Tuesday, November 01, 2005

revenge of the thyroid

I'm touched by the outpouring of good will I've encountered since I broke the news today that I have thyroid cancer. I think other people are more upset about this than I am. I will admit to wallowing in self-pity off and on today, and moping about and feeling sorry for myself, but the endocrinologist who drew the cells for the culture told me that thyroid cancer is eminently treatable and by no means should be considered something that will cut me down in the prime of my life.

At some point in the next few weeks, I'm going to be given some radioactive iodine to drink. This will destroy the nodule, as well as any other cancerous growths that may have spread from my thyroid to other parts of my body. The thyroid itself will be surgically removed, and I'll be left taking a drug that substitutes for the thyroxin my body naturally produces at this point.

I'm looking at the bright side to this
  1. I have a ready-made excuse for anything. If I'm rude, tired, late, worried, gloomy, ill-tempered, whatever, it's because I have cancer.
  2. Nothing that goes wrong when the whole family gets together for Thanksgiving will be blamed on me. I have cancer. (My older brother said he wants to shave his head and wear a scarf so he can say, "Look, I have cancer too!")
  3. We have tons of material we can mine from this for the Brothers Grinn. Maybe we can even find a way to pin it on Bush.
  4. God's greatest mercies are always extended to us in the most painful ways. My experience with losing Isaac three years ago taught me more about God and my place next to him than anything I've ever learned in church. This seems to be less dramatic than losing a foster child, but I have confidence we will see God's hand when it has passed. "Shall we accept good from God, and not evil?"
  5. If I get to keep my thyroid in a jar, my daughter will have the best show-and-tell project EVER at her preschool. My older daughter can draw the best picture for "news" EVER at her charter school.
  6. If I'm laid up in a hospital bed for a few days, maybe I can borrow a laptop and actual get something written.
I've been working so hard at seeing the bright side of this that I had my older brother and an old friend of mine laughing hysterically as we talked about the ways I could milk this, or the ways they could benefit from it if it proves to be terminal. As my friend and I wound down, I pointed out that she was at work, and I had just left her with the awkward task of explaining to her co-workers what was so funny that she had been laughing for20 or 25 minutes. ("Well, an old friend of mine called to tell me that has cancer...")

Now if I can just parlay this good will into the labor and materials I need to have an addition built onto the house...

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