Tuesday, March 31, 2009

6weeks out of surgery...

It has been 6 weeks since my last surgery and I still can’t talk. Some days it bothers me more than others. I guess today is one of those days. If one more person says “Oh, you poor thing, the pollen has gotten to you” or “who in the world stole your voice???” or “bless your heart! You sound terrible!” I just smile and say “yeah, it’s the pits.” Occasionally I will tell someone that I have had surgery on my vocal cords. Rarely do I tell them that I have had surgery because I have cancer on my vocal cords.
I guess the hardest thing is when I run into someone who does not see me often but has kept up with my medical condition. The last “news” was that there was no cancer in my lymph nodes and that the cancer on my cord had regressed to CIS. These people are all beaming “Oh! It is sooooo good to see you! I was so excited to hear your wonderful news!!!” The news is wonderful, but not the same as being cured. I am not cured….not yet. Usually when these same people hear my voice, their excitement wanes. It is obvious that my voice is…well, terrible. The people that actually know me well enough to ask are starting to ask “is it going to get any better? What does your doctor say?” They asked this before, but I told them it was too soon to tell…they are asking again. Someone told me today that she thinks my voice is actually getting worse.
This is a hard week…the week of my next appointment…the days leading up to seeing the good Doctor. I go in to see him on Friday. Not that I mind seeing him. He’s great. I like going in because “everybody knows my name” kinda my own special version of Cheers….or not. I am not looking forward to going in because I know my voice is terrible. I know that I sound demon possessed and I know that he told me when this all started that “polyphony” means that there is something on the cord. I suppose it could be scar tissue. I suppose it could be a scab or something. But I also know that I sounded like this, though not exactly the same, after Christmas and the January biopsy was the one that landed me in the OR getting my neck dissected because I had officially been diagnosed with “cancer”. I also know that there were 6 weeks out from the first surgery when he told me “your voice should be crystal clear by now”. Of course, I also know that this last surgery was MUCH more invasive than the first. This is a hard week because I don’t think I want to hear what Dr S is going to say. I don’t think I want to see that same look on his face when he says, “Well, we won’t know until we get in there and see what we’ve got”.
When I did hair replacement at Apollo, I would “fuss” at my cancer patients because they didn’t want to go in to see their doctors. I would tell them “going to the doctor doesn’t give you cancer. Either you already have it or you don’t. Going to the doctor just makes it go away.” Oh! If I gave that speech once, I gave it 100 times. Now, if I did not so desperately want my voice back, I would not want to go to the doctor myself.
The thing about cancer is...at least in my case...you can't feel it. I realize that I have CIS, which is not the same as full blown cancer, but I don't feel bad, and I didn't FEEL bad when I had progressed to invasive carcinoma. I'm not sick. If my voice were not completely terrible, no one would even know there was anything wrong with me. So now I am beginning to understand what my clients were feeling when they told me "I'm not going to go to the doctor until i have to go". If you are feeling well, you really don't want to go in, because you know that the doctor might tell you that you are "sick".
I guess that's one of those things that a person can't understand until they've walked this road...
At any rate, Dr Schweinfurth is looming in the distance, as is my next surgery and subsequent pathology report. Maybe I'll follow the statistics now and will have regressed to dysplasia. Maybe not. Either way, this is the road i am on. I am not going to be like Jonah and sit under a vine and fuss and fume because i don't think God is acting right. This is the road I am on and I am going to do what I can to glorify Him every step of the way....some days more than others I guess.
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