Health, ThyCa, Thyroid Cancer

And so.

*I can’t say I have ever believed in true karma. Too many shitty people get away with too many shitty things. And I’d like to think there is more outside this life, though we may all be just as important as a cockroach in reality.

I can confidently say I have had my go-around with life at only thirty-one years old. I have seen a lot. Done a lot. Been broke. Been stable. Let stress get the best of me. Indulged a little too much when I shouldn’t have. I’ve met some exordinary individuals and found myself under the shoes of others. I cannot say I have a terrible life. In the scheme of it all, it’s been pretty fantastic. But there are bumps and unfortunate times and that is to be expected. Including a cancer diagnosis, no matter to what degree.




My quarterly blood draw was Monday. It’s like my veins were on vacation. The phlebotomist and I couldn’t see a line so he went in blind; sticking only by feel. Luckily, for me, he’s clearly damn good at his job. The task was effortless. Still, it hurts and I continue to hate needles. I bruise quite fiercely. And after all the positive preaching I toss out there I do find it hard to stay calm for myself when I have no control of the outcome.



Yesterday, all my calendars, digital and written, reminded me of an appointment I had made three months ago with my oncologist, Karen Jacks. 1PM. Those afternoon appointment always interrupt my creative flow. I should know that by now. 12:50PM. Onward to Summerlin. The wait is never long and as I was called back, dreading what the scale would taunt, I was told my appointment was yesterday. I had missed it.





I proceeded to inquire with Dr. Jack’s scheduling assistant and she assured me they were correct. How sad is it that? You get so busy doing everything for everyone that you forget to take care of yourself. I apologized for my forceful, yet inquisitive manor, because surely, I would not have forgotten this appointment. For goodness sakes, Dr. Jack’s is THE only one looking after me since I was cleared by my surgeon. My endocrinologist never even followed up after my last treatment of RAI that she administered. Professional, right?


As I was getting up to leave, Jenn with two n’s, (Dr. Jack’s Nurse) walked up. I, like, love this woman. I gave her a hug. She too, last year, underwent a total thyroidectomy due to thyroid cancer. Not quite as invasive and she has had no reoccurrence, (High Five, Nasri!) There’s something about having such an intricate situation in common with another.
A bond, if you will.



I asked her if, by chance, if she could give me the results of my blood work and she did not hesitate to say yes. We can’t be much different in age. “Everyone has access to their results if you request it.” she commented. Well then. Toss them over, pretty please! The scheduling assistant, already not super fond of me, went ahead and printed them out. Why didn’t she offer that before I went into semi-jerk mode? We could have totally avoided an awkward situation. The sheets crossed the desk and I stared at the numbers.


TSH 0.017 (Critical Value, Verified x2, FLAG: Critical Low)
Thyroglobulin 0.2 (Low)



My mind went blank. Is this good? I should be a master of all this by now.  But the same rule applies as to why I haven’t learned to code websites; I design them. I rather be really good at one particular thing, than half as good at two things. I’d rather spend all my energy and mind on staying positive and strong, rather than learning basic numeric levels that pretty much rule my life. Plus when your head is everywhere than where it should be, it’s hard to concentrate. You don’t read a book while your driving.



Jenn with two n’s assured me, these were fantastic numbers and to schedule another set of blood work around my one year anniversary for the second surgery I underwent – December 24, 2015. Time. Flies. Roughly four and half months away now.



As I walked out of the icebox building, into the blazing heat, I wasn’t sure if I wanted cry or run. I was so relieved, yet I have this pessimistic nature inside me saying, ‘don’t get your hopes up.’ I’ve been in this position before.



For now, and for the next few months, all is well. I feel fine. I can breathe just a bit more. I can attempt to relax. I will start all those personal projects and books that I have been putting off, tomorrow. Ha. Julian and I will take our anniversary trip to Palm Springs, like we always do and I will head to Lake Tahoe in two weeks. I will continue to share my experience and thoughts around it to anyone interested. To anyone who asks or need help.





Today, having no relievence to the above, I went to buy film at Wal-Mart because honestly, I have no idea where else to get it and I’m teaching myself to shoot with a 1968 German Leica in hand. No, that’s not a gun. F*ck guns.



