Friday, June 24, 2011

Why yes, sure I'd like a biopsy

Spoiler alert: I do not have cancer. Just saying that going in. In fact I waited until this whole aggravating procedure was over before writing about it because I didn't want to spend whole posts whining about maybe having cancer, if in fact I did not. Because who wants to listen to that crap? Cue the violin.

Anyway what I do have is a nodule in my thyroid. And apparently said thyroid is enlarged on one side, according to the doctor who spotted it during my checkup, but for the life of me I can't see it and I've been looking at my neck for years. But the doctor sent me for an ultrasound, and then when they got the results back they sent me to an ENT, and then when the ENT saw me she sent me to the hospital for another ultrasound and a biopsy. Frankly I think ultrasounds are more fun when there's a baby involved. Way less strain on the neck.

From my minimal research I found that thyroid nodules are usually spotted in exactly this manner, they're way more common in women than men and there are frequently no symptoms of thyroid cancer. Which didn't help matters, since I felt fine. You know, upset and stressed out, but fine.

The above description might sound like this whole thing took a matter of days. Um, no. The physical was at the end of March. The first ultrasound was a few weeks later. The ENT visit was at the end of May, and the biopsy was the first week of June. And then another agonizing week for the results. Good thing I don't have cancer or I'd be dead by now.

One (small) benefit was that I got to check out another of the hospitals in the area, since we've been going to a different, larger one for all our emergency-fever/you-should-get-your-kid-behaviorally-tested-because-he's-been-acting-up-in-school needs. This other one is a little closer, and the parking setup is better, which is a good thing to keep in mind for emergency fevers. I'm not especially a fan of driving aimlessly all around the hospital, going right past the emergency room, trying to figure out where I'm allowed to park. That's annoying enough in a non-emergency, mall situation.

It's a St. hospital, which I didn't think about much till I got there and saw the whole building is designed around a chapel in the middle -- pretty interesting architecturally -- and I happened to be walking down a hallway and in an alcove was Jesus. Fairly big statue, too. I guess he kind of blended in. Waiting area, restroom, radiology department, Jesus.

The doctor who did the biopsy was nice enough but he needs new material. I told him and his assistant as they were getting me ready that I'm pretty sensitive about things touching my neck (ironically, since I'm a scarf fiend), and he cracked a line about my husband choking me. Generally when someone lobs a joke at me I'll whack it right back, so I said, "How did you know?" but I was thinking, Get smacked down by HR much, doc? And he riposted that he does the same thing to his wife at home. Dude. If DH ever made a joke like that about me he'd be sleeping in the yard.

Doc was perfectly careful and professional during the actual test, so I guess he's just a lousy comedian. But many people are.

Not a test I would recommend for funsies, incidentally, unless you like having your neck hyperextended, Also if you like looking like someone punched you in the neck for the next week. Fortunately I have a closet full of scarves. So I either looked weird for wearing them to work six straight days, or I looked hypertrendy. I prefer to think it's the latter.

The ENT said they'd get the results in 8-10 days. The hospital said 4-5 days. In search of a straight answer from somewhere, I started calling the ENT's office on day 4. They said "we're not supposed to give results over the phone" and call back tomorrow. Two days in a row. But then they said the nurse practitioner would call me Friday. The one who I'd originally made the follow-up appointment with for that Friday. Who suddenly had to cancel all her appointments that week, forcing me to push off my follow-up to Monday. Right. That nurse practitioner? Was suddenly going to be in the office on Friday?

And then my head exploded a little bit.

Fortunately she actually did call on Friday to say it was benign. Un-exploding my head somewhat.

So at least I got to spend Father's Day not going cancer cancer cancer. The ENT himself, at the long-awaited but anticlimactic follow-up, told me he never gives results over the phone because of the one time he did and they were fairly dire, and the freaked-out patient got into a car accident on the way to the hospital. Well, OK. Good reason. He also said the 8- to 10-day window is in case the test is screwed up or doesn't provide all the info he needs and he makes them redo part of it. I got the impression this guy is a bit of a hardass. My kind of doctor.

