Wednesday, July 13, 2011

No news is...

This year seems to be out to prove the accuracy of the “No news is a good news” saying. It started with the natural disasters and there were plenty of bad news since. Granted there were lots of good news so far as well, mostly of the “new baby” variety, however last few months were stressful due to various changes in our lives and I’m feeling more and more nostalgic about the previous unexciting, nothing-is-happening, everyday-is-ordinary-day year.

Today’s news is that I doN’T have thyroid cancer. This in itself is great news, but it came with the weeks of tension and worry. While she was here, my mum noticed a lump on my neck. My thyroid gland was slightly enlarged for years and I had blood tests done previously to check that it is functioning correctly. I wasn’t too concerned (most of the time, though occasional fearful thought would flutter through my mind), but made the earliest possible appointment to see our GP. In England one has to be registered with a GP/GP clinic and can’t see just any one. The one, we are registered with, is very oversubscribed so the earliest appointment was 1.5 weeks away. During it I was told to book a blood test and a referral was sent to the hospital for the ultrasound. Another week until I could see a nurse to get the blood tests done. They came back normal and I started getting a bit more worried. Another two and a half weeks wait for the ultrasound. Finally on Friday morning I went to the hospital hoping to hear that everything was fine and I had nothing to worry about; instead the doctor, after performing the ultrasound, told me that she had to do fine needle aspiration biopsy and since I had Max with me I had the option of giving him to the nurse to hold or coming back some other day. I didn’t want to wait even longer, so Max went to the nurse, the doctor performed the biopsy and told me that she’ll recommend the referral to thyroid specialist as my GP won’t have a clue of what the results mean.

What’s the first word that comes to your mind when you hear biopsy? Right. I walked home in total shock, trying not to burst into tears. At home I read a lot about thyroid cancer, cried a bit, went to pick up my daughter, made dinner constantly wondering what are the chances that I have cancer and hoping that I don’t. Probably thinking the same way as everyone does “I’m too young… I have two young children… One of them is not even 3-months old… etc… it can’t be cancer” I’m grateful that my husband is a positive, caring, loving person and talking to him puts me into more optimistic and peaceful state of mind. I altered my search parameters to something along the line of “neck lump without cancer” and all of the sudden the search results were creating a more positive picture of the possible outcomes of the tests. Both kids came down with a cold that evening, which was very helpful as it gave me something else to concentrate on.

On Tuesday I got a phone call from the GP to organize the appointment to discuss the results (they don’t call if the results are normal) – the earliest appointment Monday 7pm. I called back the next day to see if it was possible to see the doctor earlier as it was hard not to fret and imagine all sorts of unpleasant scenarios, and while the receptionist couldn’t tell me what the results meant (not being medically trained), she reassured me that if it was something serious they would see me the same or next day. So another week of waiting only to find out that the ultrasound doctor was right and my GP couldn’t interpret the results even with the help of a Google search. He requested an urgent referral to a specialist (urgent == to be seen within two weeks) and printed out the results for me. I knew that thanks to my previous work in IT I would be much better at finding out information using Google than he was, so more research was done that evening. It looked like I didn’t have cancer, though there was possibility that the test results could be inconclusive (I couldn’t tell for sure with all the various similar looking medical terms). The hospital called next day – they had available appointment in one weeks time on Wednesday. And today I went to the hospital, waited for extra 40 minutes trying to stay calm and got seen ahead of some other people, because Max was getting unhappy, and FINALLY found out for sure that there weren’t any cancerous cells and I had nothing to worry about. I was happy, relieved, grateful. I didn’t realise the full strength of the emotions until I noticed myself shaking after leaving the hospital.

If you want to find me I’ll be hiding under a nice woollen blanket trying to process all the emotions I went through in the last few weeks. Please, (for now) don’t bring any news with you.


Tanya said...

Aww hugs. How scary. But so glad everything is OK.

When I had the pain from my kidney stone, before I knew exactly what it was, I started to worry that I had cancer causing the pain and the time between seeing my GP, getting a scan and getting the results was tough. But thankfully I saw my GP the day after the pain. Had the scan done the day after that. And got results straight away. So I only had two days of worry.

I'm really appreciating Australia's medical system right now.

Annie said...

I'm so relieved for you; that must have been hellish. I went through something similar when Lydia was a baby. All I had was a kidney stone.

But I remember the anxiety, and how I'd made plans to sew a first communion dress for her, so she'd have something to "remember her mother by". How sad is that?

driftwood said...

gosh what a stressful time, it certainly doesn't seem like you were well looked after.... glad everything is ok xxx