I went to the surgeon yesterday and am feeling much, much better. It went really well. He removed a whole bunch of fluid when he did the fine needle aspiration, so it relieved a lot of pressure right away. That's temporary relief, but hey I'll take what I can get!
He sent that off to be biopsied, but said it did not look cancerous to him. OTOH, he cautioned me that what's in there that you can't get with a needle could still be malignant (there are multiple tumors). Either way, it has to come out and I'm scheduled for surgery on 12/27. I'll only miss three days work and will still have the long weekend to recuperate. If it's malignant and I have to have chemo, it's an easy kind and I only need to do it once, several weeks after the surgery. So, I have plenty of sick leave for what needs to be done, which was a real concern.
I'm a little sick of people telling me that it's a "good" kind of cancer, but I do understand that it is. Recovery rates are very high and chemo is very easy to tolerate. I just always feel like responding to the "good cancer" comment with "No thank you. I'd rather have no cancer at all, if you don't mind." It reminds me of the time S and I were in a really bad car accident, pre-kids, and emerged only concussed and bruised, with no lasting injuries. Everyone I knew said "You're so lucky!" And I did feel like I was lucky, but I felt like all those people who weren't in car accidents at all were luckier, so why were they telling me I'm lucky? So, I'll be happy to have a "good" cancer if it comes to that, but happier to have none.
The surgeon said my trachea has significant deviation, that he might have to do a tracheostomy depending on how bad it is, but it would be temporary. He did say "If you don't have this removed, it will kill you" which was freaky to hear. On the whole I think I'd rather have it removed :-).
He seemed very competent and rattled off his stats vs. national figures in terms of causing damage to the larynx by this surgery. He's the chair of the surgery department and has all those New York Magazine "Best Doctor" covers with his name on them. The hospital is a decent one, I think, and not too far from my house.
I think, in addition to being technically proficient, that he's a good doctor for me. He reviewed all my test results very thoroughly and talked to me about what they meant and how they inter-related. I knew most of that stuff already, but attention to detail gives me a feeling of comfort. He also answered all of my questions, and really seemed to take his time with me (which is probably why I waited an hour to see him - he was taking his time with other patients). He dictated his report while I was still there, in order to allow me another chance to ask questions that might arise from it. I thought that was a very efficient way to do things! With other doctors, I've gotten the report later and if I had a question I had to call the office.
My girls will be in India for my nephew's wedding while I'm having surgery (and Doran is gone for three months already ::sobs uncontrollably::) so I won't miss time with the kids while I'm in the hospital and won't have any parental responsibilities while I'm recovering, which is all good.
Anyway, I feel really good to be doing something about this!