Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Blight

Last Friday afternoon, I got a phone call from Amy, my surgeon's assistant, with the results of the biopsy.  The conversation only lasted a few minutes, and I really only heard one word: cancer.

I spent the rest of that afternoon in a sort of fugue state.  My mind sort of went all blank and fuzzy; it wasn't entirely unpleasant, to tell you the truth.  Amy had assured me that the doctor got all of the cancer when he removed the left lobe of the thyroid and that I shouldn't worry.  Uh huh.  Thanks, Amy.  I had so many questions, but I knew I had to wait until my follow-up appointment on Thursday to get answers from my doctor.  I didn't think about it too much the rest of the weekend because we were busy and I didn't see the point in worrying.  After all, the cancer was gone, and considering I didn't find out about it until after the fact, there was no point in getting all worked up about it.

That worked pretty well until today.  My surgeon called this afternoon, and as soon as I heard him identify himself, I knew something was up.  My appointment with him was in less than 48 hours: why call me now?  He said that the pathology report showed signs of capsular invasion, and he said the other lobe of my thyroid needs to come out.  Soon.  The good news is that there is no sign of the cancer in my lymph nodes, so hopefully the removal of the rest of the thyroid will make certain that never happens.

The woozy feeling returned; again, it wasn't a bad feeling.  There may have been a teeny bit of denial thrown in for good measure.  As I made the kids dinner, I thought, "Huh.  I have cancer."  Although I know it's real, it doesn't seem real quite yet.  In fact, it seems downright surreal that in a couple of weeks, I'll go back to the same hospital to have the same incision opened and wake up in the same recovery room.  As much as I don't want to go through it all again, I know that I don't have a choice.  I need to get this out of my body and start healing.

The doctor wanted to do the surgery next week, but he agreed to wait two weeks so I could go on a planned trip out of town.  I made sure that waiting won't jeopardize my health in any way, and I'll reconfirm that on Thursday.  I need this trip, though.  I'm going to visit my BFF in Colorado for a few days of fun, visiting with friends, Chinese food, trashy TV, shopping, more Chinese food, a stay at the famed Stanley Hotel, and a lot of laughing.
The Stanley Hotel where Stephen King got the inspiration to write _The Shining_.  Squeeeee!!!

I'm really not too freaked out, all in all.  I have faith that everything is going to turn out just fine.  And I can't let this consume me, my family, and my life.  Plus, my badass scar will be even more badass the second time around.  I didn't think I could get much cooler than I already am, but apparently, I can.  And I will.

Friday, February 24, 2012


So, a week ago, I had a hemithyroidectomy.  Before you rush to google, a hemithyroidectomy is when half of one's thyroid is removed.  And I have a pretty badass scar to flaunt.   

You should see the other guy...

During the surgery, the left lobe of my thyroid was removed and sent to pathology.  The initial results looked good; there was no invasion of bad cells.  The sample was then sent off for a more thorough test and was to be returned within 48 hours.  I spent Friday night in the hospital - ugh - and was able to go home Saturday late-morning.  I felt pretty good, albeit hungry after a diet of beef broth and gelatin.  I took a 3 hour nap (!) on Saturday afternoon, and by Sunday, I felt almost back to normal.

Monday and Tuesday came and went without any word from the doctor about the second pathology report.  I started calling on Wednesday, and I finally got someone to call me back Thursday afternoon.  Apparently the results were inconclusive and the sample was sent somewhere else for a second opinion.  Okay.  When I asked the nurse who called me what that meant, she said, "Well, inconclusive means the doctor couldn't make a determination one way or another from the sample."  Gee, thanks for the vocabulary lesson.  So now I wait until the second opinion comes back.

I think everyone else around me is far more freaked out about the inconclusive result than I am.  I'm surprisingly Zen about the whole thing.  I mean, there isn't anything I can do about it but wait.  No matter what the new results are, everything is going to be fine.  I figure that the universe wouldn't mess with me after it waited so long to send me my beautiful family and my beautiful life.  

