Wednesday, May 2, 2007

I'll Never be Tan!

Sorry for the delay in posts! This past weekend we went up north for a wedding and it was TONS of fun! It was so great to kick off my wedding season with such a great wedding. You will have to wait a tad for that post. I have about 550 photos to go through. Now I didn't take them all... Rebekkah totally helped out as well.

So yesterday I had my pre-opp appointment w/ my doctor, Dr. Malotte. I think it went really well, and I know so much more about what to expect.

As far as the surgery goes, they will first remove the right side of my thyroid and then while I'm still under they will send it to the lab where they will freeze it an slice it into thin strips and then check to see if it is cancer. (There is still about a 1 in 20 chance that it is not cancer.) If it is not, then they will sew me up. If it is, then they will remove the other half. If it is inconclusive, they will sew me up and then send the tumor off for further tests. If it comes back positive then I will have to go back under to get the other half removed. I know that stinks, but the Dr. said it's best not to remove half of the thyroid if it's good. He also said he thinks that it probably is cancer and that they he will most likely have to remove the entire thyroid. If they do remove the whole thing I will have to spend the night in the hospital so they can monitor my calcium levels. I was not expecting that I would have to stay the night. Do any of you know what I should bring? I was thinking my book, ipod, and clean undies. Will I have to sleep in the hospital gown? I forgot to ask that one. What about slippers? Should I bring those? I never thought I'd have to pack a bag if I wasn't having a baby!

The scar will be about 2-3 inches long on my neck. There will be many internal stitches that will dissolve, and one outer stitch. I guess it goes in one end, and holds the opening together under the skin, and then it comes out the other end. I'll have to get that removed at my post-opp appointment. I won't be able to get it wet for three days, so I will definitely be smelling ripe! Just Kidding. I'm sure I will shower, or maybe take a bath. Not sure what I will feel like.

The only bad news about the scar is that I cannot get it in direct sunlight for a whole YEAR! If I do I will put it at risk of turning the scar black! I was really shocked to hear this one. I mean I've got 5 weddings left to go to AND I'm in one! I cannot be pasty white! I guess it's seriously time to try to find a local place that does the spray on tans. I'm just glad that the scar will be on my neck. It would be much harder to shade if it were on my arm. At least if I'm working in the yard, or more importantly hammocking, I will be wearing some sort of hat. I also thought that Belize would be out for our vacation this year, but John said that I should be fine. Worse case scenario the Dr. told me that they can always remove the black scar and I'd just start over w/ a new scar. So at least there would be some hope... although I'm sure my insurance wouldn't cover that procedure!

The Dr. also told me about the risks. That wasn't the most pleasant thing to hear, but most of the probs happen less than 5% of the time or less than 1%. Under the thyroid are two tendons that are connected to your voice box. If one gets damaged I would have a windy voice, but if they are both damaged I would lose my ability to speak and would have to get a tracheotomy! Could you imagine? Well the doc said that's never happened to him before, but he did see a woman in Poland before who had that happen.

As far as radiation treatment goes, I'll have to take a two tests after the surgery to see if any of the cancer is still in my body. If it is, I won't need the radiation therapy that makes you loose your hair. He said I'll just have to take a radioactive pill that will kill the cells. So that won't be bad at all. He said he would talk more about that after the surgery.

I will be able to eat whatever I want after the surgery too, because the surgery is on the outer part of my throat. I was a tad disappointed as I wouldn't mind shedding a few pounds on a liquid diet.

I also asked to be put on the thyroid medication right after surgery. I don't want to risk being tired or gaining any unnecessary weight. He said he'd prescribe synthroid and I guess it takes about 6-8 weeks to get into my system. AFter that I'll probably have to have more blood tests to make sure the hormone levels are where they should be. He did tell me that in the 70's doctors prescribed the meds to some women with a stronger dose of the hormone so that they would have more energy and lose weight. That is what I totally wanted until he said that later they found that by doing that it caused osteoporosis. Dang!

He also said that I will need to wait two weeks until I do any physical activity, or anything that will increase my heart rate. So I will be able to go on walks, just not up any steep hills.

I did ask him if he or the nurse could take a photo of my thyroid after they remove it. He looked at me VERY strangely and said that he's never had a request for that...but if I show the nurse how to use my camera before the surgery he doesn't see why not! Sweet!!

So I think that's about all the info. Let me know if you have any questions! 5 more days until I go under!


jenna said...

wow, what an ordeal! I hope everything goes really well. Baby is hungry so gotta go, but will check back for updates!

jay said...

Don't worry too much about the scar thing. I had a big gash on my face that needed stitches in high school (from kneeing myself in the face while jumping into a pool), and I just had to put 50spf sunblock on it and try not to stay out in the sun for excessively long periods of time... Belize sounds like a great idea.

The photo thing is awesome... It reminds me of when that comedian Tom Green (from MTV a few years ago) did a show on getting his testicular cancer removed... Do you think you can keep in in a jar of formaldehyde to show off to guests?

Judy said...

Well! I see that Jay is more into the preserving the moment than I am! Ick! I suppose the photo will end up on this blog and we will all have the viewing pleasure.

Never heard of a black scar, so I can't comment. You are lucky it will be very small. Definitely use the sunblock.

For the hospital: don't take your Ipod. It could get stolen. In fact, don't take anything valuable like wedding rings, etc. Take slippers. I had this big list from the Dr. about what to bring, and slippers were the only thing I used. Oh--take a glasses case and you can wear the same clothes home that you wore to the hospital.

You might need a hairbrush, toothbrush and toothpaste, face soap.

Maggie said...

For some reason, I took my tonsils home after having them removed. I can't remember why, but I do remember it was gross.

Maggie said...

Hey, I think Ruby & I are going to go to Belize this year, too!