I had to have blood drawn today.
By all accounts, it was a routine blood draw, due six weeks after the most recent dosage change of Synthroid, my thyroid replacement medication. But because I’m also due to see my endocrinologist next week — for, by all accounts, a routine, regular visit — the three standard blood tests I always have to check my thyroid hormone levels included a fourth, which I have only a couple of times a year: thyroglobulin.
Thyroglobulin. My cancer marker test. The one that sends a shiver down my back and puts an immediate lump in my throat whenever I see it on the lab request form.
For thyroid cancer patients, the goal is to have an “undetectable” thyroglobulin level. But in a certain portion of patients — me included — thyroglobulin never goes undetectable. In our cases, the doctors are watching the trend line: is it rising? If so, how quickly? We watch, and wait. And watch again. And wait some more.
There’s no indication that there’s anything to worry about. My most recent neck sonogram was good, and my thyroglobulin has been close to my lowest level ever.
But, still. The shiver down my back, and the lump in my throat. They were there as I printed out the lab forms, as I bundled Katie up for the ride to the lab, as I impatiently waited to have my blood drawn.
And then, we were back home. Nothing to do but wait for next week’s appointment and the lab results. Which, I know now, after so many months and years of this process, will also come with the release of a giant breath that I won’t have even realized I was holding in.
This time, though, I got home and looked down. At my feet: a baby, sleeping soundly in her carseat after the quick trip out. I smiled, and felt some of that relieved breath escape, so thankful that seven-plus years later, I’m still here, that this disease didn’t keep me from knowing her and her brother.
The lump in my throat was still there, but this time it came not with a shiver, but with a happy tear.
Update 02.02.15: Happy news! Test results came back today, and for the first time ever, my thyroglobulin level dropped to undetectable. That was a BIG sigh of relief.