Sunday, July 16, 2006

We Have a Date...

July 31st is the date for Little Miss' surgery. Please storm the Gates of Heaven on her behalf, you who are my Kith, you who are my Kin.

God bless,
Laurel

Friday, July 14, 2006

And the Wheel of Fortune Stops at...

The last few weeks have been more than miserable for Little Miss' Mama, who has become convinced that the current health insurance system in the U S of A needs to be completely revamped. At first it felt like a merry-go-round, from insurance web site to phone calls to talking to the not-so-intelligent front desk ladies at multiple doctors' offices, back to insurance company phone calls, to consultations with our family practice doctor, general surgeons, ENT surgeons, etc., etc., on ad infinitum.

Little Miss' Mama was feeling pretty much like she'd tripped in a revolving door and was lying there on the floor with each of the rapidly rotating door panels hitting her in the head as it spun around. Now, this was a feeling she wasn't too fond of, if you know what I mean, and it was compounded by the dastardly heat wave here in the land of LaLa, where no one needs air conditioning because "California's weather is PERFECT!" Sure. Right. Tell that to Little Miss and her Mama laying in their beds sweating in the dark each night while the inadequate fans attempt to move the air around. Tell that to the dreams of disaster floating in Mama's head each night, the dreams where the worst qualified surgeon is the one doing the surgery on her baby with a kitchen implement looking something like a sharp-edged ice cream scoop. Nasty dreams, sleepless nights.

But perhaps the revolving door has changed into the Wheel of Fortune at last, because the ENT surgeon recommended she see the Famous Thyroid Surgeon at the Famous Cancer Center, and even managed to get an appointment with him the next day. When the poor peons had called the Famous Doctor's office last week, they had been told he wasn't accepting appointments until late fall. Guess you have to be in the old boy doctor's network to move heaven and earth like that, but Little Miss' Mama and Little Miss ain't complainin', no how, no way. The Famous Doctor took her case, and the surgery should take place soon enough to let Little Miss recuperate enough to start her classes on time this August.

So...the Wheel of Fortune seems to have settled in a slot Little Miss and her Mama need for now...

God bless,
Laurel

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.