Wednesday, November 12, 2008

What’s the official 5-year anniversary gift for a thyroidectomy? Turtlenecks!

It dawned on me sometime in the past week that an anniversary has crept up. Five years ago tomorrow I will have had my thyroid removed. It was a time of great uncertainty in my life (sounds dramatic, but it’s true) and remembering some of the moments along the way, I have so much to be thankful for.

My parents stepped up in a big way, no suprises there. They came for my biopsy in October and returned for the surgery in November, keeping an eye on Seth while I was in the hospital and just generally being supportive and loving. My dad showed his care in the way he knows best, by building me a beautiful pergola at my little house on Francis Street over the weekend that I was recovering, a truly lovely gesture.

Seth took it all in stride, like everything else he responded to that year, with his usual equanimity. He was happy to have Grandma and Grandpa there, didn’t really like seeing me in a hospital bed, but he was his affectionate self and it was quite comforting for me to have him around.

An old friend from college came and prayed with me the morning of my surgery. Walt Meske, who had been the dean of students while I was at WWU, and who I had gotten to know quite well when I was editor of the school paper there, was the chaplain at the hospital where I had the surgery. He was very surprised to see me that morning, and asked if he could say a prayer with me before surgery. Prayer wasn’t a part of my daily life at that time, but it moved me very much, and his calm familiar voice brought me to tears. I do know that I was in many people’s prayers that day, for which I am grateful.

My surgeon was a personable fatherly man. He worked with me on scheduling the surgery on really the only available day that fit my schedule (I was catering at the time and about to go into a very heavy holiday season). His reassuring yet straightforward manner suited me, from our first conversation when he inquired why I wanted to take the thyroid out (conventional thought from the local endocrinologist was to watch and wait) all the way to our post-operative conversation when he told me he had never seen a thyroid so encrusted with “nodes” as mine. The whole lumpy mass of it was benign, but there was no way of knowing what it could have turned in to down the road. I was so glad to have it gone!

I have learned so much about the thyroid (and what not having one means) since my surgery, and it’s been a sometimes frustrating journey to get the medication exactly right so that I have enough energy (but not too much) and feel on top of my game, so to speak. My acupuncturist has been especially helpful the past couple of years, with some alternative ideas and resources. Check out my Thursday Thirteen tomorrow; it’s encrusted with information!

A very big thank you to all who were with me during that time; the love and support meant more than you can know.


  1. So glad you got rid of that crusty thing! :)

    Mostly, though, I'm glad you're so far on the other side of that experience now. It does NOT sound like a fun time, and I'm glad you had so much good support to help you through it.

  2. I was disappointed about having nothing interesting to read on Facebook today and came across this intriguing title. Glad I did--today I very much need some sunshine to drag me out of my Eeyore day. Maybe I'll even try to spread some sunshine, though that might have to wait until another day. Hmmmph!


Blogger Template By Designer Blogs