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Opinion: Column: Night and Now Daze
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Opinion: Column: Night and Now Daze

That wasn't so bad. Approximately 29 hours in the hospital in a private room and all I had to do was drink as much water as possible and shower half a dozen times. The goal being to rid myself of the radioiodine I had been given at the beginning of my admission. This "therapy" is used to measure the iodine related to my papillary thyroid cancer and to determine, presumably, whether in fact the tumors in my lungs are thyroid cancer which has moved or whether it's still lung cancer or both.

To say my life depends on the results of this finding and the interpretation of the follow-up gamma camera scans this Tuesday is perhaps a bit much. But my life expectancy sure depends on it, as well as my treatment life going forward. There's too many ifs, ands or buts to present here, but suffice to say, my future, yet again, is sort of up for grabs.

For the moment, however, I feel mostly fine. I'm back eating the foods that I love, after a 31-day lull when I was on the low iodine diet, so all is semi back to normal. Being able to satiate once again does soothe the ravenous beast inside me. Nevertheless, there are bigger problems/possible solutions in the offing than M&Ms, Double Stuf Oreos and Entenmann's Marshmallow Devil's Food Iced Cake can really address. Still, if I'm going to go down, I can now go down with a smile on my face and a delicious dessert/snack in my mouth.

In a way, I'm back on the precipice. Are the tumors in my lungs all lung cancer which has previously led to my being given a "terminal diagnosis/prognosis: "13 months to two years" back in late February, 2009, or are they papillary thyroid cancer, stage II; not terminal, and not just treatable, but curable? Or are they something in between, as yet undiagnosed? Maybe I've developed new tumors? Maybe I'm to be diagnosed with a third type of cancer? Maybe, maybe, maybe. That's how I have to roll for the next few weeks (thyroid cancer) and the next six weeks (lung cancer) when I will have the usual upper torso CT scan of my lungs, the first one I will have had in over five months (all my lung cancer-related treatment was stopped while we addressed the thyroid cancer). Perhaps in mid-July I'll know the "end of the story" as radio icon Paul Harvey used to sign off; "Good day!"

For now, all I can do is wait and not "smoke 'em if I got 'em" but "keep my powder dry" and "keep my eyes on the prize." It's really no different than pretty much how I've managed to live my life since I got the diagnosis 11 years and over three months ago. Although, oddly enough, it feels different than it did before, as if I didn't have as much at stake then as I do now. Almost as if this is my last chance to catch a break, especially considering that living nearly a decade past my original prognosis I've already received a lot of breaks. Somehow though, this medical-diagnosis-to-be conjures a kind of inexplicable finality.

I don't want to go back. I want to go forward. Unfortunately, which direction I'm headed is out of my control. The endocrinologist and the oncologist will tell me whether I "Return to Jail" or "Pass Go and Collect $200." They will be monopolizing my future and in so advising, will indirectly determine my covid-19 risk as well. Will I be visiting my healthcare provider/facility regularly for treatment and possibly exposing myself to the virus (which would be a major complication for a patient like me: over 65, with lung disease and a weakened immune system) or will I be able to live my life without any of the life-ending-type fears I've had since 2009, and the world has had since the first quarter of 2020?

So even though I don't know for sure that my life is at stake, I think I can definitely say that my living is. Will it be cancer-centric or not? Either way, I'll live with the outcome. The only question is: for how long?