In front of me, in line, stood a very fragile girl. Of some Eastern Indian decent. She had to have been my age, maybe a touch younger. She wore no make up and she was beautiful. I worried for her pettiness, as each one of her legs had to have been barely bigger than one of my arms. She dressed cute and natural and I couldn’t help but wonder if she had problems finding clothes her size, like us curvy women do at times.



She was buying two hand soaps, some q-tips, oranges, and a cheese cake. Her total came to twenty-four dollars and ninty-two cents. She tried her card and it was declined, twice. You could tell in her demeanor she knew it would be, yet she tried anyways. Then she pulled all the money she could find, out of her hazy green pockets. A five, a single dollar and some change. The line was building and she was getting uneasy trying to count. She nervously asked if I would help her count how much money she had as she was still learning U.S. currency. And so I did. She had eight dollars and eighty cents. She gave back the cheesecake, one soap and the q-tips. As she walked away I had this ridiculous feeling. I’ve been in her shoes before. Maybe not to this extent, but I thought of yesterday and I thought of how uneasy I have been since I got back from Wisconsin. I couldn’t help but pay it forward. I did hesitate, but as she walked away, I asked the annoyed clerk to quick ring up her things. She put them in a bag and I ran after her, leaving my purse, my life, at the mercy of the cashier and everyone behind me. I caught up to her, tapped her shoulder. She slightly jumped. I handed her the bag and smiled. She thanked me many times.



As I got back to the registered the cashier and the few people behind me fawned over what I did. “That’s going to come back to you someday you know! That was so nice!” All I could say was, “I shouldn’t have bought the cheesecake.” (It was $12.95 at WAL-MART!) But who am I to know if it wasn’t for her Grandmother or a special occasion.



I do not do things, so other things can come back to me. *Reference first paragraph of this post. I don’t always help people when it’s obvious. I am a firm believer that is why rich people are rich. They are either super smart, clever bastards or they simply keep what is theirs, to themselves and their family. No amount of money could fix everything, everywhere, for everyone anyways.  Wealth is what you make of it. It’s a mindset. In this situation, something crawled up into my stomach, danced with my gut instincts and knew I would regret not helping her. And so, que reaction, though there is a 50/50 chance she would walk outside, remember she had just forgotten to transfer money from one account to another, hop into her mercedes, and drive off. I wasn’t about to play investigator to ensure she was legit. If I was wrong to  help, it would ruin my dreams of humanity truly being more lost than it already is.

Cheers to some things just working out sometimes.





“The simplest acts of kindness are by far more powerful then a thousand heads bowing in prayer.  “—  Mahatma Gandhi














Health, ThyCa, Thyroid Cancer, Thyroids, Uncategorized

A Bunch of Hot Energy

I was administered a shot in my *ass today for the very first time in something like, twenty-five years? Left cheek in case you were curious. Another rounds the corner for my bum tomorrow. Right side. Fair is fair. To follow, waves of exhaustion before I swallow a tiny little radioactive pill, from a futuristic looking vessel – Wednesday AM – For the second time in my life. Then I accept being avoided like the plague by all things living for a solid week as neccessary. Since I haven’t stopped running yet, why stop now? Frank is going to go ape *shit.



Life surely has been nothing short of thought-provoking, busy, and arresting since the last check-in to socialize about my lack of a thyroid. I never went into detail about this past surgery over Christmas, but maybe I’ll be so bored over the weekend I’ll write so you all can be bored with me, among all the bright pastel colors. Oh! And hey look. Another holiday ruined due to this unwanted malady.



The entire month of February turned out to be a travel whirlwind. Not by plan, but by total chance/luck/good people. I took all that lovely by the horns and flew! I am so grateful. But it turned me into a junky. I cannot wait for the next spontaneous jaunt – to ANYWHERE. Currently, as I see others traveling, I’ll admit – I’m jealous. Like, really jealous. I’m sorry. I can’t help it. Take beautiful picture for me to view from the digital side and sulk because I’m not there. P.S. I love you.


March 25th marks 2 years since my very first brush with surgery complimented by the removal of a vital organ + treatment. Christmas is 3 days short of 3 months ago, when my second surgery took its course. All that has forever changed my life. And so have the days of not appreciating a size four waste line. Whatever.



