Giving Tuesday

Today is Giving Tuesday, a movement to create a national day of giving to kickoff the holiday season.

Next August I will participate in The Ride to Conquer Cancer. I will raise money and I will ride my bike 200+km from Vancouver to Seattle.

They're a bit performance-y, these cancer events, aren't they? I get it. I've rolled my eyes at various 5km runs and ice bucket challenges and facial hair parties. I've been in that camp that asks, "what's the point?"

Let me tell you what the point of The Ride to Conquer is for me.

Thyroid cancer is both a relatively uncommon cancer and one of the few cancers that is increasing in numbers. This is true worldwide but for the sake of explaining why this matters to me, I'm going to stick to the Canadian stats from Thyroid Cancer Canada.The incidence rate of thyroid cancer is increasing more rapidly than any other cancer yet has the lowest ratio of research dollars of any cancer. Of the 6,000 Canadians who will be diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2014, 4,800 of them will be women.

Thyroid cancer doesn't have a national walk. There's no race or challenge or cute/sexy/cheeky/whacky marketing campaign. There's no ground-breaking research.

When I signed up for The Ride to Conquer Cancer, I got to specify to which department I wanted to direct the money I fundraised. Unfortunately, thyroid cancer specifically isn't an option (*ahem* someone should really look into getting that changed for next year) but I did get to choose that I want the money I fundraise to go to head and neck cancers.

The Ride to Conquer Cancer is a bit of a performance. But... so what if it is? I need a bit of a performance. I need to mark the change from deer-in-the-headlights-surprise-cancer-diagnosis-at-30 Hillary to rides-her-bike-long-distances-like-a-total-badass-and-by-the-way-check-out-that-ass! Hillary. I need to feel like I'm doing something to support thyroid cancer research. I need to feel like I am supporting the BC Cancer Foundation (over 70% of the money raised by the ride goes directly into research.) I need to feel something other than fear and frustration.

So today, on Giving Tuesday, I'm going to swallow my pride and ask you to please donate to my ride for all the thyroids. And if you've managed to read this far, thank you and ten gold thyroid stars for you!


Good to Know

So if you're not a urine person you might want to stop reading. And if you don't think you could look at me the same way after finding out I peed my pants in public you should definitely stop reading. 

I had a pelvic ultrasound today to check up on my creepy little ovary. The adorably pregnant OB/GYN recommended surgery. My oncologist recommended not having surgery as long as I have regular ultrasounds. A lot was riding on today's ultrasound. If my Frankenovary has changed since the last one, my oncologist will likely change his recommendation. I was a bit stressed out going into today is what I'm saying.

I don't have ultrasounds often enough to know what works for me or to have a routine. I'm kind of insular when it comes to medical stuff. Anything outside of the thyroid world is Greek to me. A friend of mine is currently going through some stuff and I find myself googling abbreviations and terms after our conversations so I can better support her.  If you want to talk about anything thyroid related, I'm your gal but anything else? I'm useless. So when the nurse told me to drink 32oz of water 90 minutes before my ultrasound, I didn't question it. I don't know much about ultrasounds - I just show up and do what I'm told. So I drank my 32oz of water at 10:45 and showed up for my 12:15 appointment. 

I was in tears by 12:40. The hospital where I had my ultrasound is set up so that you check in at the Medical Imaging registration desk and then you walk down two long hallways and into the ultrasound waiting room. The only people in the ultrasound waiting room are the people waiting for ultrasounds. No nurses. No registration desk. No one to tell you your appointment is going to pushed back because they're running behind.

You guys. I was sweating from trying not to pee so hard. So 12:40 rolls around and the number of people in the ultrasound waiting room has grown and no one has gone in for an ultrasound yet so we haven't even seen a hospital employee and there seems to be some sort of Guy fucking Fieri marathon on the waiting room tv. I couldn't stand it anymore. The pain was so bad that I'd long ago unabashedly unbuttoned my jeans and I was standing there in a room full of people, crying because I had to pee so badly. 

So I ran to the bathroom and tried to pee just a little. But you know what happens when you break the seal, right? I kept having to run to the bathroom to pee just a little. THREE TIMES I ran to the bathroom to pee just a little before finally, at 1:00, I was standing in the waiting room (because it hurt too much to sit down) and my body just gave up and I peed myself. In public. I feel like somehow I can retain just a touch of my dignity if I tell you that I didn't empty my bladder on myself. I didn't pee myself a lot. I realized what was happening as soon as it started so I ran to the bathroom and fortunately my pants were already undone so it was just a matter of whipping them off as soon as I closed the door. But I still had a dark circle of pee on my jeans visible on my jeans when I walked out of the bathroom. Like a lady. 

I finally went in for my ultrasound 45 minutes after my appointment time. I was so worried that I'd peed too much and my tech wouldn't be able to see anything. It turns out that I was too full for her, though. She gave me a cup and told me to go to the bathroom and pee a full cup of pee. Sweeter words have never been spoken. 

So! It turns out that the 32oz in 90 minutes is insane. I googled bladder capacity in the midst of my agony and human bladders hold 400 - 600mL. Thirty-two ounces is 1,000mL. My tech said that it's a blanket instruction they give to everyone and the only time someone would need to drink that much before an ultrasound is if they were severely dehydrated. You guys. I am so hydrated. All the time. 

My tech was great. She was kind and sympathetic and laughed at me within the gentle teasing spectrum for being such a rule follower. I got ten gold stars for bladder filling. 

According to my tech, 16oz an hour before the appointment is more than sufficient to fill my bladder (I say my bladder because I don't want you following this advice and showing up for your ultrasound with an empty bladder. You're on your own, dudes.) So! Future Hillary: if you don't want to pee your pants in a room full of people, don't drink 32oz of water and then try to hold it for over two hours. 

The more you know.