Sunday, July 02, 2006

Little Miss, her Mama, and Things That Don't Happen to Young People, at Least That's What They Tell You

Little Miss had a lump at the base of her throat for a bit of time, but the doctor called it a goiter, tested for thyroid function, and left it at that. She was young, after all, and what goes wrong with the young? But her mama was dogged by the little knot in her gut that said something's wrong, even though she couldn't put her finger on what it was. So her mama pushed to the next step, and asked to be referred to a specialist.

Now this was a while ago, and the endocrinologist her insurance would cover was a good, if cautious, one. Little Miss' mama watched the screen anxiously as the ultrasound technician smeared goo all over Little Miss' throat and ran the probe over the lump. The technician put markers on the image that formed, markers that showed little nodules, several of them, in the image.

Her mama wasn't particularly scared at that point, because she'd read a pile o' info at Endocrineweb and knew most nodules were benign. When the endocrine Doc got a look at the image, he recommended they get another screen a year down the road, which is precisely what they did. Always follow the doctor's orders was the word from Little Miss' grandma, who had been a nurse back during the time of the Crimean War (well, not really that long ago, but sometimes it seems that way).

After looking at the second scan, the doctor didn't smile as much, and Little Miss' mama got a little more particularly scared. The doc said that one of the nodules was larger than the last time, and when Little MIss got back from college for the summer he'd like her to have a moment of torture, uh, no, what he really said was that he'd like her to have a fine needle biopsy of the nodule, just to make sure everything was ok.

Little Miss wasn't worried. Little Miss doesn't worry much, having the personality of a placid lake in the pines, accepting of the seasons that come her way. Mama's gut was ok for the most part, except for the tiny churn added to the sensation of having a knot down there. So she made sure the procedure was scheduled for June.

Little MIss asked her mama not to stay in the room while she had the biopsy, which is just as well. Some things you just don't want to watch. Little Miss told her mama that the doctor who had done the biopsy had said there was a nodule inside a cyst, and that he had drained the cyst and biopsied the hodule.

Well, now Mama was a wee bit more concerned, because she'd done more reading on Endocrineweb, and knew that this critter was something to be more concerned about. They waited for the endocrine doc to call and tell them everything was all right. They waited long enough for Mama to think all must be well, because if it was bad they'd call right away. She had just told her own mama this very thing when the cell phone rang. "Mama, I'll call you back, the doc is on the phone," she exclaimed, hanging up the land line.

Everyone knows that if a doctor calls and wants you to come to his office that afternoon, he's not the bearer of good news. So when that's precisely what Mama heard, a twist added itself to the churn which was attached to the knot in her gut. At precisely 2 p.m. Little Miss and Mama sat in his waiting room, Little Miss looking as perturbed as she ever gets, which is to say, not very perturbed at all. Without realizing it, Mama kept reading the same paragraph in the Readers Digest story over and over again.

The doc was as kind as he could be. The biopsy had been to two different labs to confirm the results, which is why it had taken so long. But the cells were "atypical, suggestive of but not 100% diagnostic" for throid cancer. The best kind of thyroid cancer, and the prognosis was good, but that ol' thyroid had to get out of there. The latter phrase was not his, of course, but that was what Little Miss and Mama knew he said in the middle of all the fancy words.

Little Miss looked a little more perturbed, and her mama's mind withdrew from the whole scene into a place where she could function and talk to the doctor but wasn't going to cry. Little Miss hated it when Mama cried.

It's just waiting now, waiting for the surgeon to see Little Miss. it's simply gratitude now, gratitude for living in the 21st Century and having doctors who can catch these things before they make for unexpected endings, medicines that can keep Little Miss functioning. But these things aren't supposed to happen to young people, people full of hope and dreams, people who carry their parent's dreams.

Yea, though we dream, the Lord directs our path.

4 comments:

larswife said...

Oh, Laurel! Keep us posted on Little Miss, please. She and her Mama are in our prayers - Larswife

Anonymous said...

We're praying for a full recovery.

Harry

Laurel1861 said...

Thanks, everyone. Your prayers are most appreciated.

We are still butting our heads up against the insurance wall, which deserves at least one or two of Pharoah's biblical plagues. But we saw one surgeon today, and will see another tomorrow (a specialist), and even if it ends up costing us ever so much more than we hoped, that little butterfly-shaped gland will be out of there as soon as possible.

I'm thinking the frogs are an appropriate plague, but the Lord hasn't provided them yet...

God bless,
Laurel

Mark Ivey said...

Our prayers are with her also.

Mark Godfrey