Right after our Thanksgiving meal I became really sick. I was having a constant headache, dizziness, and my ears felt extremely stuffed. I was miserable. I ended up going to Naval for it. Because it had been a few weeks since I had been to Naval, my doctor had changed again. The doctor diagnosed me with jet lag, double ear infection, and allergies before giving me a general exam. During the exam she noticed the thyroid area of my neck seemed swollen. I told her I had been having short lasting pains in that area that felt like it was snagged on something but went away within a few seconds if I rubbed the area. She said that it was probably just me being sick but she was going to schedule an ultrasound out in town for me. I wasn’t nervous for the ultrasound. I had had them a few times before just to check up on my thyroid since I was diagnosed. I figured that this would be a quick procedure and that hopefully nothing would be found.
Since the appointment was out in town, Navel arranged for a translator and driver. They were both really sweet and it was a quick 20 minute drive to the Nishiki Hospital. The hospital was a little run down compared to other hospitals I had been to. It was very dark with tiny hallways and tiny rooms. If you have every seen a Japanese horror movie, you’ve basically seen this hospital. It was creeping me out a little.
In Japan when you have an appointment for the doctor, its kind of a suggested time. Just because my appointment was at 1:30pm, I wasn’t seen until almost 3pm. I had brought The Girl On The Train to read while I waited. When they finally called me and the translator back they lead us to a small room that was barely big enough for the bed and the ultrasound equipment let alone the nurse, the translator and myself. The translator told me to take off my shirt (thank goodness I thought ahead and worn a tank top under my shirt) and to put my things in a basket by the door and to remove my shoes. Then I was told to lay back on the bed by the nurse. The nurse covered me in a blanket and left the room. The doctor came in with two nurses about 20 minutes later. One nurse put a tube shaped pillow under my shoulders while the other lowered the head of the bed until I felt like I was going to start sliding head first onto the floor. Then the doctor started doing the ultrasound. For the most part it felt like any other time I had been for an ultrasound of my thyroid. Then I heard her move the screen away from me so I couldn’t see and then set down the equipment. She walked out of the room for a moment. Thinking it was over I tried to sit. One of the nurse said something in Japanese pushed me back down. The doctor came back a moment later with another nurse or doctor. She started the ultrasound over again while talking in Japanese to the other person and pointing at the screen. I couldn’t understand anything except the word cancer. It’s the same in English as it is in Japanese. Again she set down the equipment and they both walked out. I asked the translator what they were talking about and she said the doctor wasn’t done yet. The doctor then returned with another nurse or doctor and repeated the same thing again. This time I heard the word cancer three times. Then the doctor started talking to the translator in Japanese. I heard the word cancer a few more times. After the doctor left with all the nurses the translator told me that the doctor had found three nodules on my thyroid and wanted to have them biopsied as soon as possible. I asked the translator what the doctor was saying about cancer and she just shushed me and said “I don’t think its anything” and wouldn’t say anything else.
At this point I was starting to get nervous. I’ve had a nodule biopsied before but when my doctor had done it before I wasn’t really concerned that it was cancer because of how he handled it. Now after hearing four different people look at my ultrasound and hearing the word cancer repeatedly I thought I might have thyroid cancer.
Since the ultrasound was done a few days before Christmas the doctor couldn’t see me again for the biopsy until two days after Christmas. So I spent my Christmas wondering if I had thyroid cancer. Jeremy was able to go with me to for the biopsy. Again we met the translator and driver at Naval to drive over to the Nishiki Hospital. While we were waiting, the driver came running inside Naval with a huge smile on his face and telling us in Japanese to come outside quickly. Outside was the biggest, most perfect rainbow I have ever seen before. The translator said that it was a good omen. I felt like it was a sign from my dad that he was there with us.
The rainbow followed us all the way to the hospital. I was happy to be able to take a picture of it over our tower as we drove by. It remained on my side of the car for most of the ride. It was so strong and richly colored. The pictures don’t come close to doing it justice. I really felt like Dad sent it. He had been there for my first biopsy and it was comforting to know he was coming with me to my second one.
At the hospital they did the procedure in the same room. It was tight trying to squeeze the doctor, two nurses, the translator, and Jeremy into the tiny room around the bed I laid on. The biopsy itself was over with in less than 10 minutes. After the procedure a nurse led me and Jeremy to a room with three beds crammed into it and told me to rest for 30 minutes to see if I had any problems with the biopsy. A few moments later they brought another Japanese woman in to rest too. A random nurse got mad at Jeremy for standing against the wall and made him sit on the third bed. I don’t know if she thought Jeremy was a patient or not.
Due to a few Japanese holidays and the New Year’s, the doctor wouldn’t be able to see me again until the 13th of January to give me the results. Yep, I was going to have to find out if I had cancer on Friday the 13th. Woohoo.
It seemed to take forever for Friday the 13th to come. Thankfully Jeremy was able to go with me for the results. We again met the translator and driver at Naval. The translator was excited because we were suppose to have lots of snow coming that weekend. We sat in the waiting room for a few hours until we were called back to a different room. The doctor was sitting at a table told me that no cancer was found. Yay!!! He also told me that my thyroid levels were well enough that I didn’t need to take my thyroid meds anymore. (My doctor at Naval disagrees with this). The visit was over in about 5 minutes but the good news was I didn’t have cancer.