No matter how many times we practice this scenario, for surgery, for biopsies, for tests- it is no easier now than it was the very first time.
And boy have we had practice!
This morning, as Daddy walked with her to the operating room,(our routine firmly in place – Daddy does the OR and Mommy does any overnight stays) I was still struck with the distinct feeling that I had been kicked in the stomach with a large pair of steel tipped boots.
This one should be ok. 9 days wrapped and dry. Stitches removed, and we should see progress.
As long as…
Well now we fidget and pray and keep busy. There will be time for the rest.
I saw superheroes today. Not the kind that normally come to mind.
The 9th floor of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center was absolutely crawling with them.
None of them had capes. And they weren’t any funny colors.
None of them could fly, and yet I am sure that’s what they were.
I saw young bald superheroes with smiles that could light any room.
I saw older, more mature superheroes, heroically managing their IV poles, after teaching a younger one not to cry.
I saw parent superheroes, who although their capes were invisible to the naked eye, possessed nerves of steel, and the ability to make their young one laugh even as they themselves were inches from despair.
I had a lot of time to watch them. We had a long wait this morning. And even as I kept Meghan distracted, my eyes never left them.
They navigated the floor like it was home, handled IV poles and ports and masks, like they were additional appendages.
These people- the young ones and their parents, are made from a stock stronger than most of us. They endure the unimaginable, day after day. Some endure it for years on end. And they press on – because that is what you do.
Sometimes it ends well, and some times it doesn’t. But while you are there there is no time to think, or to wonder. You must just press on.
That is the story that the 9th floor of MSKCC told me this morning, as we waited for preadmission testing.
Meghan had a 9 AM appointment and between blood work, and our meeting with the nurse, we had at least an hour to wait, and watch, and marvel, and wonder, and worry.
The biopsy is Tuesday. The results will be in by Thursday so they say.
Then, we can make a plan. They tell me they can get the thyroid removed in a few days if the biopsy is positive.
If it’s not cancer… get us home. And, if it is – GET IT OUT OF MY LITTLE GIRL!
She will have nothing to eat or drink after midnight Monday. She will be tired, and cranky, and hungry when we arrive on Tuesday. But she will get anesthesia like she asked, and the procedure will be much more humane.
I got a call this morning from Dr. S. The biopsy is scheduled for Tuesday at 12:45. Pleased to have it scheduled, quick math told me it would still be a week before we had a definitive answer. But at least I had the wisdom to shut my mouth and be grateful to have it scheduled.
My next question was about anesthesia. Had they decided to give it? In FNA (Fine Needle Aspiration) thyroid biopsies, anything more than a numbing lotion is uncommon. But Meghan had such TRAUMA from her FNA at another hospital in November of 2011. We had to push.
I had just told this child she could have cancer. I just told her she was likely looking at another surgery. She was unaffected. “I will have whatever surgery I need to. Just make sure I don’t have to be awake when they put those needles in my neck!”
All day I carry my phone everywhere. I literally put it down for 3 minutes and missed the call about the anesthesia. So the voicemail said, “We need Meghan at the hospital at 9AM tomorrow (Friday) to clear her for anesthesia.”
“When? What type? Why? I can get you a cardiologist report from December. I can be to my pediatrician in 30 minutes, and you just took blood on the 27th.”
I had pleaded for the anesthesia on her behalf. Now I would pay the price. Very careful not to take days off after my attendance debacle last year – I guess I will be at Sloan tomorrow, ensuring the anesthesia my kid asked for is in place. She doesn’t ask for much. Working hard on gratitude, I am relieved at least things are moving. Not on my schedule, but progress nonetheless.
So then my oncologists office called. They want me to see the surgeon. The surgeon we first talked about a month ago. The surgeon who had little more information than he had on December 7th after my MRI. The surgeon who insisted he needed the sonogram, but whose system at the hospital cannot upload it. No one thought to send me for another abdominal sono at their hospital – even though I asked. They would like me to see this surgeon at 10:30 Weds. They will have to have patience now. I have a kid to take care of first. If they were in such a rush I could have been healed by now.
So I am waiting still to hear from my car insurance carrier who somewhere in the midst of all this chaos decided I was totally responsible for the accident where I suffered a DIRECT HIT from a car who took no action to avoid me. Waiting to hear exactly who that letter of appeal gets addressed to.
All of these things that keep happening, keep me from seeing my Grandparents as often as I would like to. My heart weighs heavy. Time and stress are hard to manage.
Patience, I am convinced – is more than a virtue. It is down right necessary, and almost debilitating with exhaustion.
Patience for me is hearing, “It is likely your child has cancer,” and then WAITING to take care of it.
I get that in the scheme of things thyroid cancer grows slowly, and 2 weeks won’t make or break things. But this is my little girl we are talking about. May God bless me with the patience to get through the weekend.