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February 21, 2013

Something is not right.

IMG_0270I don’t imagine I touch my neck very often, but somehow yesterday while I was eating breakfast, I happened to discover a very large lump on my throat. “Something is not right,” I realized, in Miss Clavel style, and it was an interesting realization because I spend as much as any woman does examining my body for lumpy things, and being that bodies are quite lumpy in and of themselves, I’d always wondered how you’d know when you found a real one. But it’s like love, I guess, and orgasms. I got up from the table and announced that I had googling to do. I kept googling to a minimum as you always should whenever anything is actually wrong, and made an appointment with my doctor. She saw me later in the afternoon, and couldn’t believe I hadn’t noticed the lump before. But then, as I’ve stated, I don’t touch my neck very often. The lump, she says, is on my thyroid, and feels more like a cyst than a nodule (and therefore, hopefully, less likely to contain nasty things). It is probably huge because I am pregnant, and pregnant bodies don’t do anything half way. She told me I am not to worry. I have an ultrasound next week which will confirm just what the lump contains. It is likely we won’t have to worry about what to do about it until after the baby is born. She said, “You’ve got bigger fish to fry anyway” (ie having a baby, who is, I am grateful to say, bigger than the lump).

I am writing about this here not be melodramatic, but because the more I’ve talked about it, the more ordinary and okay matters have seemed. It helped considerably when I realized that Betty Draper too had had a lump on her thyroid and that she was fine. (I also had a funny conversation with my mom about how we’d tried desperately to have me diagnosed with thyroid problems when I was a teenager, but it turned out that  I was just fat because I went through entire tubs of cheez-whiz in a weekend. There was, sadly, no other excuse.) I am writing about this here really to be the opposite of melodramatic, because keeping my anxieties to myself would only make me crazy and because the likelihood of everything being fine is as such that being a brave, desperate martyr isn’t really called for. There is sort of a script for these sorts of situations, in which I start imagining my children growing up without me, planning my own funeral, and things being as they are, following this script would be more self-indulgent than anything else. We will save the panic and melodrama for when it’s really required. And while it’s easier to follow the script, really, because it’s a script, it’s not a useful script. It is always helpful to remember that one is not a character in a television drama. It is always better to face troubles as they are, as they arrive. To not jump so far into the future. To do otherwise is a waste of a life.

And so, onward. This post resonated with me”:  “I want to be strong. I think I am strong. But sometimes I wonder, at what point does “strength” become “unwillingness to appear weak”?”  But then we’re all constructed of various strengths and weaknesses, aren’t we? We’re all vulnerable, and sometimes that vulnerability is the clearest sign we have that the world and everything we love in it is real.

Update: It occurs to me that this is a situation for which Caroline Woodward’s and Julie Morstad’s Singing Away the Dark comes in handy.

Update 2: I am feeling far less morbid and dramatic a few days later. Looking forward to an ultrasound this week that will confirm that all will be well. And in the meantime, are people ever kind. Thank you for your kind comments and emails, for tracking down second opinions, and offering to refer me to your thyroid specialist doctor dad. I sure do have some fine people looking out for me. And it’s much appreciated. xo

8 thoughts on “Something is not right.”

  1. m says:

    I had been wondering what the banana split was consoling and I had a bad feeling, a banana-split, especially one that elaborate and delicious looking was not a run-of-the-mill consolation.

    I am sending love and health your way, and perhaps some cheez-whiz, if that’s still your thing. xoxo

    1. Kerry says:

      M: Truly, the banana split came before the lump. (I don’t do cryptic messages on my blog). The banana split was just because. Just because in many ways, I’ve not come so far from that cheez-whiz guzzling teenager.

  2. Stuart says:

    “…I start imagining my children growing up without me…”

    We could get them both adopted and then run away to somewhere warm and tropical…

  3. Rebecca says:

    Oh, dear–so sorry to hear. As a person whose body manifests decoy illnesses on an annual basis, I know what you’re going through. Take good care of yourself, and accept all hugs.

  4. m says:

    That’s good–both the not doing cryptic messages and enjoying a banana split just because. I guess it was the title ‘consolation’ that had me worried. Regardless, I hope that means you enjoyed your banana split without worry, and I think you are very wise to face troubles as they arise rather jump too far into the future.

    I still send love and good health, and perhaps an extra banana split, too. Just because.

  5. Sending happy and healthy thoughts your way!

  6. saleema says:

    It’s wonderful that you were already able to see your doctor for some reassurance, with a test very soon. Sending hugs of the virtual kind.

  7. Sara says:

    Sending good thoughts, Kerry.

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