Chicago 2024: Part One

We went on our first city vacation as a family this year, and we managed to get Connor sold on the idea of city vacations being a thing in the future.

For Connor’s first foray into the world of freeform roll-your-own city vacationing, we spent three nights in Chicago. Aaron and I hadn’t been to Chicago since our first visit some 14 years ago, and that was a couple years before Connor came on the scene. This time around, our only real agenda items were 1.) taking a hop-on, hop-off bus tour, 2.) eating at Ann Sather’s again, and 3.) trying Italian beef, all of which we successfully crossed off the list.

The gallery above features highlights from our arrival on Sunday, including deep dish Chicago pizza at Giordano’s; and our initial explorations on Monday, including our Big Bus Tour, a trip up the Willis (Sears) Tower, lunch at Luke’s Italian Beef, a brief (cold and windy) stop at Navy Pier, an afternoon shopping excursion, warming up inside the Apple Store, dinner at Shang Noodle, and dessert at Ghirardelli.

Life With Half a Thyroid: Day Twelve

Last night, the edges of the steri-strips began curling up and peeling away from my incision site. It didn’t take much help from me for them to come off entirely, revealing my new surgery scar.

I’m beyond satisfied with the cosmetic look of the scar, even freshly-healed. I even turned on my camera in a Teams meeting this afternoon, sans scarf, and didn’t get even a second glance. Except from N, who told me privately that it didn’t even look like I’d just had surgery.

Like the ubergeek that I am, I studied the surgery notes as soon as they were made available to me online. One thing I noted was that the “incision was made along one of the natural creases in the neck.” Never have I been so pleased to have neck creases! I’ve seen photos and videos of patients with a straight horizontal scar right across the front of the neck, and that’s definitely not ideal. My scar looks like it’s going to be No Big Deal.

One week after surgery, the pathology results came through. As expected, my lobe was NOT cancerous (and neither was the lymph node they also removed). I did a double-take at this gem, though:

80g left thyroid lobe. 7.8 cm height, 5.5 cm width, 3.6 cm depth

For context, that would be a kiwi fruit shoved into the space behind my left collarbone. No wonder I felt so strange.

As for how I’m feeling now… the swelling has gone down considerably. Now there’s just a little spot in the vicinity of my trachea that’s still tender to the touch. My neck seems to have full range of motion side to side, but I can’t tilt my head to look up very far yet. Per the surgery notes, they did have to separate and reflect some muscles to get to the thyroid, so it’s not surprising to me that they’re still healing.

At my initial consultation with the surgeon, he told me that I most likely would not need to take thyroid hormones after my lobectomy. It had honestly never occurred to me to wonder exactly what my thyroid was responsible for and how it did it, beyond knowing that my bloodwork has been coming back in the normal range for the past decade. So, I did a little research, making sure to check the veracity of my sources before putting too much stock in what they had to say.

Since the thyroid plays a major role in regulating body temperature, one way to monitor thyroid health is basal body temperature, My normal body temp has always been about a degree below the typical 98.6F, so I decided to start taking my temperature every morning and logging it when I log my weight. (Again, being an ubergeek, I have an iOS Shortcut on my Apple Watch for entering my data into Apple Health.) Hoping that I don’t see any downward trends in my body temp — although it wouldn’t be the end of the world if I did have to take thyroid hormones.

I meet with my surgeon on Monday for my post-op follow-up. I’m not expecting any new info, although I am hoping for clearance to return to my Krav Maga classes.