Monday, January 28, 2008

Less of me

Tomorrow morning at 7:30 p.m., if all goes according to plan, a surgeon will remove part of my thyroid — and, if he finds cancer, he'll take out the rest of it as well.

I would like to thank everyone who has written to let me know that they are praying for me and for the doctors and other staff at the hospital. Your prayers are buoying me.

I don't want to exaggerate the seriousness of the operation; it is a common procedure, and patients typically recover from it very well. Nonetheless, it's stressful to have it ahead of me, and I'm glad for all your encouragement.

One e-mail from reader Daniel Kane, a medical physicist and fellow at the Westchester Institute, was particularly memorable:

Consider it part of the plastic surgery that will give you the long neck you always wanted. While no doubt the yuck factor is high, it is not a big deal. Or as the beloved Fr. Groschel said in the NYT last Sunday - "They said I would never live. I lived. They said I would never think. I think. They said I would never walk. I walked. They said I would never dance, but I never danced anyway." Or, as I tell all my patients, you have just as many days now as you did the day before your diagnosis. Certainly, what is a surprise to you is not to Christ.
* * *

Today, a nurse called me with a long list of questions about past medical conditions and so on.

When she got to the question about whether I ever had anesthesia, I felt compelled to warn her: The last time I went under, for an eye operation in late 2000, a nurse told me afterwards that, while I was knocked out, I kicked her in the chest.

The nurse on the phone chuckled. "I'll put down, 'May get agitated under anesthesia."

I'll be spending the night in the hospital tomorrow, so I'll write again when I'm home on Wednesday. God bless!