Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Held at Needlepoint

Pardon the long online silence. I'd meant to write about the Boracay wedding I attended, about meeting with my local fountain pen group for the first time, about my cable knitted socks, about last weekend's trip to Baguio.

It was at Jun and Jangky's December 19 wedding that we discovered that I have a cyst growing on the left lobe of my thyroid. I spent a week not thinking about it (read: traffic, bank holiday, other reasons to procrastinate). Come January I went to my family doctor. He sent me off for blood tests and an ultrasound. I spent some time hunting for an endocrinologist. When I found her, she recommended that I undergo an FNAB (fine needle aspiration biopsy). For someone who has never been hospitalized ever, the word "biopsy" is a bit freaky. (It took a trip to Baguio for me to build up the right attitude and motivation for it. I found myself walking around Burnham Park in a haze of disbelief, leavened by spending time playing with my little niece on the grass.)

The two doctors (family and endocrinologist) both explained in general what would be done. Imagine the cyst is a rubber jackstone ball with fluid in it. The needle will enter the cyst and draw out as much liquid as possible. Sometimes the solids stick together without leaving a gap. Sometimes the liquid accumulation recurs. The liquid is then sent to the lab for tests, including one for the presence or absence of cancer cells. It's just like a blood test, you'll be fine, they said.

Of course I know I'd be fine. There was just that part of me that really could not process the visual of having a needle stuck in my neck. This is despite the fact that I am not a squeamish person and can look at an open wound without fainting. The way I felt about it is hard to describe, but if you've ever been so anxious and stressed about something that you end up uttering gibberish and giggling uncontrollably, that would be close.

Anyway, it's done. Thank goodness. The pathologist stuck me in the neck twice, in an attempt to remove all the liquid. The first time wasn't painful. The second one was a bit painful, because of the attempt to aspirate until no liquid remained. (Well, it doesn't beat having a tooth cavity drilled.) It was mercifully quick. She ended up with 15.5cc of liquid! That is being tested, and I go get the results on Friday. All I have to show for it are two puncture wounds and a bruise worthy of Twilight the movie. On Saturday I let the endocrinologist figure out how to manage the rest of the cyst.

Some of you know me as fearless and practical, keeping my head in emergencies, coming up with reserves of strength when needed. I used to think I was invincible, and that is an attitude of carefree youth. I'm still young, but then again I'm not that young. Or maybe I should say, in my mind I am younger than this body I inhabit. Perhaps that is more accurate. This body feels tired.

I feel relieved that the biopsy is done. I ate enough fried chicken and cream of potato and basil soup fpr lunch to compensate for my early morning stress. (There was no vanilla ice cream, alas.) Thanks to everyone here and in Facebook who put me in their prayer lists and sent me funny thoughts. I had the strangest thoughts going through my head while there was a needle stuck in my neck for the longest ten seconds ever.

All throughout I could not blog. I could only send emails, chat and write in my journal. I put my mind to writing to my snail mail group. During the time I could not blog I got four postcards in the mail from around the world. Lovely surprises in these electronic times! They cheered me up immensely. I've posted three postcards and three letters. There's something so satisfying about using my fountainpens and different colored inks on lovely paper, writing to people who appreciate the same things.

TDM even took me out for breakfast yesterday to cheer me up. (Pancake House's bacon waffles are great for cheering me up. Now if they had Nutella waffles, maybe you could bribe me to have myself stuck with a needle FOUR times!) Thank you, sweetheart.

Hopefully tonight I dream of myself playing with my niece on the Burnham Park grass. It wipes away my cares.

1 comment:

Velvet said...

I am happy to see you are feeling much better. You are in my prayers!