Well, I got some good news and some bad news today on the cancer front.
The good news is that Rachel, who came to the doctor's office with me, appears to be cancer-free. The bad news is that so do I.
How is that bad news, you ask? Do you have any idea how much fun it is to have cancer? How great it is to shock people in the check-out line at the supermarket or waitresses in restaurants when they ask, "How are you?" and you say, "I've got cancer, how about you?" Do you realize how much emotional capital you can get out of having cancer, or the exciting experiences you can have, like meeting Homer the nuclear technician, getting a phone call at 6 a.m. from an imaginary person, or feeling your body start to shut down?
And now it's all over. I've been robbed. I get to go through the routine of checkups and evaluations, but it's like living on the Moon in a virtual reality chamber: all the nuisance, without any of the payoff. Medicine is such a cheat.
The toll of doom came today when I saw my endocrinologist and she told me that my thyroglobulin levels are undetectable. As for my hobglobulin and green globulin, even the greatest spider-sense in the world couldn't track them. Where there once stood a proud and mighty thyroid, growing ever larger in defiance of the restrictions imposed on it, there is now nothing left but smoldering, bombed out ruins left by a nuclear assault. Not a single thyroid cell is left to produce thyroglobulin apparently.
Now in March I get to have an injection of Thyrogen, a synthetic form of the Thyroid Stimulation Hormone that urges thyroid cells to do their dirty work. If that produces any evidence of thyroid holdouts -- decidedly unlikely -- then at least I'll get to go through that whole "My body is dying" routine again, and my imaginary friend may call me back, but let's not fool ourselves. It's over. I need to find a new way to get people to feel sorry for me.
(Rachel enjoyed her own cancer checkup today. She complained to the doctor that she was sick too, so the doctor listened to her heartbeat and breathing, and then put her stethoscope on Rachel's nose. It was a lot of fun, but of course the hospital is probably going to send us a bill for that checkup too, and our insurance company will probably refuse to cover it since Rachel saw a specialist without a proper referral. Bunch of cryptofascists.)