Category Archives: thyroid

Circus (And A Giveaway!)

Perhaps you’ve heard the term Thanksgivukkah?  Or Christmukkah?  How about Thanksgivukkahbirthmas?  Yeah, this time of year, we have Hanukkah, Thanksgiving, Dylan’s birthday, and Christmas.

When I was pregnant with Dylan, my actual due date was December 24th.  When he came early on December 6th, I thought, Phew, I dodged the Christmas baby bullet!  I was an idiot.  When you have a family that celebrates Hanukkah and Christmas, any birthday between Thanksgiving and the New Year is a holiday baby.

We hosted a successful Thanksgiving dinner at our house (cooked with a lot of love and just as much butter), and we’ve lit the menorah seven lovely nights so far.  We also bought our first real Christmas tree, and it smells amazing!   So far so good for this most busy stressful anxious wonderful time of the year, right?

Next up is Dylan’s 7th birthday party bonanza at the ice skating rink this weekend and a blizzard themed bingo night at Dylan’s school next week for which I am the event co-chair.  There are way too many items on my to do list for these events, but it will all get done, right?  After the birthday and bingo bashes, we’ll plow ahead to Christmas and the New Year, but smack in the middle of it all, there’s the itty-bitty dilemma of the basal cell carnimona on my face.  Carcinoma is another word for cancer.  On my face.

Remember the bandage?

bandage

Well, the biopsy came back malignant.  It’s basal cell carcinoma, and according to my dermatologist, it’s “infiltrated” (i.e. deep).  It’s not melanoma.  In other words, it’s not going to kill me.  But it’s still cancer.  Deep.  On my face.

Cancer on my face for Christmas. (You shouldn’t have.)

Cancer looks for me, I swear.  It seeks me out, which is why I go to a team of doctors regularly and why I have thyroid ultrasounds that reveal concerning nodules and colonoscopies that reveal precancerous polyps and annual skin checks that uncover “infiltrated” basal cell carnimoma.  I’m sensitive, yes, but I’m also the girl who once got pregnant and ended up with cancer in her uterus instead.

This too shall pass, but in the meantime, it feels like a kidney stone.

December is a wonderful time of the year, especially when I see the joy on my boys’ faces when the Christmas tree is lit up and when they light the Hanukkah menorah candles all by themselves.  But December is also busy and dark and expensive and endless.

The holiday cards need to go out and teacher gifts need to be purchased and the birthday cake (for the ice rink party) needs to be picked up and the cookie cake (for the school party) needs to be ordered and the cake plates and napkins and forks need to be bought and the inflatable hockey stick party favors must be inflated and the blizzard bingo decorations need to be delivered and the winter music needs to be downloaded and the menorahs eventually need to be put away and the Christmas presents need to be bought and wrapped and hid and the house needs to be cleaned up and out because Terminix finally gave us a date in January to finally tent the house to finally get rid of the termites scheming to swarm again in the spring.

And Harry.  My Bo Berry is still gone and I still listen for him when my keys jingle at the front door and I still think of him when I stumble upon a leftover hamburger in the refrigerator and I still get sympathy cards (and bills) from the doctors who treated him and his remains are ready to be picked up and I have no idea what to do with them or where to put them or how or if to tell the kids about them because how do you explain remains to children?

And the cancer on my face.  I have basal cell carcinoma and it’s deep and I need to have Mohs surgery and a plastic surgeon needs to close the wound and there will be a scar and the thing is that I’m still having a hard time with Everything.

I feel buckets and buckets of gratitude under all of It.  Underneath Everything.  I promise, I do.  Like when Dylan winks at me (thanks to Kevin McCallister from Home Alone) and when Riley gets so mad but laughs hysterically when I accuse him of having a monkey in his belly (he does!).  There’s a truth, too.  Cancer doesn’t look for me.  I know this.  I’m not that special.  And, of course, the lesson.  Go to the doctor, Mamas!  Take care of yourselves!  But right now life feels like a freakin’ circus.

Speaking of which…awkward segue in 3-2-1…the circus is coming to town.  Seriously.  Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey’s Built To Amaze! show rolls into Miami in January, and I’m giving one lucky winner four tickets to the show on Saturday, January 11, 2014 at 3pm at the American Airlines Arena in Miami, FL.

Color Hi-res Logo

Ringling Ringmaster

See, I told you it would be an awkward segue.  Nonetheless, I’m excited about this giveaway because free stuff is fun, I’ve never taken my kids to the circus, and I think it will be hilarious to take the kiddos to the big top when there’s circus tent covering my entire house.

All you have to do to enter to win the tickets is leave a comment here on the blog telling me why you like the circus and/or if you’re afraid of clowns like I am (damn Poltergeist!).  You can also comment on the circus that is currently my life, but please clarify if you also want to enter to win the circus tickets.

Do not enter if you cannot arrange your own transportation and/or lodging.  Winner will receive circus tickets ONLY.   

The deadline to enter is midnight on Friday, December 13th.  After that, I will pick a winner at random. 

Good luck!  Ha!  Get it?  Unlucky Friday the 13th?  Ha! 

(Seriously.  Good luck.) 

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Filed under anxiety, boys, cancer, Christmas, circus, colonoscopy, gratitude, Hanukkah, holidays, Thanksgiving, thyroid

It’s My Birthday

A while back, Riley and I had a priceless conversation in the car.  It was so hilarious that he occasionally likes to repeat it like it’s a one-act play.  It goes like this:

Riley: Can I help you drive?

Me: No, silly, you have to be 16 to drive.  Are you 16?

