Unlike the day I became radioactive, I knew what I was getting into (I wasn't expecting a dramatic day).
The body scan machine is similar to an MRI machine, but it is open (whew). I lie down on the table with my iPod and the tech tells me that the camera is going to be very close to my face for about 5 minutes and then will move down the rest of my body. Ok, no problem. The camera is about a 12"x 12" piece of gray metal with a "t" in the middle. It moves over my face and I think, "Oh this is fine."
Then the tech says,
"Ok, Anabelle, we are going to start now."
"We haven't started yet?" I think to myself.
The camera starts moving down, closer to my face, closer and closer and closer. I start to feel as if a coffin is being closed down on me! I am not even claustrophopic! I swear, if my nose were any longer it would have smashed it! At this point I am thinking Thank goodness for my iPod and visions of Jaxon. One problem with my iPod... the music is a bit too upbeat! I am supposed to be lying still so bobbing my head and tapping my feet is completely inappropriate! This is when I am wishing for Brian's boring iPod (he calls it "Mellow Music"). After what feels like I am being buried alive, the scan slowly starts to move down the rest of my body. Another thing to be thankful for... being short! The camera didn't have too far to go. :)
But oh, lucky me, the scan isn't over! And since my cancer was in my thyroid (which is located in my neck) back up to my face it comes. Yippee! The tech did several more tests and the entire thing lasted almost exactly an hour. After the hour was done, and I was getting ready to go.
The tech tells me,
"My mom had thyroid cancer, but she had to have 3 doses of RAI. 200 millicuries each time.
I had 150 millicuries. I asked why so many. I wasn't feeling very optimistic at this point.
He said, "Her cancer was caught later in life and was pretty bad. All of us kids were adults and out of the house. The hardest part was not being able to see her grand kids."
Which made me VERY grateful to the mid-wife who caught this tumor! Remember what Dr. McDreamy said, "Had it not been taken care of now, this could have gotten much worse." That is all I could think about. I was feeling very blessed and lucky at this point.
So now onto the appointment with Dr. Edwards
He walks into the room and says, "Wow. You look pretty good for someone who has had their thyroid on the floor for the past 3 weeks."
Apparently, I was supposed to look worse. I am still fairly puffy and swollen, but not nearly as I was over the weekend. So then he says,
Ok, let's take a look. I haven't seen these yet so we are going to see them together for the first time."
Next thing I see is a gray little Anabelle with a teeny slightly darker gray spot where my thyroid is and a black curvy line in my stomach. Dr Edwards is clearly looking impressed.
He says, Wow! This is where your thyroid was (points to slightly darker gray) and these are your intestines (points to curvy black line). You had a complete thyroidectomy, but judging by these scans he (meaning Dr. McDreamy) was able to take out almost every last tissue of thyroid. This is very difficult to do safely. I mean your vocal cords could have been harmed. He did an excellent job. This is amazing!"
I am not going to lie, I went in there prepared and expecting to see spots throughout my body where the cancer had spread. I hadn't told anyone, not even Brian, this because I am a "glass half full" kinda girl, and didn't want to disappoint. But I needed to prepare myself for the worst. So seeing that image of my body with barely any visible spots was such a relief.
At that moment I realized how much stress having cancer was giving me, but for whatever reason I was even hiding it from myself. Does that even make sense? I don't know why I always felt the need to sugar coat the fact that having cancer was ok and that I was feeling fine and things were going to be ok. (I guess because I felt lucky that it was the cancer that it was and it could have been worse.) But I did and it apparently had been weighing on me more than I thought. I just wanted to cry I was so overwhelmed with happiness. It was similar to the rush of emotion you feel when you see your baby for the very first time. It just takes over. Luckily I was able to contain myself (again, putting on a brave face).
I just want to thank every single one of you that has prayed for me and my family, sent cards, well wishes, made phone calls, sent me treats, offered to watch Jaxon or just asked how I was doing. It has meant more to me and Brian than you will ever know. I can't even begin to express the gratitude I feel. It is nice to be surrounded (even if you are far) by so many wonderful friends and family. I love all of you!
I am proud to say that I am A CANCER SURVIVOR!
Now, where's my bracelet? :)