Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Luck - or Lack Thereof?

I am not a superstitious person. I have always wanted to not believe that the mirrors I have broken or the spilled salt I didn't throw over my left shoulder have any effect on my everyday life or future.  I do not believe in "luck," and I cringe every time I cheerfully say to someone "Good Luck!" or sarcastically refer to "Luck not being on my side."  My all-time favourite quote is from a wise old friend: "Luck = When Preparation and Opportunity Meet"  That IS all it is, in my opinion! 

Yesterday I was again faced with the term "Bad Luck." Referring to: Me.  This coming from an intelligent person I would not have suspected would subscribe to the luck thing... my head and neck surgical oncologist/microvascular reconstructive surgeon.  Near the end of our consultation yesterday, I asked my new surgeon if he could confirm if there is any link with my thyroid cancer to the melanoma, and he said no... studies show there may be a link through a particular gene in a melanoma patient, but this one appears to be just plain l-u-c-k.  I wanted to laugh but I managed to choke it down. 

So yes, we met with the head and neck surgeon, and he explained a little more of what is going on with my diagnosis. He used a lighted video scope thingy to check out my vocal cords (I'll spare you the gory details of how that happened, and will remain thankful that this portion of my battle with cancer will be from the neck up!)  My vocal cords appear to be mainly unaffected by the "classic" tumour spread, and the Dr. said that there is only a 10% chance that my voice would be affected during surgery, and that would simply mean I may not be able to hit that high note singing in the shower.  Scott assured him that my family would be okay with that. 

Special mention though, of the nerves closest to my jugular, they are more closely affected by the infected lymph nodes that will be carefully removed.  I will be having a full thyroidectomy, a central node dissection, and a right node dissection.  Thyroid gone, and all nodes from just below my right ear across and down into just under my collarbone to the middle and right.  Hopefully it will be just one small-ish incision across my throat, minimal scarring on my "young skin" - HE said that I swear!! :-)

The surgeon himself performed an ultrasound right in the consult, which was awesome as he was explaining in detail to a student surgeon, and Scott, while he was looking around on my throat and neck, so he got a better feel for mapping the surgery and we got an earful of a bunch of terms I wish I could have written down at the time.  I was particularly proud of myself when I could tell him exactly which node had been biopsied - I was painfully aware of it for a couple of weeks after the biopsy, as were many of you who had to suffer my bitching about the ouchie and visible bruising a few weeks ago... oh wait, I guess I am still whining about it?

The surgery will be scheduled for approximately mid-November, as my medical oncologist wants to wait one month from my last treatment before subjecting my system to general anesthetic etc. If all goes according to plan, I should be able to remain in the clinical trial. They are working together to ensure my safety, well-being, and continued strategy to fight melanoma. 

The new surgeon said his job is to make thyroid cancer the least of my worries.  It was very matter-of-fact and reassuring how he said it.  Hopefully iodine radiation treatment will not be needed after surgery, but we will cross that bridge if we come to it. 

Surgery will be at Sunnybrook, all procedures the same as my operation in May, except without the post-surgical eight-week mandatory jail time oops I mean bedrest with leg elevated. Sounds like it will be one night in the Short Stay Unit in the main building again, barring any complications, then home to be pampered with ice cream and soothing foot massages.Two weeks worth at least.....

So now we wait for surgery date and pre-surgical prep clinic date. Brain MRI date - news flash - just got MRI date: Nov 7.  CT scan is Monday Oct. 27, which is week 12 of trial schedule, and is paired with bloodwork and another conversation with medical oncologist.  I will keep you posted, and my fingers crossed. ;-)


  1. Hey, I had a brain MRI for my dizzy spells. No dye for me (only in my cat scan), not painful, for me it was extremely claustrophobic (because I am) I had to wear a cage over my head, it was noisy but not unbearable. They didn't offer me music at the time, so yes if you can listen to music I would recommend it, to just pass the time. For me it was long - 20 minutes or more.

  2. Hang in there - Ты сильная

    1. err... ви сильні... sorry :-)

  3. These blogs sre so great and really helps me to understand what is happening to you. I would hope they are a bit of a vent. Sending you all the good vibes I have, you will be better. Oleh

    Obvioulsy technically challenges as I do not know what the "Select Profile" is, hence the anonymous

  4. Natalie, you are in my thoughts and prayers! Remember you have so many positive thoughts of healing coming your way from all your family and friends. Keep up the posts if you can or I'll just have to stalk you on FB :).
    It's funny that you mention you think of our Starbucks outings when you are there becasue I so often do as well. Those are great memories my friend.
    Stay positive, you can beat this!!
    - Dawn