8/8/19

And so this week’s moment of happiness despite the news.

So what the heck do you do? What do you do when you have a week where:

*a horrible shooting occurs in El Paso, killing 22 and injuring 26, and

*24 hours later, another horrible shooting in Dayton, killing 10 and injuring 27, and

*fingers were pointed and blame was laid, rants and lectures abounded and

*I realized I could no longer describe these shootings as unimaginable, because they are as common as running to the grocery store for a gallon of milk, and

*a routine ultrasound of my thyroid showed two “highly suspicious nodules” and I have to have a biopsy to see if I have thyroid cancer.

I am two years past the breast cancer diagnosis, the biopsies, the MRI, the surgery. I’m not quite two years past the radiation; that anniversary hits in September.

So it’s been a rough week. And isn’t it funny that, while I sat on my third floor deck and cried, wondering how I could send my daughter off to her first semester of college, loaded down with books and coffee and ramen noodle soup and anxiety about her mother, wondering if this would affect the retreat I have planned for myself in the beginning of September, wondering if this would affect the launch of my latest book and any events that are the result, another thought that bubbled up was What in the world am I going to write for my Moment Of Happiness this week?

Some weeks, I really have to search. But this week, it turned out, I really had to listen.

First, the story behind the thyroid. I was a sophomore in college when a nodule was discovered. I was put into a special room, swallowed radioactive pills, and then climbed on a table while they ran some sort of magic wand over my throat. This showed that the nodule was not cancer, and the doctors decided I was hypothyroid, and they put me on levothyroxine. Within six months, the nodule disappeared. After I married and I wanted to have a child, I went off the med on the advice of a doctor. In 1993, a doctor discovered my nodule grew back and decided I needed surgery. The left half of my thyroid was removed and the nodule declared benign. My levels have always remained normal, and so I was never put on synthetic thyroid hormone, despite outward signs of being hypothyroid again. Around 2007, a doctor discovered the nodules grew back on the left side. A biopsy was done and they were benign, and so the doctors adopted a wait-and-see attitude. In 2017, the day my mammogram tanked, I also had my routine thyroid ultrasound and at that time, everything was the same. Now, the nodules are “highly suspicious”.

All of which leaves me wondering why the hell they didn’t just take the whole stupid thyroid when they took half of it. But here I am.

So back to listening.

When I was given the results of the ultrasound, I was told that I would receive a phone call from the hospital’s radiation department, pre-registering me for the biopsy. So I waited. The first attempt, I missed because I was meditating. I swore and snarled, thus negating the positive effects of meditation. But then, in the evening, the call came in and I answered. An uncertain male voice stuttered a bit, then asked if I was Kathleen Giorgio. Yeah, I am.

“Hi,” he said. “This is PreHealth Care, calling to pro-register you for your thyroid biopsy.”

It was supposed to be PROHealth Care, calling to PRE-register me.

I have no idea why this mistake struck me so funny, but I began to laugh. In between guffaws, I said, “God, wouldn’t pre-health care be great? Then none of us would get sick. And I’m happy they sent a pro to register me.”

“Oh, dear lord,” he said, and then he began to laugh too.

It took about fifteen minutes for me to answer his few questions.  Laughter struck us helpless. When he asked me what kind of “assurance” I had, instead of “insurance”, we both were out for the count. “I have no assurance whatsoever!” I howled.

Finally, the questions were answered and we both took deep steadying breaths. “Thank you,” he said.

“You’re welcome,” I answered.

“No,” he said. “I mean thank you. Today was my first day and I was so nervous. You were the first call I made on my own. And I blew it right out of the gate. Thank you so much for laughing and not being angry or impatient.”

“Hey,” I said. “Thank you for being human and screwing up. You were the happiest moment of my day today. Probably even of my week.”

And there he was.

And yes, that helps. Despite. Anyway.

(Biopsy on 8/14 at 11:00 a.m.)

Art piece by artist Jeff Seymour on my office wall. Pretty much what this feels like right now.

2 Replies to “8/8/19”

  1. Wonderfully touching. Sometimes I don’t want to believe that just changing the way I think can really do anything. Yet, then I remember the moment of happiness project. I remember how things have been for you over the last few years. It helps me believe. It helps me hope. Thank you for that.

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