The chemotherapy I had after my molar pregnancy was given by injection. Every week for eight weeks, I had a shot in my left and right buttocks. Every week. Left and right.
The left side never hurt, but the right side was excruciating every single time. After a few weeks, my entire body winced in anticipation of the injection on the right side.
I’m sure there was a medical explanation for it, that there was a nerve or something in the way. To me, though, it represented perfectly the internal struggle I had with my situation. With wanting a baby and getting cancer in my uterus instead. The left side surrendered. Shit happens. The right side fought like hell. How could this happen to me? The left side accepted the situation. Let’s just get through this. The right side rejected it. Are you fucking kidding me? The left side wanted to move on. The right side wanted to wallow in it.
It felt good sometimes – a lot of the time, actually – to be miserable (right), but at my core, I wanted to persevere (left). I’m proud to say that I did, but not without a struggle. Not without an exhausting back and forth between the two sides. Between the left and the right.
Earlier this week, I went to the endocrinologist for a follow-up ultrasound on my thyroid nodule. The good news is that it’s still very small. The bad news is that it’s dark in color and has blood flow. These attributes don’t necessary mean the nodule is malignant, but it would be better if these attributes weren’t there. Per my doctor’s recommendation, I’m having an fine-needle biopsy done next Thursday afternoon.
Although thyroid nodules are common, thyroid cancer is rare. According to the Mayo Clinic, about 95% of thyroid nodules are benign. Even better, if caught early, most thyroid cancers are 100% curable. Chances are that my nodule is benign, and even if it’s not, chances are that I’ll be fine in the long run.
Molar pregnancies are also rare. According to WebMD.com, only about one in 1,500 women with early pregnancy symptoms has a molar pregnancy, and out of 1,000 cases of partial molar pregnancy (the kind I had), only about 50 develop trophoblastic disease (i.e. the cancer in the uterus). The Mayo Clinic says molar pregnancies are more likely (1) if you’re older than 35 and younger than 20, (2) if you’ve had a previous molar pregnancy, and (3) if you’re of Southeastern Asian decent. That I – a 29-year-old white woman with no previous pregnancies – managed to end up with trophoblastic disease was astonishingly…unbelievably…extraordinarily…phenomenally…I could go on and on…shitty.
If my anxiety over my health seems irrational, it’s because it is. I worked hard to climb out of the darkness and sludge of the molar pregnancy, but no matter how much better – no matter how “fixed” – I feel, I’ll always be easily cracked. I’ll always know that the most unlikely result can and does happen. Even though I know it’s very likely that my nodule is benign, I can’t help but imagine that it’s malignant.
Despite all of the things I don’t believe, I do believe this: You get what you give. For this reason, I’m trying my best to stay positive. For all of my medical calamities, I’m still here, and I know people with far worse problems (medical and otherwise) than a pesky little thyroid nodule. Besides that, I have great doctors, my family and friends are chomping at the bit to help in any way they can, and perhaps most importantly, I know that if I fall, I’ll be caught. This I know for sure.
Yet, I also feel completely and utterly unlucky. Even if the news is eventually good – that the nodule is benign – I still have to go through the “not painful but not comfortable” biopsy (the nerve conduction study I had on my leg last year comes to mind) and then wait up to five agonizing days for the results. Here it comes. The negativity. The self-pity. Why me? Why a molar pregnancy and now this?
So, what’s a Runaway Mama to do? Keep moving. One step at a time. Left and right. Left and right.
Thankfully, I have plenty of things to distract me (i.e. my kids). In particular, I have 20 Spider-Man goodie bags to prepare for Riley’s fourth birthday party this weekend. This beautiful little person who puts socks on his hands and calls them mittens because he wants to go to Grandma Irene’s house where there’s snow that badly…
…and who put Mr. Penguin in the refrigerator the other night because penguins like to be where it’s cold…
…deserves an epic celebration.
No conflict there. My left and right side are totally in sync on this one.