Sunday, 2 October 2011

Hot Off The Press

I have struggled to write an introductory sentence to this post, and having tried and subsequently deleted four separate attempts, I've decided to do what I should have done in my German A Level exam and Just Get On With It.*

The Bad News

Just over a month ago I had a phone call from one of the many endocrinologists who like to talk about me behind my back (they call it having "Multi-Disciplinary Team Meetings", but I know the truth). Unfortunately, despite my surgery in April, my recent MRI has shown there's still a lot of tumour left. The tumour originally had an "area of cystic degeneration" (i.e. it was liquid inside like some kind of hideous chocolate fondant pudding) and although they managed to get rid of that, pretty much everything else (ie. the actual main bit of the adenoma) is still there. Which is obviously really rubbish. I'm not exactly surprised; although some of my symptoms have improved a bit since the operation, I am nowhere near better yet. But it's still disappointing, especially as the surgeons were optimistic that it had been a success. When you've had your skull drilled into, you expect results!

The Good News

The rather more surprising news came when I was at college a couple of weeks ago. I was sitting in a three-hour-long lecture given by a woman whose incredibly shouty teaching style implies that she may have been a sergeant major in a previous life. My phone went off; I dashed out, in the happy knowledge that midday phone calls are almost always from the hospital. It was indeed my charming endocrinologist, to inform me that the blood tests I had done a few days previously had come back completely normal. My thyroid hormone levels were all fine.

Obviously this was something of a (very welcome) shock, seeing as I've still got a lot of symptoms - my heartrate is improved but still high, I still shake and my hair is still falling out pretty badly. Apparently it can take a really long time for symptoms to clear up, even after your hormone levels are normal. Darnit!

From what my endocrinologist said, this is definitely A Good Thing. Apparently sometimes this kind of pituitary adenoma does seem to switch off-and-on in their production of hormones, so it's possible that my levels of thyroid hormone will go back up. On the other hand, it's not impossible that the tumour is finally paying attention to the Cease And Desist notices which the rest of of my body has been sending it for years. Even if it does start producing hormones again, at least my body will have had a bit of a break.

I have been trying not to get too excited about this and resign myself to the fact that, chances are, it will start up making hormones again. But it is kind of a challenge not to prance around a little bit. I was due to have a range of exciting metabolic tests plus a PET scan; those have all been cancelled. Instead of spending several hours in a tube being irradiated, I will be having blood tests every few weeks to monitor my hormone levels. The downside of this: it means that I shall spend several nervous days fretting about what the results will be.

Blood tests are on tuesday, not sure when the results will get back but I'll update this as soon as I know!

* For those of you interested in my youthful academic failures (and let's face it, who wouldn't be?) I managed to get a D in one German A Level paper about the Nazis because I spent the first forty-five minutes of the exam endlessly trying to write the first sentence and then crossing it out in disgust. The only German phrase that kept popping into my head was "Hitler beging Selbstmord",** but as the question was about the siege of Stalingrad, this was not helpful.

**"Hitler committed suicide"

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