Talk about a cliff hanger…

I sure picked a great time to go on a blogging hiatus, didn’t I? Needless to say, I am alive and my biopsy was nothing. Why did I stop writing, you ask? Well, I guess you could say my now very different life got the best of me, and I became depressed, and uninspired, and generally not-feeling-very-creative at all.

Fast forward 8 months (and 25 extra micrograms of synthetic thyroid hormone), and I’ve not only worked for, gotten sick of, and quit a certain corporate coffee giant, but I’ve managed not to acquire any new medical ailments! As long as you don’t count the chronic hives that have developed due to my still fluctuating levels of thyroid hormones. Oh, well. The name of this blog wouldn’t very well make much sense if it weren’t for these little joys in life…

Small Time Surgery

This morning (and we’re talking crack o’ dawn), I dragged myself, braless, to my excisional biopsy appointment. It involved a light sedation, another fine pair of no-slip socks, and a little bit of Sesame Street to get me through the waiting part. My favorite part is when my surgeon wrote her initials on my breast with a Sharpie so as not to forget which one was the one in question. By 9am, I was in the recovery room discussing painting living rooms and the Bronx Zoo with my nurse. I got graham crackers and coffee as they read me my list of DOs and DON’Ts, and I was on my way. It should take a week for the pathology to come back, but my surgeon said it didn’t look like much anyway.

I’ve rigged up a real nice ice situation with the hospital-issued refillable ice pack. I’ve got a loop tied at one end that I wear around my neck, while I sling the bag over my left breast, hands-free. It’s like a giant, very cold necklace. I’m not looking forward to bedtime tonight, however. I’m a stomach sleeper. It’s going to be awkward…

Creative Anachronism and Salty Sea Dogs

The past two weekends have been amazing. Last Sunday, my husband and I met up with one of my college pals for a day of medieval frivolity at the New York Renaissance Faire. Donning my flowing skirts and last year’s big ren faire purchase of a blue and purple striped underbust corset, I headed back in time to the Renaissance that never was and always will be. The faire served our favorite brand of hard cider, so it’s already good news upon our first pub stop. The weather was perfect, and the food delectable! Sterling Forest, NY is a bit of a dead zone for cell service, so my phone’s battery ran out of juice quickly, thus barring me from more evidence of our hearty feast. But trust me, it was awesome. Steak on a Stake, fish and chips, a platter of “boar,” chocolate-covered bacon…I’m pretty sure none of these, in fact, existed during the Renaissance…Europe hadn’t quite mastered deep-frying yet, but I digress.

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I realize now, as an adult, that most events or attractions are really just paying an entrance fee to go in and pay more money. As I child, you didn’t notice it as much, since it was Mom and Dad paying. Sci-fi conventions, Renaissance Faires, tourist hot spots…Pay to get in, and then buy stuff! But lemme tell ya, I love it!

I noticed this same thing on Friday while we were visiting Provincetown, MA.  All I wanted to do was constantly buy fudge and eat it. We were on Cape Cod this weekend visiting an old family friend: clinical psychologist by day, badass fishing boat captain by night. My father frequents the Cape to partake in crazy awesome deep sea fishing adventures which sometimes end with a seafood bounty, sometimes end with a fishing lure stuck in the forehead. This weekend’s excursion saw a respectable haul of bluefish, some of which was turned into a delightful ceviche. Saturday was spent on the boat and the beach, including one ill-advised, but totally worth-it dip in the ocean by yours truly.  It was heavenly.








Catching up with old friends, soaking up sun and indulging in culinary delights were the themes these past two weekends. I hope it doesn’t stop here!

Mammo-, sono- and other such o-grams

The saga continues as I follow-up on my breast lump. My new specialist believes we should err on the side of cutting that sucker out, especially if my newly prescribed mammogram and sonogram don’t yield imaging sufficient for ultra-sound-guided biopsy. *Gulp*

So the day of the mammo/sono, as it is wont to be called, arrives and I await my tests in the secondary, fancy waiting room for breast imaging patients. My fellow waiters are all at least 10 years my senior; one of them has a daughter 3 years older than I. They start talking about how easy kids have it today, and how they can’t believe how they all have cellphones and never talk to each other anymore.  Nice black slacks and sensible shoes peek out from their medical gowns, unlike my skinny jeans and pink and blue converse. Don’t get me wrong, I do own sensible shoes. I just didn’t wear them to my mammogram…

Everyone’s heard what mammograms are like; many women have experienced the sensation. But most women my age don’t know first hand what it’s like. Here’s my take on the experience:

  1. It is made painfully clear that they’re really just pieces of meat. You know what it sounds like when you drop a boneless chicken breast on your plastic cutting board? It’s like that. Except then the technician needs to smush it around a little to get the positioning right. Maybe she needs to pick it up and move it slightly; maybe there will be some flopping? Who knows, but it takes a minute to get your meat bags in the right place.
  2. Yes. It does hurt. I mean, we can take it right? Sure, but that doesn’t make it suck less. They’re squeezing your boob in between two very strong, very flat pieces of plastic! I’m sorry, not squeezing: compressing. “A little more compression…ok, hold your breath!”

So that happened. Followed by a gooey 20 minutes with the ultrasound probe. I swear to god, you can never get all that gel off. Some even got on my purse. Awesome.