Two surgeries in two years and I am full of life. I have a ridiculously handsome/talented/hard-working/best friend of a husband, my very own personal satan (a furry mammal disguised as a cat named Frank), a beyond supportive family whom I can’t wait to hug the shit out of in May, and the very best looking friends with personalities to match – In. The. Whole. World. What more could I ask for? More plants maybe…



This whole extravaganza in my What Thyroid existence has been quite the ride. Paired with other affairs that life likes to throw at us all – While we’re least expecting it. Or when we could really need/use a *fucking get out of life free card. Nope! Never happens. So you decide. Sink or swim?



The loss of my father was a massive blow. Like literally paired, 50/50 with the day I got the call about me, myself, age 29, having cancer. What? I just recieved my death ticket. Then, a year later… Excuse me? Dad’s dead? What the *fuck is going on. April 3 hits one year without someone who has been a huge part of my life since I remember, remembering. And I see my grandparents aging and my Mom suffering with herself and her own vices. Some very impressionable and dear extended family, dealing with loss and disease. I’m not sure how I avoid being a hot mess, puddle of tears, in a dark corner. Well, sometimes I am. But the corner is never dark. It’s light. I do that on purpose. It’s usually outside so the wind can carry that sad energy away from me for a while. But really, what is this life and what is the point? But then I bounce back. Strong. Excited. Vigilant. Observant. Ready to love and save everyone and everything just THAT much more. I seriously talk to my plants while I give them a little extra water that Nevada would like them not to have. I adore You All so much.



Back to the originality of this post – Wednesday is D-Day! I had nightmares last night about the shot I got today. It wasn’t that bad. I’m such a thirty-one-year-old wuss. I’m hoping to document this treatment better than the last time, though looking back, I watched a ton of movies, was sick and slept a lot. Julian and Frank went to a hotel where Frank caught a cockroach. Ish. We were living in an apartment then. My how things have changed.



This time, I’m secluding myself to our master bedroom and bath, since it’s all attached. I have a chair to sit in right outside the patio doors. We’re moving my iMac and desk into the bedroom to serve as a TV as well as inspiration to work – energy pending. I’ll show you the extent of our preparation tomorrow when it’s complete. It’s grossly organized and sterile. If insurance ever got cool, they would just let me vet this out in a hospital and save us the time and trouble. But alas, they’ve been and always will be cheap *bastards and I’m thankful, at least this time around, for the stingy vaccinations that helped me avoid being off thyroid medications and turning into a complete zombie for roughly a month. Awful. Never again.



Oddly enough, I am excited for Wednesday because I get to see Leman again! He is the nuclear dude for Desert Radiology and is a pleasure. Cheers to all the safe and hard working humans that expose and help toxic ones like me, push for a better and healthier life. I plan to send him a card to ensure he knows how much he is appreciated when this is all said and done. For the second time.



Alright. I’m going to check out for now. Julian it “weeding” the front yard while the wind cracks a whip so I don’t have to. I have designs due and I would like to get outside to plant some greens I picked up yesterday with my 10 year-old friend Charlee; IF this wind ever decides to subside.  More soon – Whether you like it or not.
xo! – La





P.S.S. If there’s anyone out there that ever has a question or concern or needs a little talkin’ to? Holla at me. I’m so open and extremely honest. Brutally. But I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Why sugar coat a serious situation. Hands down, never hesitate to ask, talk shit or even throw a little positive vibe this way. All is welcome!




* I apologize to the uttermost sincerity for letting swear words roll off the tip of my fingers like they do my lips, very comparable to a sailor, but hell, I come from a family of them so please accept that I really am a lady in most regards and never mean to offend. Love you. 


