I am still very wrapped up in the language of my cancer experience but now I've added numbers to my list of Things to Fret About and Overanalyze.
I came away from my first appointment with my oncologist feeling cautiously optimistic. He explained that thyroid cancer has more in-depth rating system that can be used rather than the traditional Stage 1, Stage 2, etc. This rating system takes a whole bunch of different factors into account (age, sex, tumour size, lymph node involvement, etc) that when plugged into a certain formula produce an overall score. My overall score was 4.7. This was a very good score.
However. My oncologist wasn't comfortable with a few aspects of my cancer so he decided to have the pathology on my tumour and lymph nodes redone (sidenote: does this mean that my tumour is just, like, hanging out somewhere? Do they keep my tumour? For how long? I have so many questions but I feel like I should be asking my oncologist more life-and-deathy questions than "so ... where exactly is my tumour?")
I got my new results yesterday. My overall score is now 5.7. This is still good but it is less good. The BC Cancer Agency recommends further treatment with radioactive iodine for anyone who scores a 6.0 or higher. So I was all "yay! Still under 6.0! Celebration time, bitches!" and my oncologist was all "weeeelllllll, not quite." Apparently I am in a grey area where the statistics become a bit foggy. People who score under 6.0 have about a 1% chance of their cancer recurring. People who score higher than a 6.0 have a 10% chance. My oncologist told me that I'm in the grey area where he's not comfortable using the term remission yet. He's not comfortable saying I have a 1% chance of my cancer recurring. Or a 10% chance for that matter. He's ... not saying a lot right now actually.
So I'm stuck. I'm stuck thinking about numbers and words and blood tests and to be honest, I'm pretty fucking sick of feeling like a lab rat. I have to decide whether or not I want to proceed with the radioactive iodine. My oncologist (the guy with all the knowledge and education) is leaving it up to me (non-sciencey!) to decide whether or not to proceed with the treatment. He is not recommending I have it. He is not recommending I not have it. He's strongly suggesting that I speak to him about it further. But what does that actually mean?
I am struggling. I have been struggling for the last few weeks. I keep waiting for it to turn around but every day feels harder than the day before. I am snappy and exhausted and mean. I just want to feel like myself again. But I don't even know what that means anymore.