Brokeny can be a good thing. Brokeny can be a thing I like, and often is.
Maybe how I feel about brokeny is because I grew up in a household populated by a one-eyed cat and a three-legged cat. They started out complete, those two, but life dealt each beast a blow so their bodies could not be whole. And they made up for their deficits and managed — did much better than “manage”, actually — and maybe I’m just a sentimental sap, but I love that. Love stories about the laying waste to the obstacle of brokenness or incompleteness — love any kind of tale with overcomey overtones.
Hah. Easy to say all that cos when I first wrote those words ages ago, I was healthy, but now? Now there’s the issue of the monster in my throat, and that certainly changes some of the folderol in my brain. Sometimes you get kind of brokeny and that’s where I am now.
This winter, I was diagnosed with not one but two nodules (“nodules”! FFS, why does the language of illness have to be so ugly? Isn’t it enough that the reality itself is so unlovely?) on my thyroid, one small, one large. The large nodule is sizeable enough that it bulges my neck out somewhat, so my vanity takes a bit of a beating. But it’s just a cyst and cysts aren’t really medically scary in this situation, just a bit inconvenient. The other nodule is a hard little calcification, a much more concerning beastie, in terms of cancer worries. (My calcification has been biopsied and is NOT malignant, just so you know.) This has been a bit of a drag but really it’s just the most minor of minor medical inconveniences; I’m being monitored by a kickass endocrinologist and all has been essentially well.
Until I woke up on Mother’s Day morning to some unwelcome change: overnight, the cyst had doubled in size — yes, actually literally doubled (and it was already large) — and become dreadfully painful. I’ve since seen the endocrinologist and had an ultrasound and learned the unpleasant reality is that the cyst for some reason became engorged with blood. Had it just (re-)filled with cystic fluid, the doctor could have done a second fine-needle aspiration (I had the first one in April) and removed some of the fluid, which would have alleviated a big old bunch of pressure and pain. But with bleeding, well, you run the risk of making that worse by poking a needle into the compromised structure, instead of better, so I got sent home, sans needle-poke, to wait and see if some or all of that blood would reabsorb into my system on its own. Wait is all I’ve done this week and it’s been surprisingly difficult, both physically and emotionally.
Before this, I had never (of course) given a moment’s thought to my neck and how much it’s implicated in most of what I do. Walking? Hurts my neck like fuck. Swallowing has been blindingly painful, obvs. I can’t hug someone taller than me because then my neck gets pressed into their body and that is BAD. (I found this out the hard way.) Washing dishes? Fucking painful. Coughing? Shoot me now. Laughing? Brings tears to my eyes and not — not — in a good way. Bending down to fill the cats’ dishes with food or water? Not happening, man. I walked out in the world to do some banking yesterday and for the rest of the day I was just sandbagged by pain. So yeah, hurty, etc., etc. And the doctor’s orders for recovery? Near-total rest. No exercise. No lifting. No housework. No nothing, really. And altho’ intellectually “go home and lie in bed til the pain and engorgement subside” maybe sounds like a “w00t! Now-I-get-a-lying-in-bed-reading-and-watching-documentaries-on-Mr.-Lappy-while-everyone-else-does-the-cooking-and-shit” vacation of delicious medico-sanctioned sloth kind of dealie, the reality has been something quite different. Most of this time I’ve been so overwhelmed by hurting (and truly, I’m good at handling pain, like everyone in my family) that I haven’t been able to concentrate anywhere near enough to read a book. So instead I’ve just lain in bed watching the most execrable poo on TV (because execrable TV-poo demands nothing of you tho’ it can, sadly, bring you to a dark place of heightened misanthropy) and fallen into weird, fucky, fevered-dream fugue states of fitful unpleasantness, not unlike the hallucinatory demi-naps that overtook me when I was a small child broiled with scarlet fever.
And then, in the moments of feeling less overcome by difficult sensation, I’m bored shitless. Seriously. It’s gorgeous here and I want to be out in the world, doing things. And I can’t be. And I’m pissed: this is all just such a monumental waste of time.
The good news is that I seem to have turned a corner overnight because I woke up in less pain this morning than since this whole blood-filled-sac-of-misery thing started, and feeling more like myself. Which isn’t to say I’m going to go out and chop six cords of wood or anything because I’ve been told to do next to nothing until next Wednesday, for fear of rupturing the motherfucking monster in my throat and I know I well and truly do not wish to do that. So instead I will lie here doing precious little and that’s okay.
And in all truth, this brokeny time has given me a shiversome great idea for a big and long thing to write and that is quite yay happy joyful. So maybe it’s true after all, maybe the monster in my throat comes bearing a gift, maybe there is value in flaw and breakdown and bleed. Plus, in the long-term I’m gonna need surgery and that means I’m gonna end up with a boss neck-scar and the opportunity to tell some pretty badass tall tales at cocktail parties and PTA meetings.