Friday, February 12, 2010

But I'm still confused

Last night I was surfing online and came across a great resource - decoding your blood counts. I was so excited. This explains what the list they send me after blood tests mean. I looked around and pointed it out to my husband who agreed that he didn't really understand a lot of it either. In my rush to be enlightened, I pulled out my latest blood test and compared. I don't feel enlightened. In fact, I still feel confused.

Truth be told, now I understand better what the individual numbers mean but I don't really understand the big picture. What do my blood counts mean? Now, most are in the normal range which I can deal with but then there are the ones where normal is greater or less than something. Well, what does it mean if you are a lot more or less as opposed to only a little more or less? Then I read the disclaimer at the top of the page: "Interpretation of the results is strictly the province of a medical professional." Okay, so I guess I go back to being a patient patient and ask questions at my doctor's visits.

This morning I am up extremely early because I was so smart and scheduled a neck ultrasound for 730 this morning. A neck ultrasound is the new protocol for following up thyroid cancer. Apparently they can tell about some recurrences through blood tests but they also need ultrasounds for others. When I say new, it means that 20 years ago, they weren't doing ultrasounds as frequently. I don't believe I have ever had one before but there is a possibility I did back in 1981 before surgery. I can't remember. This counts as my first one essentially. I don't really know what to expect. I have asked some friends with thyroid cancer who have been through them and they all say its no big deal so I am not really concerned. The odds for thyroid cancer recurrence after so many years are small but it is still possible. Cancer is the gift that keeps on giving and there are cases of thyroid cancer recurring more than 40-45 years later and now these are part of the standard protocol for follow up - every five years. My real question is: what if it tickles? I'll just have to suck it up and deal.

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