On the flight home, everything got quiet. The sea of clouds below mesmerized and reminded me that in this moment, everything is OK. My lungs look like shit on a nuclear medicine scan, in my opinion, full of cancer. But right now, everything is quiet.
An interesting philosophical issue came to mind, if you’re reading this, you’re welcome to come over sometime and discuss over some good food and wine. Is it possible to come face to face with your mortality? What does it mean to say “I’ve come face-to-face with my mortality” or “I believe or know that I’m truly going to die someday”. To me, we must always be weary of delusions and try to the best of our ability to use our minds and hearts to discover what is true. At this point, besides the fact that it is an interesting question, I’m more interested in what happens after the sense of stillness, after the time when the mind quiets down. Looking out at the clouds I begin to hear my endocrinologists assurances that people “live up to 20 years” with lung nodules like mine. Sometimes, they don’t exactly quantify the 20 year thing, but it has certainly been mentioned on multiple occasions and I have to say that it is pretty uncomfortable this whole “up to 20 years” comment. Maybe uncomfortable isn’t the right word, but it certainly makes me want to plan a bit for that 20 years.
Do I really want to spend 2 more years in med school then 3-5 in residency? Is it worth it? Would I rather commit myself to being a full-time father and husband and part-time cancer researcher? What about full-time father and husband and part-time writer or activist? But then again, two things seem to be true in this situation. 1. No one can say that I will die from thyroid cancer and 2. I may never get better, ie, my lungs may always have tumor in which case, we can try and make reasonable predictions for my life expectancy.
I wrote the above on the airplane. When I got off I had a message with the results of the scan (you should read part one first). The nodule is in my 5th thoracic vertebrae. In addition, multiple, diffuse nodules throughout both lungs, multiple mediastinal lymph nodes, and a few lymph nodes under my jaw. These all have cancer in them. Right now, I'm home and am coping. I should know more tomorrow.