biopsy, Health, November, Operation, Surgery, ThyCa, Thyroid Cancer, Thyroids

F*ck You, Calcium

I’m going to keep this short and sweet. Today. 11:30AM. Desert Radiology bound for what I thought was just an ultrasound. Just kidding. Tack on another biopsy. Dr. Mecca was out on vacation but for some reason my surgeon didn’t know that…
I didn’t catch today’s doctors name. He was young. He looked like a dear caught in some headlights when he came in; totally not expecting to be performing this lower sternum biopsy. He even admitted that. Stab. Stab. Stab. The numbing hurt like a mofo. After that it was eight different needles worth of uncomfortable pulsing. One literally felt like it hit the back of my throat. That did me in for a jolt. Two hours later – I’m late for my bloodwork appointment all the way across town. My nurse and I quickly faked a “STAT” signature on all my bloodwork forms, she put in a call to Quest, and away I went. I was 15 minutes late. Not bad. I waited another half hour. 10 tubes of blood and almost 18 hours fasting, I was on my way home. No energy to snag that chest x-ray I still need to complete all my pre-op confirmations.

I get home. Ate. Let the cat outside and then settled back in to finish my work up for the day. (Note, I am STILL working and it’s 7PM my local time.) I receive a phone call at 5PM from my regular physician who was concerned about my dangerously low calcium levels. Weird. I feel fine. And how did she get those results so fast?

She then proceeded to ask for my surgeon’s contact information and endocrinologist’s info so she could relay these findings to them on Monday. Until then, she insisted I pick up a prescription she called into the pharmacy for some sort of Calcium pills and urged if I ever felt numb, tingly, or had any muscle spasms to immediately go to the ER. Wow. Totally not what I was expecting. This was already a long enough day as it was. This better not jack up my surgery date.

On the brink of all this crazy, one really fun thing did find itself at my doorstep this evening. An adorable Fall-o-ween care package from Jim and Peggy Murray! Filled to the brim with the most fun things; from candies and cat toys, to hair product samples and so many more bright and colorful things – You two Wisconsinites sure know how to make a gal feel like a kid again! Oh! And speaking of kids. A childhood friend, whom I’ve known since the dawn of kindergarten will be crashing at Casa De La Murr tonight. So excited to have her and her beau stay for the evening!

Stay cozy everyone.

November, Operation, Surgery, ThyCa, Thyroid Cancer, Thyroids

A Rainy Wednesday in the Desert

I woke up to the sounds of rain this morning. It’s fall in the desert; temperatures barely gracing the mid-sixties.
Julian and I just got back from a forty-eight hour adventure to Minneapolis for Halloween. It was such a lovely visit.
Pulling myself in every which way possible, I managed to roll out from under the cozy warm blankets and a snuggling cat. My last surgeon appointment was this morning where I signed my life away, once again, to the care of Dr. Nasri. I would have much rather stayed in bed.

Initial here. Initial there. Initials everywhere. I made it though the stack of papers. I read all the descriptions I was initialing the first time, but I decided to skim over most of these this morning due to all the gory details they list out of what could happen. No need to feed my anxiety monster anymore – he’s a bit plump already.

From there back to a room I went. My appointment was at 9:45AM and of course he finally entered around 11:15. Ridiculous. He informed us that he took a second look at the PET scan and spoke with Dr. Mecca who performed my biopsy. Nasri noticed a bit more of a glow in some nodes near my sternum as well. I have a measuring/mapping appointment with Dr. Mecca on Friday. He will perform another ultrasound on my neck to confirm the exact location of the lymph nodes that need to be removed. They upped my surgical procedure from a simple left neck dissection to a left modified radical neck dissection paired with a mediastinal dissection. He plans to clear out various lymph nodes in both areas in attempt to prevent the cancer from spreading into my lungs. He insists I am RAI resistant and that the chance of reoccurrence after this surgery is yet again possible.

Proceeding all this nerve wrecking info, this office has a special procedure they perform in preparation for surgery where they check your vocal cords. They numb your nose and shove a little tube with a light on the end down each nostril. Totally. Torture. As well, you are required to pay additional $ that is not covered by insurance for a nerve and vocal cord monitoring. Better safe than sorry, but all these little things just add to the total dramatic experience.

As always, a time has not yet been assigned for the day of surgery – I’ll know 24 in advance. Nasri said this particular procedure should take 2-3 hours instead of 5-6 like the first round. I’ll take that as pretty much the only win so far in this repeat horror story.

Tomorrow I head to my regular physicians office for a slew of blood work, EKG, and chest x-rays for pre-op purposes.
Friday the mapping ultrasound, and from there we are headed into the final countdown.

