Tuesday, March 07, 2006

curse of thyroid

And now there are only four days until I receive my radioactive iodine. We have marked this on the calendar with the universal Danger: Radiation symbol, and Natasha has written "Flee to New York" next to it, with a string of exclamation points.

All that remains is for the doctor to mistake radioactive iodine for another radioactive material, like say, uranium, and give me a large enough pill that it proves to be fissile. Failing that, I expect to spend much of Friday and the weekend all alone with hundreds of books, the complete "Lord of the Rings" movie trilogy, and my computer. (Now it may be that my wife expects me to be home alone all weekend with a stack of dirty laundry, messy rooms, a pile of dirty dishes, and a can of paint or two, but I think we can all agree that she doesn't appreciate the serious and potentially life-threatening nature of cancer.)

Today's visit to the hospital was much like yesterday's. The pale green paint remains in place on the equipment, in clear defiance of international law. Homer still manned the controls, but did nothing with my brain, apparently having found nothing when he checked yesterday. I still nearly fell asleep and almost fell off the examining table when they had finished with the gamma camera, and I still needed to be shown the way out of the radiology department.

On the bright side, when I followed a friend's suggestion of looking for patterns in the water stains on the ceiling tiles, like kids do with clouds in the sky, I saw Don Knotts smiling and waving back at me. He reached down from the ceiling, and when he touched me on the throat, I felt a warm, heavenly glow spread across my body.

I don't know how to say this, but I think I've been healed.

Before I close this entry, I just wanted to note that I've heard from some friends that my cancer-related correspondence has left them in an awkward position or two over the last few months. A teacher was undone while administering a test at the thought of a butt-scratching surgeon, a news editor had to explain to her staff what was so funny that she kept laughing for twenty minutes, my brother nearly lost it during a business meeting when he checked his e-mail and read my description of yesterday's checkup, and a college student is disconsolate that she probably will not get to add my hypothetical armpit thyroid to her collection. And as a business editor wrote me, "I hope you get this treatment done and over with soon. You sound like you're having too much fun -- and it's quite annoying."

Personally, all I've been able to glean from the experience myself are some maudlin thoughts about mortality. I'd like to apologize for any difficulty my getting cancer has caused you.

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