“Basically, my radiation ate your thyroid.” It’s the radiation oncologist. “Actually, it usually happens before now.” Cancer…she just keeps on giving.
Do I cheer mine lasted longer under the radiative onslaught that devours female thyroids? Can we get a hip-hip? Actually, I’m happy with the news. As all the cancer girls know, when something is amiss, we journey right back to the scene of the crime.
For months, I’ve had an obsessive love affair with my bed. I drag myself from her warmth each morning and spend half the workday wishing to be enveloped again. The hitch? No matter how much I sleep, she sings her siren song. Read: A sudden love of bedtime and outlier level knowledge of Netflix fare is not normal. Doc says sleeping the same amount as the felines is probably a sign. Who knew?
And the tears. I’ve cried more in the past six months than in years newborn through five. Cry at the grocery store. Cry in the car. Cry over abused animals. Cry over FOMO. I know, right? Suddenly I’m the middle school girl tallying slights, perceived mean girls and injustices hurled my way. And lashing out. Under my breath of course, I haven’t turned barbarian. Not yet anyway. Turns out, ragged, jagged emotional swings fall under thyroid’s ravages. As do hot flashes, headaches, irritability and dry skin.
I have (had) great skin. Some might even say dewy if they were so inclined. New facial lines add to my irritability and give me a headache. No amount of lotion helps so I go for fragrance. I may be wrinkly but I smell good. Advil contacted me for its frequent flyer program. Doc Radiology asks about decreased libido and I laugh aloud.
“That’s right,” he smiles. “You don’t want to date. Maybe there’s a reason why.” Perhaps I’m too busy with headaches, sleeping and mainlining Advil to care.
Then he hits the jackpot. “How about brain fog?” Ding, ding, ding. Winner, winner, chicken dinner. It’s been the dirty little secret of 2019. This fog goes beyond entering a room and forgetting what I went in for or having no idea where my keys or sunglasses are. Sunglasses are on top of the car, duh. Along with the empty iced coffee I took to the office. Did I turn off that coffeepot?
This is moving from one computer screen to another and not remembering the search. Or, God forbid, forgetting what’s on my daily list. For those of us who enjoy our OCD, we’re not having fun.
“What did you think was happening?” Doc asks.
“Really? I thought I was just getting…old,” say I and glance about the room ensuring we are alone. I’ve forgotten.
“Nope. It’s thyroid.”
“What do we do?”
“Take a pill.”
“Really? It’s that easy?”
“How fast will it work?”
“A week you’ll see a bit of improvement. By two to three weeks, you’ll be back to your old self. If we get the dose right.”
Four days later, I lay awake chatting with Tommy Bahama, the tabby cat perched on my pillow and realize I’m not drifting off. “Could it be?” I ask the cat. He purrs and says, “Good God I hope so. You’re taking up space here.”