I’m feeling confident, but that comes and goes. I sometimes still can’t believe this is my life. That I am dealing with such a resilient disease. I’ve never once said “why me” because really, why not me? Why not anyone? It’s just frusterating. Life is such a gamble that no one is in control of.

biopsy, ThyCa, Thyroid Cancer, Thyroids

Déjà vu


Guilty. I love bacon.

Tuesday night as I laid in bed, unable to sleep at the thought of yesterday morning’s verdict, I predicted to Julian “Tomorrow, the doctor is going to say, ‘All your scans did come back clear, however through further testing with the ultrasound guided biopsy, it looks as though both suspicious lymph nodes did come back positive for cancer.'” I was spot on.

Iodine scan – Clear.
PET/CT – Clear outside of a small glow in my lower left neck.
Ultrasound Biopsy – Both enlarged nodes tested positive for PTC spread in my lower left neck

I inquired, if these were missed during my first surgery or gradually grew? Due to my blood work track record, I was clear after my RAI treatment for a solid year. However, at some point, a few nasty, microscopic cells threw a party and here we are again. My endo is also currently assuming that I am non-avid or resistant to the RAI, which will possibly require further testing after my next surgery at a research facility. I have an appointment scheduled with my surgeon tomorrow afternoon. Dr. Sina Nasri will be performing the procedure once again. They have a terrible website, so maybe we can trade services? I am also being proactive in the sense of scheduling an appointment with my oncologist on Monday to get a second opinion on what I should contemplate after this next surgery, considering my situation is getting a bit more complicated with the reoccurrence.

This has all been a blow to the positivity train I’ve been riding. I feel weird. I’m frustrated. I’m nervous. Why wouldn’t my endo notice my thyroglobulin levels rising way back in March? It’s even obvious to me after sifting through a years worth of blood work results that tumor marker levels were on the rise. I feel like I am starting all over – to an extent. It’s very hard to concentrate on my every day life. There is a new form of numbness to my emotions that I hate. I don’t want to lose my passion. I’m scared, yes. Will this forever keep popping up at the most random times? Totally possible. Thyroid cancer ain’t nothin’ to f*ck with.


Health, Thyroid Cancer, Thyroids

Here We Go Again

Life is so … interesting. Most of the time it makes no sense. Why are we here? What is the point? Are we just some maddening experiment, or just a bunch of cells that got tossed together and now here we are as these complex beings, with emotions that run wild and on top of it all; bodies that are vulnerable to so many different things. Yet at the same time, these brains of ours, so complicated and formative. So intriguing and personality based, with such character and grace. Is it all by accident or is there really some greater beings out there controlling and watching and guiding us all through life’s crazy circumstances, most that don’t even make sense.

I’ve recently been going through some major soul searching. Searching for absolutely anything to make a sense out of certain situations. In this case, my battle with thyroid cancer. Just hearing the word cancer is a body deafening sound. No matter the severity of it – it’s something I wish upon no one. And even though, the word was first brought into my life over a year ago, and I’ve been well aware it’s something that I could battle forever, it never seizes to be so emotionally impactful.

If you’ve read this far into my story, things have been going rather smoothly. Updates from my doctors and everything in between have been on the up and up until the other day.

I had my first yearly iodine scan. Four months late, mind you, because my endocrinologist insisted I receive Thyrogen shots but neglected to tell me my insurance has never covered them in the first place. I was on and off the phone with so many people, trying to figure out how to get these shots so I could stay on my thyroid medications. In the last year since my surgery and RAI treatment I’ve been feeling great. I didn’t want to fuck all that up now, but in the end, it still happened and it set everything back, complimented by some bad news. As I was off my thyroid meds for four weeks, and though my Iodine scans came back clear, which I thought was a positive prognosis, come to find out, my blood work proves otherwise, with off the chart thyroglobulin levels at 72 when they should be lower than 1, signaling possible residing cancer cells left in my body.

Numerous testing has started again to pin point where these cells might be. I endured a PET/CT scan today. My best friend Andi came with me at 6AM this morning, just to be sent home because they planned to inject me with MORE radioactive regiments which are not suggested to be around pregnant women. That totally sucked; to lose my favorite cheerleader and all her amazing positivity by my side. Not to mention, how much radio active shit that has been flushed through my body in the last year, am I going to ever have issues with fertility if I decide to have children someday? All theseTHINGS! It’s so overwhelming.

