It’s been a few weeks since I’ve written, and I’m pleased to say it’s because life has been busy! Some big news items for the last few weeks include my trip to Italy, starting a new job and finding a new surgeon/scheduling my second surgery.
I went to Italy for nine days with my dad; it was beautiful and special. We spent the majority of the time in Rome, but took a day trip to the coast and a day trip to Florence. We were in Rome long enough to see all of the major historical places and take time to experience the culture as well. We ate a ton of pasta and pizza and drank a lot of wine–It was fantastic. It also felt great to master the train system within Rome and walk all day, every day (It made eating pasta and pizza every day acceptable 😉 ).
My top 5 favorite places/things:
- Michelangelo’s statue of David (in Florence)
- Vatican museum and tour (Sistine Chapel)
- St. Peter’s Basilica and square (We were able to watch the Pope’s inauguration there, too)
- The Colosseum (the Rome marathon was happening around it when I went to see it!; see below)
- Il Peperone (restaurant we went to twice because we liked it so much the first time. Amazing gelato and the waiter remembered us!)
The Monday I returned from Italy, I had a final round interview which included a presentation I had to give to a group, including the CEO. Jet-lagged and all, I landed the job and started the next day! I am now working for a detective agency downtown Chicago and my job is in social media marketing. It’s a fast-pace environment, and I truly feel as though my input is highly valued. It’s great to be have some place to be and to have a team to work with. Since surgery last August, I’ve been really seeking an opportunity to get back out there, and I’m so happy to have one.
The most recent news came yesterday. My last post mentioned my needle biopsies, but I never followed up to say all of those samples came back positive for cancer. However, I was anticipating this news, so I wasn’t surprised when my endocrinologist said it is certain I need another surgery. Unfortunately, he also said he thinks much of what remains was probably left behind in the first surgery, so he told me I needed to look for a new surgeon. This was sad news for me, because my surgeon has been the most responsive and caring of all of my doctors. He’s my favorite, but I was directed elsewhere.
Yesterday, I met with a new surgeon who is nationally recognized and part of University of Illinois at Chicago Hospital–a nationally recognized hospital as well. After waiting 2.5 hours to see the surgeon, I could tell he’s very intelligent and experienced. Even though he isn’t the most compassionate person I’ve met, I can tell he will do a great job. He said they would be entering in the same incision and then extending it a little further up the left side, because they need to remove lymph nodes on both sides of my neck, from up near my jaw, to behind my collar bone. He also told me they’ll be able to remove scar tissue and my scar will likely be even slimmer than it is now. This was all good to know and not to far from what I was expecting. By the end of all of this, I swear I’m going to have the most slender neck you’ve ever seen! Some people get liposuction, I just get major organs and lymph nodes removed. Cheers!
However, he did bring some slightly scary news that I wasn’t ready for. Part way through our visit, he led me to another room and decided to do a Laryngoscopy to see my vocal chords (that’s a terrible and bizarre feeling, by the way). He said there’s enough remaining in the thyroid bed that there is concern of damaging my vocal chords in surgery. To help prevent this, they will be putting a special tube down my throat during surgery to hopefully help prevent permanent damage. However, in doing this, he said my vocal chords will be stretched and I will likely have damaged chords for 1-6 months AND this still doesn’t ensure no permanent damage. I wasn’t prepared for this.
I didn’t really tell many people after the first surgery, but my lower singing register was damaged/removed through the surgery. I can start singing chromatically descending down a scale and suddenly it’ll just drop off–no sound. It was hard to come to terms with this, and the thought of any further damage to my singing or speaking voice is very scary to me. Music is such a large part of my life, and while most people know I play instruments, I don’t know how many people (unless you knew me growing up), know how much singing means to me. If I lose my voice, I just don’t know… It also worries me to think about how this could effect my law school start, but one day at a time. Surgery is scheduled for April 26.
HOWEVER, maybe I will just develop a sexy raspy sounds-like-I’ve-been-smoking-for-fifty-years kind of voice, and then I can pursue singing jazz in a night club as a part-time gig for the rest of my life. I’d be OK with that.