STRESS……..what stress?!!!

Well, it’s always difficult to know where to start when it comes to explaining what’s going on in our lives here. So, I will jump in and just start somewhere. We met with the ENT surgeon on Monday, 5/15 to discuss the nodules on Tim’s thyroid that were found incidentally on his PET CT back in Feb. Tim wound up needing an ultrasound and then a needle biopsy. Now, it was a consult with the surgeon due to that biopsy outcome.As he is reading Tim’s records, I hear him say that his biopsy and then the advanced molecular testing done on the cells were both positive. I was like, “WHOA, back up a second. What do you mean by “positive?” Well, it turns out that Tim’s MM specialist was trying to…………..well, I suppose I don’t know exactly what she was trying to do, stay positive, I guess, not be the bearer of bad news that was not completely confirmed, maybe, but, this guy proceeds to tell us that Tim’s testing revealed he probably has thyroid cancer. If not, he has something that is quite like it and still requires removal of the thyroid. TERRIFIC. This news hit us right between the eyeballs. I had specifically asked his MM doc if any of these tests are indicative of cancer and she said NO, that all they showed was a pre-cancerous condition with high likelihood to become cancer later. (Insert loud, game-show-style wrong answer buzzer here)  I felt so bad for Tim. I already knew that this was bothering him, having to deal with something else on top of trying to adapt to life back on treatment. The doc felt bad. Tim said, “don’t worry, this isn’t our first, ‘you’ve got cancer’ talk.” I chimed in, “yeah, been there, done that.” We moved on. So, On June 23rd, he will have surgery. Doc plans to remove only half the thyroid and do a frozen section screening while Tim is still under anesthesia. He plans on leaving the other side, despite a small nodule already being there, if the screening does not show cancer, because 70% of people don’t even need synthetic thyroid supplementation if they retain half of the gland. If the cells do show cancer, he will remove the rest. Unfortunately, even if the frozen section is negative and they leave the right side, the pathology on what they removed could still come back a week later and show cancer cells and Tim will have to go for round 2 of this surgery, and, even if not, will need follow-up on this right-side nodule forever. Yippee-kay-yay. I almost feel like, just take the whole thing out, give him the pills and let’s be done with it.

The truth is, I have not even cried about this. I suppose there are a few reasons. Firstly, over the last 10 years, I have had to be SO strong, SO many times, I do not cry easily anymore. I seem to have learned to shut down my emotions when I have to be sharp and am needed. One of the results of that is that the emotions do come and hit me at other, unexpected times, I suppose when my guard is down. The other thing is that, in the whole picture, as bad as this is and, obviously, it would throw most people into complete crisis mode, this is not the biggest threat to us right now. Hopefully, if all goes well, this will be removed and, even if it is cancer, he will be cured of it and just take his Synthroid pills every day. If only all cancer stories ended that way. I have to be strong for Tim too. He’s fed up lately, with dealing with MM, dealing with work. He’s just had it. Truth be told, I’ve had it all too and am not feeling especially strong and sunshiney. But, I have to buck up for him and forge ahead. I can’t make him worried about me or feel like he can’t confide in me.

So, what else? The first few weeks of Liv being home were stressful. Firstly, she doesn’t know he’s back on treatment so it’s hard keeping that secret. Then, I told her about the thyroid to explain all these appointments we’re going to, but, she doesn’t know the latest that was told to us. Also, she was being lackadaisical about finding a job, which was ticking us off big time. Thankfully, she just found one, waitressing of all things, something I talked to her about several times, and we know a local restaurant owner that would hire her, two actually, and she always declined. She just started working at this little café over the NY border that she goes to sometimes with her friends. She is making twice what her friends are making and seems to like it OK, so far. I am grateful for that. We needed some good news.

BUT, this came on the heels of some pretty bad news that had Tim and I sounding off at her something bad. Just a few days after this appointment where we heard the dreaded “C word” again, I found out that I read the wrong line on her final college grades report. I read the cumulative GPA line instead of the current semester GPA. AND, LO AND BEHOLD, all that sorority nonsense and staying out at parties until the wee hours and such dropped her GPA an entire point, from 3.8 the first semester to 2.86 the second. She did not make the freshman honor society for the 2nd semester, nor the Dean’s list, AND, HERE’S THE KICKER: Her 15 thousand dollar per year scholarship requires a 3.0 GPA. Now, the kid made it this year because they go by the cumulative but we read her the riot act for doing exactly what we told her not to do, which was putting her social life ahead of her schoolwork. She has been warned. We will not, WE CAN NOT keep her in that school without her scholarship. She has one semester to prove that she can get her priorities straight or we are pulling the plug on her dream school and she’s gonna get a dose of tough love that will not be forgotten soon or ever. We needed this like we needed a hole in the head right now. We were furious. It’s not her brain. The kid is smart. It’s that she’s not driven or interested in academics. I get that. I was very much like that myself at her age. but, this is the difference, I did not have my parents paying 30 grand a year on college. She does.

SO, here we are still wondering if we did the right thing by sending her to the school of her choice instead of one of the other more affordable options we had, and this was the thanks we got. In her defense, she does not know what we are currently dealing with here so she cannot be blamed for that part of it, BUT, she is to blame for doing what she did, which is exactly what we warned her, begged her not to do to us. She did not hold up her end of the bargain and she will not do this to us and get away with it. I know many people who did not rein their kids in and wound up paying for 5-6 years for them to get a 4-year degree. That won’t happen here. She will fly right or find herself back home, commuting to a local college, at a much lower cost to us. Period.

So, as for me, well, all my medical issues are flared up. Stress will do that to ya. Asthma, IBS through the roof. I am tired all the time. I try to pick myself up by the boot straps but it’s hard. Very few good things going on to outweigh the bad things. Life is out of balance and has been for WAY too long. All work and worry, no play makes for a stressed and bummed out girl. I feel like every time I put out one fire, several more pop up.

I think I need a bigger hose.