My boss got mad at me today.
It was a small thing – just a discussion of a proposed room layout for an event. He wasn’t listening to me and thought I wasn’t listening to him. In any case, I burst into tears and just couldn’t stop.
I’m not a crier, normally. When I was a young woman, then sure I’d cry once or twice a week easily. But since moving into my 30s and finally slaking my depression, I cry maybe 3-4 times a year. Usually only when I’m really tired.
And I am really tired. Trouble is that once I’d started sobbing I couldn’t even get enough breath to explain to him what was wrong. I’m exhausted, we still don’t have a mortgage, and I went back to the doctor yesterday to see about getting some new tests done on my thyroid. I have a looooong history when it comes to my thyroid, but to cut to the end of that story: they’re sending me in for tests to see if the occluded lesions in my thyroid have turned into cancer yet.
See, about 10 years ago, I had a nasty relationship that turned mentally and sexually abusive. Of all the diseases that he could have given me (but thankfully didn’t) the one he did give me was chicken pox. And you know how they say “Don’t get chicken pox as an adult”? Don’t get chicken pox as an adult. I got very sick, and a few months later I got very bleary and forgetful. I’d been an A+ student at university, so bleary and forgetful wasn’t a wholly natural state for me. I used to have a velcro brain – everything stuck to it. But suddenly things just started falling through it and I didn’t know why. Over time, I developed a bunch of other vague symptoms too: my skin got dry, I gained a lot of weight, I was cold all the time, my fingernails started flaking apart. After a few years of trying to ignore it, I was sick of being tired all the time and finally dragged myself to a doctor. She did a bunch of tests and eventually concluded that I have very high levels of thyroid antibodies. What that meant was basically that the chicken pox had triggered an auto-immune disease, and it was slowly wrecking my thyroid. But… Blood tests showed that my T3 and T4 thyroid hormone levels were in the normal range. Now it turns out that up to 20% of people sit outside the normal range (either low or high) when they are perfectly healthy, but the fact that my T3 and T4 are “normal” technically means that I don’t have hypothyroidism. I just have all the symptoms of it, because “normal” probably isn’t normal for me. Oh, and they discovered that I have a bunch of nodules in my thyroid. Again, that’s not massively uncommon, and not necessarily anything to worry about, but they certainly had an appearance that drew some attention. I bounced around between lots of different specialists, and got patronized a lot, and got so many different diagnoses that I ended up feeling like it was all becoming a pissing contest between various doctors’ egos. And in the end, not much happened. I got put on a very low dose of thyroid replacement hormones (which one doctor then decreased even further, then another increased, then another decreased again…). The meds helped a little, but not much, and no one really gave me any solid answers as to what was happening. I just keep on carrying on and taking my meds (when I remember) and wondering if something else will crop up.
Well, my thyroid has become quite visibly swollen lately. And I’ve had those little dermatofibromas pop up. And my body seems to be struggling to get any refreshment from sleep. So I figured it was time to go back and get it all revisited again. Not that I’m really relishing that, because it was such a drawn-out nightmare last time and I’d basically given up in disgust.
Funny thing is that I was okay with all these new tests yesterday. I was tired, but just really focused on getting my assignment done and not thinking too much about anything else. I don’t know if it’s the fact that my assignment has now been lifted from my shoulders, or the fact that I was woken up by an earthquake early this morning, but something broke through the dam today and refused to get pushed back in.
The weirdest part is: I’m not really worried that it’s cancer. At least doctors know what to do with cancer, and they can quite easily remove my thyroid. I’m more worried that it’s not cancer, and that this is just the start of another long decade of little help and shitty egos and no answers.
Is that crazy? I can’t really explain that to people, and it’s an even more difficult concept to get out between tears. I kept trying to recover my decorum – and was mostly successful – but then somebody would shoot me a sympathetic look and I’d break down again. I just don’t want to have to talk to people about what’s going on.
So I have asked for some personal time this weekend, and flagged that I may need some personal time over the next few weeks. I think I’ll try to get back into the garden and shift my focus to something productive.
In the meantime, I have also gone back to the original version of this song. Much less depressing than the Gary Jules version. Because sometimes madness is the best ally against sadness.