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Name? W——-, Birth date? 1/12/79

January 30, 2012

It began in the fall. A minor complaint, nothing really, but my deductible’s been met and so I decide to check on the ‘catch’ in my voice that’s been there for a couple months now.

The axis of my world began tilting off course and the gravitational pull of the moon seemed to somehow increase and speed up the pace with which we rotate around the sun.

And so it began.

Name? W——-,  Birth date? 1/12/79

Ultrasound, nodule, lymph node.

“Have you had a cold recently?”

“No.” 

I know. 

It’s Halloween.  This is creepy.

My daughter is going to be a lady bug.  It’s beautiful out.  She’s asleep that night before the porch lights even come on.

Name? W——-,  Birth date? 1/12/79

Biopsy, FNA, needle in throat, Russian surgeon, kind nurse, swollen  lymph nodes confirmed.

Addie’s First Birthday, Elmo cake, toys and presents, she is spoiled already.  Love, presents and cake, Joy. Proud Mommy and Daddy clean the red frosting off of her and kiss the frosting off of her forehead.  Happy Birthday Little Bug.

Phone call, the kind nurse, “Suspicious” result, tears, Kleenex, denial.  

Thanksgiving is tomorrow.  I am only 32.  Doesn’t that mean this impossible?  It is still beautiful out.

Turkey, Mashed potatoes, corn, stuffing, sweet potatoes, cranberries, family, My Mom.  Addie loves them all.  So do we. 

Name? W——-,  Birth date? 1/12/79

My fiance’ holds my hand, the Russian surgeon holds his clipboard, he has a serious face, statistics, 50/50, no longer in a ‘gray’ area, surgery scheduled, the c word. Fuck.

First snow, Christmas lights, holiday traffic, ice skating with my daughter and my fiance’, he begins taking more pictures of us, I can only hope these are unnecessary while I smile for the camera.  Google searches, cancer staging, fertility after thyroid removal, I want more babies, Christmas shopping, Tears, Kleenex, denial.  Tell my Mom, pretend it won’t be cancer, probably nothing, I don’t want to see her cry, just get it out of me.

Name? W——-,  Birth date? 1/12/79

Just a little pinch, 3 vials of blood, silent night, 3AM awake, thinking and can’t sleep, scared, google searches, surgery risks, death, permanent hoarseness, church, prayer, it’s still beautiful out, take Addie for a walk, go to work, make dinner, do the laundry, take a bath, text my brothers, I can’t let them hear the fear in my voice, sunset, wine, breathe, life.

Surgery is tomorrow.

Nothing to eat or drink after midnight, use strange smelling soap, my hair is like straw, hold on to my baby, hold on to my man, hold on to my Mom.  Tears, Kleenex, denial.

Name? W——-,  Birth date? 1/12/79

Hospital gown, just a little poke, ouch, failed IV attempt, my arm puffs up, just a little poke, success, I’m hooked up.

Name? W——-,  Birth date? 1/12/79

Heart monitor, previous surgeries?, medications?, family history?, surgeon arrives, I tell him to do a good job, I’m getting married in October and I’ve already bought my dress, he promises to take good care of me.  Time to say goodbye to the people I love most in this world.  Cold room, bright lights, nurse says “You’ve got the A team,” my breathing slows, an oxygen mask covers my face…

I’m awake.  My throat is dry.  I open my mouth, my voice works! “It was cancer wasn’t it?” “Yes, papilary carcinoma.”  It’s been just under 4 hours.  I think to my fiance’ and how worried he’s probably been. Sitting, waiting, knowing with each passing minute that cancer was the probable result.  I feel good.  My voice feels strong.  I want to see my family. Two hours in the recovery room waiting for a room to open up.  December is a busy month the nurse tells me.  Everyone trying to get in before their deductible’s flip over.  Ugh.  I’m one of them I guess.  Finally, a room.  My family is here.  They’re the best people in the world.  You should meet them. Incision is ugly, bruised, stitched, but doesn’t hurt too bad. 

Name? W——-,  Birth date? 1/12/79, another blood draw, calcium levels to be checked, too low, a pill, some bubble gum tasting liquid.  A long night ahead.  Nurses are busy, two people called in.  Call button means someone comes in 25 minutes later.  I could feel my throat swelling and thought I was going to choke.  I don’t want morphine.  Just Tylenol with hydro codone will do just fine.  Ibuprofin would be even better.  They have to call someone to see if I can have that.  In and out of consciousness, finally time to go.  Minus my thyroid gland, plus three new medications that I’ll need to take daily from now on.  Forever.

Home, my dog, she missed me, my daughter, I can’t hold her yet, she doesn’t understand and tosses her body around without regard for the incision on my throat.  She points and learns the word “Owie,” I cry.  I wish she didn’t have to know these kinds of things happen. 

Thank God it’s winter. I’ll wear turtle necks.  This is the warmest winter on record I think.  It’s December 14th and 45 degrees.  Still.  For the first time ever I’m hoping it will get colder.

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9 Comments
  1. michelle quinze permalink

    tina brought tears to my eyes in the first few paragraphs! you have to be the strongest woman i know!! this was beautifully written! i’m very glad i got the privilege to read this, thank you for writing it. god bless!!

  2. Pam Goebel permalink

    Well written! Honest, heartbreaking and hopeful. Take care!

  3. That was really beautiful!

  4. Chris permalink

    Hey,

    I love it.

    It’s been painful, but I know we both feel stronger because of it. I love/hate replaying all of that in my memory. I know it’s weird to hear the former, but that our life…I love our life. A couple more days, then some good news, then…ahhhh (exhale)…normalcy.

  5. swimmingtheunbrokensky permalink

    Beautiful Tina. I had no idea. I’m glad for all the love in your life-as you know, it’s what keeps us strong.

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