The Masterplan-The ongoing story of my stroke/cancer

I now have an idea what may well be happening to me after an afternoon that saw me with someone with a scalpel at my throat while I dripped cold sweat…

Here’s where things were last time but as for today, best to start at the beginning…

This morning before I slowly walked to work (more on this in a second) I had a GP appointment. This was in lieu of my stroke clinic which had been double booked at the same time as an appointment at the ear, nose and throat (ENT) clinic. There I had my meds reviewed, doses upped and an interesting option laid open to me which is the option to take bariatric surgery to help speed up the weight loss and not just further reduce my risk of stroke, but to help me generally as with the possible treatments for my mass/cancer it’d be possibly useful.

For now I’ve declined. I had a look and it’s not especially risky, but I’m prepared to stick with more conventional means (dropped a stone in a month, and dear god, I’ve given up cheese! Do you understand the horrors of that dear readers?!?!) rather than go for surgery that is quite drastic.

Anyhow, once I’d picked up a huge supply of drugs (not the first time I’ve bought drugs next to the Old England pub in Bristol….) I got to work where my immediate work colleagues are being great, but the powers that be are frankly, cowardly, spineless arseholes. As I need to keep my blood pressure down and reduce my stress level which is another issue outwith of my hypertension I think I’ll call it a day on that subject, for now.

So the afternoon was another jolly trip to the ENT clinic where the doctor explained the masterplan. First a wee recap after a picture of some fluffy kittens as it’s a bit nasty in places from here on…

fluffykittens

When I was in hospital with my stroke they did a scan of my neck and a ‘mass’ was picked up. Another scan later in my stay by a specialist doctor was inconclusive so she stuck a needle in my neck to take a sample. That sample returned a result of positive for being a malignant cancer. Just before Easter another biopsy was done taking more of the mass out for testing, and with an MRI and CT scan of my neck the results came back negative.

So there was a meeting of doctors to decide the next move and this afternoon I was informed of it. I already knew of the Pet Scan I’m going for in Cheltenham tomorrow, but I wasn’t aware of the deep core biopsy they were going to perform on the mass, but hadn’t been booked in so my doctor decided to get it done there and then.

A deep core biopsy is when a needle removes one or more solid lumps of whatever tissue they’re looking at. The needle looks like this…

biopsyneedle

Our skin is actually incredibly tough, and the mass is not deep in my neck but it’s deep enough so the doctor had to make an incision in my neck (all under local anaesthetic), open up my neck slightly, shove the needle into the mass and take out samples from it’s core. This was something she did three times.

Now imagine not even being slightly prepared for this. So far one of the things that’s helped me get through all this is being pre-warned so i can research it online, understand it and not be scared of the unknown. Something you can’t do if you’re told in an hours time someone is going to cut your neck open and shove a huge needle in it!

Of course I was understandably terrified but it needed to be done even if I did instantly break into having cramps, feeling nauseous and breaking into a cold sweat that left the pillow soaked in my fear. Half an hour later the doctor had got what she needed and currently my neck looks like this…

IMG_20160419_174016[1]

Nice isn’t it?

The plan is to study the biopsy samples, with tomorrow’s Pet Scan and see what the mass is doing near my thyroid gland. They can take the mass out tomorrow but they don’t want to take it out, see that it’s actually something that’s related to my thyroid and then have to go back into my neck to take out my thyroid in what is pretty evasive surgery, not to mention risky as I’m on blood thinning tablets to help me stop having another stroke. So rather than take loads of time doing one operation after another this potentially would be two in one if that’s what comes out of the scans and tests.

Removing the thyroid doesn’t come without risks, and they’d prefer to see if they can just remove the mass and then treat me with drugs. This isn’t a life threatening solution and would be vastly better than having it confirmed it’s a cancer., it just means another drug I have to take for the rest of my life. Oh, and a kewl scar of course.

And that’s it. A nice day out in Cheltenham tomorrow awaits, well, actually, two hours in a clinic being fed with water and injected with dyes while lying in a scanner awaits, but I’m at least getting to the point where one way or another I’ll know what’s in my neck and I can maybe get on with my life.

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