The only problem now, other than the waiting, is the fatigue.  Holy cow, am I tired.  And it's not just the kind of tired after missing a few nights of sleep.  This is the kind of tired that makes me completely unable to function.  I have headaches with the fatigue, and all I want to do is lie on the couch.  That's not the kind of wife and mother I want to be. 

I have an appointment with an endocrinologist, but I can't get in to see him for two weeks.  I called my GP and basically begged to be seen, and I have an appointment with her today at noon.  I can deal with a heck of a lot, but I can't deal with being so rundown that I can't interact with my family and friends.  Keep your fingers crossed for me that we can find a solution to get me back to my former energy level.

I wouldn't have been able to do all of this without the support and help of my family and friends, especially Trevor, my parents, and Nicole.  Knowing that I have people behind me and cheering me on is the best thing in the world.  And thanks to all of you who have asked how I am and sent encouraging messages.  You guys rock!!!!  

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Goin' Back to Indiana

When I was sixteen, I couldn't wait to get out of my small town.  I dreamed of living in a big city, living footloose and fancy-free.  I stayed in Indianapolis after I graduated from Butler and lived a great life...for a while.  After a particularly rough patch, I moved back to Valparaiso because I needed to be home.  I bought a house, had a great job, incredible friends, and my amazing family.  I stayed for a few years, and then I moved to Lexington to start my life with Trevor.  I like Lexington a lot; it's a fantastic city with a small-town feel.  I have some pretty fabulous friends here and a home that I have worked hard to fill with beauty and love. But lately, I have felt like something was missing.  It took a little while for me to realize that what I have been missing is home.

Lexington is my adopted home, but Valpo will always be where my heart is.  My family is there, my friends are there, and Chicago is pretty darn close.  It seems as though the Wells family is ready for a change, so we're heading to Indiana.  Trevor is ready to get a buzz cut and bust out the Picket Fence on a regular basis.  (If you are scratching your head at that reference, you haven't seen the movie Hoosiers enough times.  Go watch it.  I'll wait.)

So, yeah.  We're moving.  If you had asked me five years ago if we would ever move my family to Valpo, I probably would have given you a blank stare.  But there is something about having kids that makes one long for a sense of family.  We're going to live in my parents' neighborhood: according to my friend Tiffany, that's either genius or insane.  My kids will go to the same schools that my niece and nephew attended.  We'll live about 1/10th of a mile from my brother, sister-in-law, and their family. It's going to be fantastic, chaotic, agitating, soothing, and gratifying.

 The details: Trevor will continue to work for Miller Wells, but he'll work remotely from home.  He'll still have to come back to Lexington once a month or so for meetings, court appearances, or just to get away from being at home with me 24/7.  (I kid.  I kid!)  My parents are keeping their condo here in town, so we'll all have a place to stay when we come back to visit or when Trevor comes back to work.  Our new home is nothing like our current home.  Although I adore our historic home on a beautiful street close to downtown, I'm looking forward to having a newer house with windows that open (!) and less square footage for me to clean.  It also has a totally sweet theater room in the finished, daylight basement.  I will miss the quirky character and beauty of our almost-one-hundred-year-old house, but I'm eager to make our new house into our home.  (And if you know anyone who is looking for a fantastic house in the Bluegrass, here it is: our home listing.)

Although I will be a Midwest housewife when we move in the summer, I'm going to keep the name of my blog.  I started writing as a housewife of the Bluegrass, and changing the name of the blog just doesn't feel right.  I put myself out there as Real Housewife of the Bluegrass, and that is what I'll stay.

I'm going to miss lots of things about Lexington: the family and friends we have here, our babysitter who has become a member of the family, walking to the local park, the huge public library, the wonderful preschool both kids attend, Cajun fast food, the Kentucky theater, the complete panic when there is a threat of snow...wait, no.  I won't miss that at all.  Lexington has been good to me for almost seven years and I know it will be a period of huge transition for all of us.  But I know in my heart that as long as I'm with the people I love, I'll be home.