My main man Keith, who administered my iodine scan just a week ago was on my PET/CT scan case today which was cool. I really like him. Unfortunately he was the one having the rough time nailing a vein for the catheter, so another girl came in and snagged it away. My arms look like I am a recovering heroin addict at this point though. Rough.

From these tests – Worst case scenario: Thyroid cancer cells have metastasized to my spine, other lymph nodes, or my lungs. Best case scenario: There is some residual thyroid cells, cancerous or not, left in my neck bed and they will be removed with another round of surgery. The RAI treatment I went through last May didn’t seem to work, so my body may be rejecting it. Lame. It’s already been a hell of a year, I’m really in need of some good news.

Next up: Neck Ultrasound with possible biopsies of anything funky looking. This will take place Thursday morning at 10AM.
I have an appointment scheduled with my endocrinologist October 14th to declare the results of all testing and what’s next. I also decided to be proactive and contact an oncologist I was seeing in the beginning of my initial diagnosis, almost two years ago, just in case something unexpected claims dues on my health.

So now, it’s hurry up and wait. Story of my life.
Here are a few pictures from today as I got poked, waited and felt defeated at the fact that I am in this position again so soon.

IMG_7404  IMG_7409


Health, Thyroid Cancer, Thyroids

Two Hours – Post Op


Julian took this photo when I finally made it to my room. He was shocked at the size of the incision and wanted to show me.

Prior to surgery, when Nasri came in with his assistant and had colored my neck up with their black pen maps, I been told they intended to do a left lateral incision, up side side of my neck and then a smaller center incision across my throat. This would leave me with a nice, large hockey stick style scar.

Well, it looked as if they had changed their mind. At some point before the  slicing and dicing started, Nasri’s black line art ended in a glue and tape project, leaving behind this little beauty scratch.


Surgery // Part Two

March 22, 2014. 6AM. My alarm sang with the sweet rhymes of Hi Tek – Come Get It (Tekrumentals). I was already half awake. Sleeping the night before a major life altering experience isn’t the soundest. I started getting ready; hospital bound. There wasn’t much to pack. They planned to release me within 24 hours. My mother-in-law, Claudia, flew in the night before from Minneapolis, to help out the following week after surgery. It was weird to throw myself together in under 20 minutes. Think of that what you may, but I am such a girl. I enjoy dolling my face all up and perfecting my hair everyday, but all that was tabu. Another confession? I hadn’t shaved in four days. Prior to surgery, I was required to whip down with these sterile cloths twice a day for four days. I pride myself in the softest skin possible (thanks Mom!) but these left an uncomfortable film all over and the nurse warned if I shaved, it would sting like hell.

Us three amigos left our apartment, Summerlin Hospital bound by 6:30AM. We swooped George on our way, a close family friend, and I was checked in by my 7AM call time.

I will expand on this more in a “Paperwork and Billing” write up, but seriously, keep track of your deposits and how much out of pocket you are spending through your entire process if you ever find yourself in this position. When I checked in that morning, it was the icing on my anxiety cake. The lady claimed I needed to pay $2600, right then and there, to continue my check-in and proceed to surgery. No one ever gave me a heads up about this before hand. Thankfully, my over-organized self brought all my paperwork and receipts, everywhere I went. This proved to save me a lot of time and stress throughout the last few months. I had already met my deductible they day I put a down my deposit with the surgeon’s office. After showing the lady my trail of paperwork she made some adjustments. In the end, I still had to cough up $600 for some reason, but at that point, I just wanted to get this all over with. I paid the money and promised to follow up once fully recovered.

Side Note: You never know what life is going to throw at you so make sure you are always putting a little money away for the unfortunate times that are sure to come at some point. This went a long way for us.

After dealing with the check-in, we waited maybe 10 minutes and I was called back to change and get my IV placed. Way faster than I expected, but I guess I’m thankful. My mind didn’t have any more time to wander and I started running on a new kind of adrenaline. I had no idea what to expect next.

