I had the ultrasound this morning, and it went as well as could be expected. I had prepared by finding a copy of one of my ultrasound reports from M.D.Anderson, and rehearsing in my head what I wanted to say to the technician.
He called me back with the usual pleasant chit-chat, and asked me to lie on the table. I took the reins then and said, "I'd like to talk to you first."
This kind of thing is always delicate, because you don't want to offend the person who is about to test you. So I did my best to just be calm and factual, and I told him about the thyroidectomy in 2004, and the neck dissections procedures in 2005, and then I told him I had had several post-op ultrasounds and gave him the report to look at.
I appreciated that he took the time to read the report very carefully, and then he asked if he could make a copy of it -- of course I said yes, the more information the radiologist has, the better. When he got back from copying, I told him about the recent lumpiness, and my theories -- could be nerve regeneration, could be scar tissue, could be... recurrence. And I told him with any enlarged nodes it was important to use the Doppler because increased vascularization is a good indicator of malignancy. He was amenable to all this and listened to me, which I appreciated.
Then it was time for the exam. The setup was good, with an extra monitor positioned in front of the exam table, up on the wall, in a perfect spot for me to see everything that was going on. I saw everything, and am satisfied that he did a thorough examination. One thing that was interesting to me was that he used two different wands. He explained that one can penetrate deeper but doesn't show as fine detail, while the other, smaller one shows finer details. I'd never seen that before.
What I saw -- who knows? I did see something that looked weird near the carotid artery (it's perfectly round and easy to spot). When he turned the Doppler on that one area, the carotid and the two lumpy masses near it all turned red -- not spots or streaks of red and blue, just straight red. I've never seen that before, either.
He didn't measure anything while I was on the table. I noted that to him, and he half-smiled and said, "I can't tell you anything," because he was just waiting for me to ask him -- how could I not? He knows I saw something in there. So I said, "Can I ask you a technique question? Do you have to measure live, or can you measure from the pictures?" He told me you could do it either way, so... I honestly think he didn't measure while I was on the table because he wanted to get it over for me as soon as possible.
Right now, I'm leaning towards scar tissue. But even if it is recurrence, I've decided, after a conversation with dear G, my mentor and co-facilitator, that there's no point in ruining my summer. The earliest they would probably be able to operate would be mid-July, so it can go till August, if need be.
Hence, seizing the day, and the really, really cheap airfare, I booked a ticket for a long weekend back here in AZ with DH -- the in-laws are psyched to have the kids, and DH and I can have what amounts to a vacation. It will just be Thursday night to Monday morning, but without the kids, and having been apart for two weeks? Perfect.