In six months I'm supposed to get another ultrasound, for monitoring purposes. But not a biopsy. Fine by me.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Deputy Underpants

I'm not quite ready to promote him to captain yet, but he has been wearing them all week. To school. In bed. And my Lord the laundry. Oh it piles up. But I figure getting this done is worth the sky-high water bill we are inevitably going to have. (Man reading the water meter: "What are they doing over there, showering a yak?")

At first he had a few accidents a day, and then by the end of the week it was one. And it was one yesterday (I think). He has gotten his shoes a few times -- thankfully they appear to be machine washable -- so I just got him an auxiliary pair to keep at school (their suggestion), just so he can still go out on the playground even if his shoes are wet. Hey, I'm shopping at Payless. It's not like he's drenching hundred-dollar Nikes.

A couple days ago, to help him remember which end of the underwear goes in back, I showed him the little emergency opening in the front and explained what it was for. Side note: Really, guys, how lazy are you that you need an emergency hatch in your underwear? Because pulling the whole thing down is somehow too much work? I didn't even realize the emergency hatch is in every single pair, until I started helping kiddo get the underwear on. Anyway kiddo was especially intrigued by the hatch, and when he hit up the potty after breakfast, he was in a hurry and used it. Highly impressed with himself, he explained to us, "When my penis gets in trouble, I can use this!" And we promptly had a giggle fit over that behind the bathroom door. Oh no! The penis is in trouble! To the emergency hatch!

A more mature person would not be so quick to embrace the toilet humor. I am not that person.

There's still the inevitable "but I don't WANNA use the potty" whine after meals and after "Phineas and Ferb" is over but it seems at least a little halfhearted. And he is genuinely using the potty, nearly every time.

I even daringly brought him to a birthday party yesterday, in underwear. At one of those kiddie play places that had a bounce house and video games, either one of which could keep him occupied (and not remotely focused on his bladder) for hours. I brought extra shorts and underwear, just in case, and did not need them. Granted I had to time him more or less precisely, then corral him and drag him to the bathroom, but it worked. Huzzah.

So we'll see how this week goes. I am, finally, optimistic.

Every single parent I talk to, no matter the generation, says potty training is the worst part and they were so happy when it was over with. So ... it gets better from here?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Potty war: A new hope?

Yesterday morning, I prodded him over to the potty for his usual post-breakfast constitutional, and he looked distinctly like something big was coming. He asked me to leave. More precisely, to "go somewhere." Which was a strange bit of delicacy, but I complied. After several long minutes, he triumphantly announced, "I pooped!" And oh boy he certainly had. There was enough left over for an auxiliary potty.

He was highly pleased with himself and the world, until we'd gotten the whole production into the toilet and flushed it. Seems the whole production was too much for the toilet, and it promptly stopped right up. Then made some ominous gurgling noises. Kiddo backed off, a little spooked. And then a stray bit of leftover production fell out of wherever it had been hiding, and kiddo stepped on it. With his new sneakers on. That I had just bought him 24 hours ago.

Fortunately everything cleaned up nicely and neither kiddo nor the toilet seem to have developed post-traumatic stress disorder.

Honestly. I'm reasonably lucky in that my work hours are a little flexible. What do parents do when they're on a stricter time clock, and this sort of thing happens? What do they say? "Well, my kid and the potty and the poop was everywhere and cleanup and, you know, sorry I'm late."

Kiddo also announced at school/day care yesterday that he needed to pee, then ran into the bathroom to do so. And then used the potty three times after getting home last night. Then while climbing into bed, announced that he needed to use it again, and climbed back down and did so. All promising signs. His teachers think give it a few more days, then send him to school in underwear and see what happens.

In the meantime, kiddette is now capable of informing us that she needs a diaper change by pointing at her butt and saying "poop." Which her brother never, ever did. So I'm thinking once kiddo is finally off the pull-ups, we start right in on kiddette. I'm envisioning a world of no more diapers, of retiring the Diaper Genie permanently, and it's a beautiful world. Also a cheaper one.