And somehow, we’ve come back full circle, landing once again at the Washington Hospital Center. It’s home to one of the best thyroid cancer centers in the country, and I’m very thankful that my doctors are among the leaders of the center. Not so happy, it goes without saying, that I’m seeing them frequently enough these days that I can make all the turns it takes to get to the hospital with my eyes closed.
My newest go-round started innocently enough — or as innocently as periodic testing for recurrent cancer can be. I know the routine by now. Day 1, drive through rush-hour traffic to the far northwest corner of D.C., troll for parking in the crowded garage, pee in a cup, make a fist, watch blood flow into several vials, get a shot worth a whopping $1,500 injected into my hip. Day 2, drive through the city again, troll for for parking again, watch the nurse fill the syringe with a second $1,500 injection, get shot in the other hip. Take my butt, now worth almost $3,000, back to the office. Three days later, do it all over again, minus the Tiffany-priced injections.
Then I waited. And worked. And waited.
While I waited, I got my routine neck sonogram. Except this time, amid all the clicking and the pressing and the measurements, the tech told me she saw something. A nodule. One that hadn’t been there three months earlier.
Many months of clean visits and “see you again in six months” had lulled me into a relaxed state when I reclined on the ultrasound table. But that Friday, at 11:30 a.m., my Type A self came rushing back, joined by a racing heart and sinking stomach.
More waiting. And then the call I knew was coming — the bloodwork didn’t look good; the nodule looked like a possible recurrence.
And so tomorrow, we’ll get up early, I’ll search in my bottle of Valium for that now long-gone sense of relaxation, and we’ll take the turns that will bring us back to the hospital.