First step, change into my gown. It was lavender and they gave me purple socks to match that had little paw grips at the bottom. I felt like a humiliated adult child. As I was in the middle of changing, I peeked out for a second to ask if I HAD to take my bottoms off. The nurse was a complete wench and literally yelled at me “YES! Everything off! And you need to hurry up, the doctor is ahead of schedule and if we don’t have you ready on time, we’ll get in trouble!”

“Excuse me? I am so sorry, but I don’t give a fuck if you are about to get in trouble or not, for anything that I do. This is MY surgery and I have NEVER done this before. Calm the fuck down.” Well, that’s what I wanted to say, but all that left my mouth was, “Wow.” as I rolled my eyes and shut the door to finish removing what was left of my sanity.

Completely uncomfortable and naked, under a thin, paper-esq gown; I climbed into my hospital bed and an older Asian decent nurse came in. She seemed nice at first, compared to the younger one that just got done scolding me for no reason. I’ve never had an IV hooked up to me before so I was asking a few questions as she prepared the needle. “How many times have you done this?” I asked. She replied, “Millions.”


Julian was standing to my right as her first attempt to slide the needle into the top of my left hand failed. I twisted towards Julian and practically screamed. It was the most excruciating pain I have ever felt in my life. No joke. And the worst part, she just kept going. Jamming and forcing that needle into the top of my hand. All of the sudden she started getting frustrated. She couldn’t hit a vein. What is with these nurses? I was laying as still as I could. Finally, I begged her to put the IV into my upper, underside left arm. I requested this from the beginning, but was denied. Of course, I was right. When she finally caved; it went in like a charm. She could have saved me the worst pain ever and an eventually black and blue hand.

That particular nurse never spoke to me again until I woke up after surgery and she happened to be my watch guard. Ugh. Which she failed at that too, but I’ll loop back to that shortly.

Yet again, face to face, with the younger nurse that previously yelled at me; she was back with her cart and handful of interrogation techniques. She started by asking me my name, my birth date, where I live, why am I here. I guess this is routine to ensure you know what’s going on in the present but thus far into my experience with these nurses, I honestly thought she was asking me because she didn’t have a clue. And this was all before the goo drugs were provided to me.

Next waltzed in Dr. Nasri and his surgical assistant, Mark.
He was fast talking as normal, carried a roller suitcase with him, as if he were about to catch a flight; carry on only style. His assitant, Mark was a hefty white guy, rolly polly, but very nice. They drew up my neck with a black marker. The only time I had thought this was done was for plastic sugery.

He explained, very, quickly, what he was planning on doing and how long he was hoping it would take. He was nicer than in his office, but still not very personalble.

They were there for maybe five minutes. He warned that the anesthesiologist was on her way. “HER” – I was beyond excited for a women to be the one keeping track of my life down under, while in surgery.
One thing I really appreciated most about Nasri was that he worked with his own exclusive team. No one else was let into his circle and none of them worked for the hospital, they were private practices.

Exit surgeon and assistant. It took a few more minutes for her to arrive. To this day, I can’t think of her name. Larsen. Something Larsen, which I considered a good sign, considering my best friend from elementary school’s, maiden name was Larsen, before her parents got hitched. Speaking of good signs, Mark, the surgical assistant – that is my late Uncle’s name. My Dad’s identical twin brother. Another sign that I am just now realizing. I like to think of these three as the Dream Team.

Back to Larsen. Imported from Nasri’s special list of referred anesthesiologists. The way she had her hair and the way she spoke reminded me of a hippy. I loved it. She was real.

She asked me how I was feeling. I said terrified. I chatted with her about a conversation Nasri and I had prior to the surgery about how I did not want to see the operating table. At all. I wanted to be out before I graced that room. She claimed she was mixing me a “cocktail of a lifetime” and that I had nothing to worry about. Right after she injected my IV with this magic, she received a call on her cell from Nasri, following up about that fact that I did not want to see the room and he was ok with that. They said I was small enough, they wouldn’t have a problem transferring my limp body to the operating table. Great!

