank goodness).
And very last but not least, there are three kids to take care of, five mouths to feed, and a house and laundry that need attention approximately every three minutes.
So busy, but really, pretty run of the mill - if of course you consider having two children with disabilities who need constant therapy "run of the mill".
Ok I'm getting off course here. I'm trying to make a point. My point is, that is what a normal month looks like, in all of its glory.
This month, however, we're spicing things up a bit. We have the addition of:
- An assessment for therapeutic horseback riding for Asher
- An opthalmologist visit for Asher
- Hearing tests for both boys
- NICU follow up for both boys
- A pediatrician visit for both boys
- A urologist visit for both boys
- A specialist appointment for me
Most of these additional appointments are quite time consuming. If in a normal month I feel run off my feet, this month I must be running a marathon. So please excuse me if I sigh a lot and don't answer your texts/emails/phone calls in a timely manner. I am seriously so busy that most days I don't even have time to straighten my hair (although the rain is not helping motivate me). If you know me well, you'll know one of the banes of my existence is leaving that house with my hair in its "natural" state. So if I'm leaving the flat iron in the drawer and facing the world with frizz, you know I'm busy.
Ok I've gotten way off topic if I'm talking about my unruly hair, so let's move on (as I sigh because there's so much still left to write)...
I mentioned I had a specialist appointment. Well it was a good one. It was with my surgeon, telling me that I don't have lymphoma. Isn't that awesome?
Oh wait, you'd like an explanation? Fine then. (Another sigh).
On September 27, 2012 (I am giving you the date to illustrate how long this whole ordeal has been) I had a follow up ultrasound on my thyroid. If you remember, the half of my thyroid that remains has a suspicious lump on it, so I am still being monitored. A few weeks after the ultrasound I still hadn't heard the results, so I called my surgeon's office. His assistant said she'd look into it and call me back. A few minutes later the phone rang and I gave a chipper hello when I saw the call display.
"Hello, is this Tracey?" he began. My heart sank. It wasn't the assistant, it was the big man itself. Is it EVER good news when a doctor calls you at home? I'm not talking your family doc, I'm talking a specialist with a dozen accreditations on his wall. He has better things to do than call patients.
But, contrary to what I thought, he jumped to good news: my lump had not grown. Yippee! How great of him to save me coming all the way in to his office to hear the results.
Not so fast.
"But there's another problem", he said. He then told me that my lymph nodes were very enlarged and suspicious looking. He assured me it could very well be normal - maybe I was fighting an infection - but that he could not rule out the possibility of lymphoma. Ya CANCER. What the?!
I had to restrain myself from vomiting all over the phone. Ok not literally, but I think you can probably guess that I was stressed. So the next steps were to go see him in his office, get a biopsy, and go from there. Oh and to cry. And eat. A lot.
Weeks later (thanks BC medical!) I went to see him. He was very positive and again said it was likely my young (ha!) and healthy lymph nodes doing their job. He did a needle biopsy* and sent me for bloodwork and a requisition for a CT scan.
Test. Wait. Test. Wait. Test. Wait. Got it.
Anyway, after all of that preamble, I'm going to speed this story up a bit. You already know the story ends with me not having cancer, so let's cut to the chase:
I got the bloodwork done. Normal. Step one to cancer-free.
I got the biopsy results a few weeks later. Non cancerous cells. Step two to cancer-free.
I got the CT scan a few weeks after that (just before Christmas in fact) and got the results back yesterday. Nothing abnormal looking, and smaller (if not completely shrunken) than when first seen on the original neck ultrasound. Final step to cancer free.
So the end result is that my lymph nodes were likely "reactive", as in they were reacting to a virus and puffing their little selves out to ginormous proportions. The thyroid ultrasound caught me at a bad time and caused all of this alarm for nothing. I have been given a clean bill of health and the only follow up so to speak is he'd like someone to palpate my neck in six months and make sure nothing feels abnormal. And no, I don't mean some creep who has a neck fetish, I mean a board certified medical professional.
All good, right? Of course. But had Jordan not been with me to give me a congratulatory hug and thereby hold me up, I would have crumpled into a sobbing heap. For the past three and a half months (have I thanked BC medical yet for our wait lists? Oh right, I seem to do that any time we need to see a specialist or have a procedure) I have been carrying this horrible weight. Very, very few people knew any of this was going on so I was holding a lot in. But many times in the past, my intuition about bad things has turned out to be right. In fact EVERY time I've had intuition about bad things I've been right. This time, my intuition was telling me I was fine, so I decided to listen, and because of that I figured there was no reason to worry anyone. That of course didn't stop me from worrying. A lot.
So there you go. It's all been quite the process and I am thrilled to say I can forget about my neck for at least another 9 months until I have another ultrasound to check up on the original problem - my thyroid lump and its ever present cancer concern. Honestly I just laughed out loud when I typed that. My life is a bit ridiculous.
*Officially known as a fine needle aspiration - the same type of biopsy they did on my thyroid. They guide their path via ultrasound, jam a needle in the questionable area, wriggle it around a whole bunch, and then repeat with another one or two needles. It's not fun.