Riley: Yes.

Me: Well, if you’re 16, then I’m 50.

Riley: Then you will die.

I’ll never forget this exchange.  That is, unless Alzheimer’s gets me, in which case it’s a good thing I wrote it down.  Today’s my birthday.  I’m 38 years old, which isn’t really old at all.  Unless you ask Riley.  Not only does he think I’m going to die in twelve years, but sometimes he calls me Old Lady instead of Mommy for fun.

To celebrate my 38th year, I’m getting a pap smear.  You heard me right.  I’ve chosen to receive a gynecological exam on my birthday.  (Do you remember when I asked my gastro for a colonoscopy?  If you know me at all, you know I’m capable of unthinkable things.)

If my third decade has taught me anything, it’s that I need to take care of myself. I’m the epitome of good health on the surface.  Case in point, my favorite food is kale.  And if my love of dark leafy fibrous greens isn’t proof enough, I’m training to run a 10K race at the end of October.  (Actually, that might be evidence not of good health, but rather that I’ve lost my mind.)

Still, I’ve had a lot of medical drama.  My personal favorite – besides the numbness in my left ankle, which resulted in me being tasered, er, I mean, having a nerve conduction study (age 36) and the preeclampsia (and subsequent emergency c-section) that made me as swollen as the Pillsbury Doughboy (age 31) – has to be the pre-cancerous polyp they found during my first colonoscopy (age 34).  That was awesome!

The overarching theme of my 30s has definitely been motherhood, and boy did it start with a bang!  I spent my 30th birthday recovering from a molar pregnancy and drowning in depression about whether or not motherhood was even in the cards.  (By the way, I should totally get a 30th birthday do-over, because, as Dylan would say, that was the worst day ever.)  Thankfully, motherhood was in the cards.  Eight glorious, sleep-deprived, and messy years later, my story is much different.  I’m the proud owner of two happy and healthy little boys, both of whom I blame for most if not all of my health problems (at least the mental ones).

Let’s face it, motherhood is perilous.  It’s allowed me to witness and be a part of breathtaking miracles, but it’s also put me in a chemo chair, on the operating table, and on the couch.  My pregnancies and births alone – with miscarriage, choriocarcinoma (i.e. cancer from the molar pregnancy), preeclampsia, sciatica, low platelet counts, blood thinners, and c-sections – were a monumental feat.  (And Dylan wants me to have another one!) Then came the postpartum ventral hernia (back to the OR!), atopic contact dermatitis (any other Mamas out there allergic to baby wipes?), IBS, severe anxiety, more low platelet counts, and suspicious thyroid nodules.

But I’m here, folks!  I’m still standing!  (In my kitchen with a sink full of dirty dishes!)  I’ve accessed the healthcare system in ways I never could’ve imagined, and somehow I’ve come out none the worse for wear each time (it’s a lot easier to put things into perspective eight years later).  All that said, I know the agony of sitting opposite a doctor and receiving bad news, of experiencing loss, of prepping for a surgery for which you don’t know the outcome, and of waiting anxiously for biopsy results.

These days, I have a dream team of doctors who treat my ailments – big and small and utterly ridiculous.  Hematologist?  Check.  Optometrist?  Check.  Gastroenterologist?  Check.  Neurologist?  Check!  But I’m proud of my Rolodex of MDs, because occasionally something happens that truly deserves attention (hello, thyroid!).  In other words, shit can get real, people.  Real fast.

As I watch my parents and in-laws deal with the stress of aging, my dog struggle from worsening degenerative disc disease (now Harry has a neurologist, too), and my kids grow big and strong before my squinting eyes (where are my reading glasses?!), I’m compelled to take the very best care of myself so I can be around to wipe my boys’ butts forever.  (That came out creepier than I intended.)  So I can write help them with their college essays, and join the office of (helicopter) parent relations on their college campuses.  (Okay, that was creepy, too.)

So, I’m getting a pap smear on my birthday, and I can’t wait!  (That might be a slight overstatement.)  Sure, I could’ve scheduled it another day, but I did it today – on my actual birthday – as a reminder and an oath not to take my health for granted no matter how tired, busy, lazy, or scared I feel.  Because, let’s face it, my cervix and ovaries (and breasts and heart and brain and thyroid) might not give a crap that I fancy kale.

All of this “which disease will take me down” talk is kind of depressing.  If you’re wondering why I’m not marking the beginning of the end of my 30s by drinking wine, eating cake, and online shopping in my pajamas, worry not.  The sponsor of the 10k I’m training for is a local bar, and all runners get free beer and wine at the finish line.  Chardonnay for breakfast!  Wahoo!  Also, after this morning’s lady parts check-up, I plan to perhaps possibly probably do a little bit of birthday window shopping before fetching the kids at school.  Maybe.  (Definitely.)   And about the cake?  There. Will. Be. Cake.  Cake will be consumed.

All I want for my birthday (besides expensive denim, a waterproof iPhone case, and a headboard) is for you to take care of yourself, too.  If you do something marvelous for your health, like get a skin screening at the dermatologist (I’m overdue!), schedule a mammogram, or go for a long walk, tell me about it in the comments here or on my Facebook page.  It will totally make my day.

p.s. If you insist on getting me a birthday present, it would really rock my world if you’d “Like” my Facebook page and share it with all of your fabulous Facebook friends.  That would be super cool.

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Filed under anxiety, birthday, colonoscopy, conversations to remember, eyeglasses, giving birth, going to the doctor, Harry, health, molar pregnancy, pregnancy, thyroid