I would say not even two minutes after the IV injection, I was floating on the best drunk/high feeling I have ever felt. If this was a street drug, I would be an instant addict. It took nothing to kick in. Before I new it, Mark was back and the two of them were rolling me down winding hallways. They started asking me about music. What was my favorite. I said I like rap music and such, but with all honesty, some legit classic rock was my game. They asked who were my favorites and I started listing off: The Doors, The Greatful Dead, The Doobie Brothers, Marshall Tucker Band, Boston, Kansas, The Rolling Stones… Before I knew it, they were pushing open a door to a super bright white room. I ended with Led Zeplain.

I remember the room being so small. I thought, ‘is this a black market surgery?!’ It reminded me of a cluttered, sterile closet, with supplies everywhere. There were three big, round lights up top of the silver surgery table. I was in and viewing the place that I never wanted to see. But I was so happy and out of it I didn’t even care! I helped myself onto the operating table and Mark, in the corner asked what I wanted to listen to. I said, “How about Led Zeplain.” He replied, “Good choice!” and from there, I heard him crank the beginning sounds of ‘Ramble On’ and I was done.


Surgery // Part One

So your going to cut my throat open. That’s the only thought that went through my mind. Surgery was inevitable. I clearly had no choice and my thought process was leaning towards drastic measures.

I met a man named Dr. Sina Nasri. Maureen Parker had referred him. His bed side manor had a solid reputation of not good. He came off intelligent, quick talking, emotionless, and slightly cocky, however I was told he was the best in Las Vegas.

I had the option to check into other surgeons. A few people gave me recommendations. I asked every nurse, technician and doctor I encountered through out my tests, scans, and needle pokes, if they had heard of Nasri and if they knew other doctors that were top notch for neck surgery. I had a few leads, and most had never heard of him, which now I find strange.

I can’t say it was a gut feeling, because after initially walking into his office and finding his staff looking completely unorganized, and his personal lack of apathy, it came naturally to have doubts. But alas, I was drained. All this crazy was a huge blow to my everyday life and I didn’t want to wait so I jumped and took this surgeon with me all the way to the operating room.

I will say now, I feel like a slight asshole for being so judgmental up front. Life literally handed me on a silver plater, the notorious phrase “Never judge a book by it’s cover.” How many times have you heard that? A lot? Well believe it.


My original operation date was set for March 15th. I was ready. Prior to that surgery date I had numerous consults with the surgeon, and another biopsy with a new doctor named Creed, at Desert Radiology. He mapped out exactly how far the cancer had spread into my lymph nodes, so Nasri knew what all to remove. Then of course more paperwork.

The day I went to sign my life away and drop a hefty deposit for surgery, I was overwhelmed with what-if’s. I had to initial past countless “possible outcomes” which is terrifying because half these complications of this surgery weren’t even in my mind. They were all declared rare, but come on, this is life, and nothing is guaranteed.

I paid extra to ensure he wouldn’t fuck up my voice box. Sad, that that doesn’t come has part of the deal but I appreciate he takes extra measures that not all doctors do. Insurance typically doesn’t cover this cost, but I’d rather be safe than sorry with a man voice or no voice.

My last appointment was to check in and ensure all my pre-op tests came back legit. My body was ready to be reckoned with. Lungs look good, heart works great, let’s go. But wait, to wait some more. On that last visit, Nasri informed me that he had to reschedule my surgery for the 22 of March, due to conflicting schedules. Fuck. FUCK. There went our Mexico trip, right out the window.

Mexico? Yes, Mexico. How was I thinking of that while I was dealing with cancer? WELL, we booked this trip with Julian’s family almost a year in advance. Thanks life for that wicked curve ball. We were suppose to leave on the 28th of March and come back in April. If my surgery would have been on the 15th, I would have been golden. Exhausted yes, but healed enough to go lay on a beach somewhere in Cancun and enjoy some much needed time away from work and with family. That was canceled instantly.

Another bummer to this reschedule business was that Claud had already booked her tickets and got time off approved from the hospital she works at for the original dates. My nurse, mum in law, came out for an entire week to help Julian take care of me at home in recovery. How lucky is THAT! A lovely personal nurse at home! Anyways… Now we had to scramble to get her plan adjusted and money refunded but also our own. Definitely not something I was in the mood to deal with.

So the new date was set and away we went.