Tuesday, February 28, 2006

here's the plan

I'm home -- whoo-hoo!

I saw my endocrinologist exactly on time today, a minor miracle I'm sure all would agree. That appointment ended early enough that I was able to switch to an earlier flight out, so I got to eat dinner with the family. I am very happy to be home. I did three things in Houston: 1) read [Eldest; better than Eragon, but I'll have more to say about that later] 2) knit and 3) watch television. I should also mention that I snacked nearly constantly during most of those activities. Next time I'll be more careful about how much snacking supplies I bring.

Today's visit was good. This doctor seems young enough to be my kid, but I know he's not -- more like a little brother. At any rate, he has a very pleasant and open demeanor and we went through all my questions zip-zip-zip.

So I'm going back in six months, and when I do, I'll undergo the Thyrogen regimen and have a nuclear scan and we'll see what's left, if anything. The thyroglobulin results weren't back yet, but the doctor was unconcered about that since my suppressed Tg has never been a very good indicator of what's going on. I have had very low Tg even while having a significant amount of cancer, so I'm glad the doctor isn't relying on that number.

He did admit that the "extracapsular invasion" that was all over my last pathology report did indicate a higher risk of residual/recurrent disease. (I thought so.) But the nodes, while enlarged, didn't show any "rounding" (characteristic of malignancy) or calcification or increased vascularization, so there was no need to biopsy them for now.

Worst things: I won't know my schedule until about a month before I go, they're not able to schedule out too far with this stuff for some reason. Second worst thing: I have to go back on the low iodine diet for 2 weeks before I get there. Third worst thing: I'll be there at least 4 days: Saturday through Tuesday, since I get injected 2 days, take the RAI tracer dose the next day, and the next day I get scanned. They'll also be doing more bloodwork and an u/s and all that stuff. Whee!

OK, that list of "worst things" is not at all accurate in terms of importance or actual worst-ness of the item. For example, the list doesn't include having to do a nuclear scan, which is fairly excruciating. While I am apparently capable of lying quite still in a very tightly enclosed space for an hour and half, I can honestly say I do not enjoy it.

One upside: I will probably not ever have an RAI treatment again. This doc's experience (like mine) has shown that the RAI is just not effective at cleaning out nodes. It's not that the RAI was so bad, but I'd just as soon not have to do it again. I'm still dealing with salivary gland issues from the last two times I got nuked.

Overall it was a pretty good trip. I heard the exclamation, You look great! so many times I actually started to believe it. The thing is, I do look fine especially when I wear just a little makeup to coverup my dark under-eye circles. On the shuttle ride to the hotel, I was riding next to an u/s technician who asked "What do you do at the medical center?" It took me about three tries to get her to understand that I am a patient, not that I do patient relations or something like that. She didn't believe it. Similar things happened a few times everyday, Oh, you're a patient!

I appreciate very much that I don't look like a patient. It helps a lot.


Papercollector said...

Good for you Bits, talk to you later. I get off early today ..hope you are around

nina said...

Just for that great report, I'll write out my lemon souffle recipe for you (as soon as I get home)!