After much sonogramming, nothing came up in the imaging to support the palpable mass in my breast. The same thing happened to my mother after a mammogram and sonogram. “Healthy breast tissue, go home.” But then it was cancer. Whoops. Knowing this about my family history, the response to my imaging now is “Healthy breast tissue. Let’s cut it out!”

And so another chapter unfolds in the medical journal of my life. Stay tuned for a less medical update in my next entry about the NY Renaissance Faire!

I made it!

So at the height of my back pain this spring, probably around the time I was dragging myself with only my arms out of the bathroom after throwing myself off the toilet because it was too painful to stand up, I convinced myself that I was cursed. Let’s back it up to August 2012. Since it was my 27th birthday, I thought a fun theme would be “The 27 Club” and everyone attending would have to dress up as their favorite member, i.e. Amy Winehouse, Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, or Janis Joplin (my choice). Although there was not a huge turnout, it was a load of fun and I had the perfect glasses to top off my ensemble. But as you know (or if you don’t click the link mentioned earlier), the members of the 27 club all met their untimely demise before the age of 28. And so, after several weeks of excruciating pain, suffering, and the as of yet undiagnosed but potential cancer, I was sure that I had pissed off the gods of tasteful party themes with my off-color yet clever 27th birthday, and that they had it in for me as punishment for such a macabre birthday party theme.

As luck would have it, however, I made it. My 28th birthday was one week ago today, and I am not dead. In fact, I feel pretty good, physically. Emotionally, it’s still a bummer to not have a job but c’est la vie. I’ll keep workin’ on it.

Beauty and Love

Two of my best friends got married this weekend. It was perfection. The weather was gorgeous, the wine was flowing, the mason jars were personalized and the company was spectacular.

Photograph by Sylvie Rosokoff

It’s beautiful to see so much love: amongst family, amongst friends, between soul mates. And it’s beautiful to see the myriad of ways in which we as humans express love (not to mention the handful of doggies that made appearances over the weekend). I watched not only two people create a more perfect union, but several families. It was phenomenal the communal bond this group already had before the vows were even exchanged.

This was also the fourth wedding I have attended this year, and it’s most certainly not the last! Although 2013 has been a real monster for my health and career, it’s been a joyous year for love.

Laughter is the Best Medicine…

…unless you’ve had throat surgery. In that case, it’s counter-indicated.

Photograph by Sylvie Rosokoff

This photograph was taken at approximately 12 am on Wednesday, about 11 hours after I had said good-bye to my thyroid forever.

Since I’ve proven thus far to be terrible at keeping up a blog with any sort of regularity, allow me to back track and bring us up to speed.

My surgery was postponed since some further suspicions arose after an ultrasound of my lymphnodes. After 6 more biopsies, they determined that I definitely had cancer in my thyroid, but not in my lateral lymphnodes. And then, I got a PB&J cupcake at Magnolia Bakery, so the day was definitely not a bust.

And so it was determined that on Tuesday, July 23rd, I would have a Total Thyroidectomy with a Central Compartment Lymphadanectomy (…I think). And on Tuesday morning, with my entourage in tow, I headed into New York Presbyterian, donned my No-Skid socks and mismatched snowflake jammies and kicked cancer’s ass.

I woke up from the procedure, swollen, sore and slurring, and welcomed my little cup of ice chips and my two visitors at a time in the recovery room. They had warned me before they put me under that I would wake up with an itchy face, but I SHOULDN’T TOUCH IT because I wouldn’t be aware enough to avoid scratching my corneas or some other such accidental injury. And I was vigilant. None of my family members knew what I was talking about when I kept mentioning my face and my hands, and eventually I was able to instruct my husband to scratch my nose when I don’t recall even feeling itchy. 

My biggest disappointment from recovery was that my mom promised there would be juice and cookies. But all I got was ice chips.

After several hours, I was wheeled up to my room: a $6,000 per night, 8×10 box with no shower but a gorgeous view of the East River. I got a welcome kit with body butter and fancy mouthwash, and a remote control for the TV, but if I wanted to adjust the bed, I had to contort myself to reach the buttons located above my head. My husband got his own cot and my mother, father, and mother-in-law stood by my side as a parade of nurses, residents and doctors came and went. When I tried to pee, I couldn’t and cried, remembering the pain of the catheter I had to get when I was 16 after I had had knee surgery. I have never been so happy as when I tinkled that pathetic little first drop later that evening.

Two of my best friends came late that night for a visit, after I had drowsily viewed an episode of MTV’s Catfish and Drunk History. They brought me temporary tattoos and took my picture and we laughed and I kept dozing off and it was wonderful.

The night progressed, and as my anesthesia wore off, my drugs got stronger. My husband was able to sleep through most of the hourly visits by residents and nurses, and I continued to urinate with great zeal. They brought me a veritable feast for breakfast; I couldn’t even make it to the vanilla yogurt!

Since then, it’s been baby steps and ice packs and napping with the cat. And I’ve made it through almost the entirety of 30 Rock. I even left the house yesterday to watch my friends and family empty our moving pods into my parents’ basement! All in all, I’m recovering quite well, and I look forward to further recovery, and much more bloggery.