Pills

“David, I have the items you requested this morning before you went to lunch,” QT notified David quietly through the earpiece he was wearing, “I also have an answer for the request about the testing to be done. I did not know if you wanted to look at it all first or if you just wanted to go over it all with her.”

“Is there a problem?” David asked.

“I am not sure. There are some differences.”

“I will be there in a little bit,” David replied. “Cassandra, you mentioned earlier that your medication did not make it here with your items.”

“What! I missed something,” Hema chimed in.

“It is ok, you probably did not see it. It would have only been a single bottle of pills. I lost the one that I had with me when they took me. The extra pills would have been in a bottle with my items,” Cassandra answered.

“I did not see any pills with your items. I even asked the family you were with if there was anything special that I needed to grab and they did not mention any pills.”

“Like I said earlier, it is not a really big deal. I can live without them for a while.”

“How long is ‘a while’?” David asked.

“Well, if I do not take my pills ever again I will be dead in approximately eighteen months,” Cassandra said.

“What! How in the world does that happen?” David asked.

“Oh, no, I am sorry that I did not find the pills,” said Hema.

“It is alright, it is not your fault,” Cassandra said as she leaned over and patted Hema’s arm. “I will be fine for a while, before I start to decline.”

“So what kind of pills do you take to keep yourself alive? That just seems odd.”

“About five years ago, when I was thirty, I learned I had cancer. I got lucky; this cancer is generally able to be treated without using chemotherapy. So I had surgery to remove the cancer and as much of the healthy tissue as they could. Then I took a radiation pill and it killed the rest of the cells that were left in my body.”

“What kind of cancer requires you to take a pill for the rest of your life?”

“Thyroid cancer, they remove your entire thyroid. No thyroid means there will be no thyroid hormone. The thyroid controls many things, like your body temp, your energy levels and even influences your mood. Without the pills I will have weight gain, feel cold, have drier skin and suffer from depression.”

“How did they learn that you have cancer?” David asked.

“My doctor was feeling my thyroid for problems and she thought that the right was a little bigger than the left. She initially thought that I just had a nodule, which almost everyone will get and it is almost always benign. Less than one percent of thyroid nodules are cancerous. Under ultrasound it was shown that the nodule was very large, over four. So I needed to have a fine needle aspiration done, it came back as cancer. So I got surgery to remove my whole thyroid.”

“How is that something so large had not been seen earlier? That would have been visible on your neck,” David said.

“Not necessarily, it was just visible before I had my surgery. It replaced the normal healthy thyroid tissue in the right lobe. There was only about ten percent of regular tissue left on the top of the lobe.”

“Interesting, I did not know that could happen. So how can they get away with not using chemotherapy?”

“The thyroid is the only part of your body that takes in iodine. So you get a pill, calculated for you weight, of radiated iodine. You take the pill and avoid people for a few days. The radiation kills any thyroid cells in your blood and the cells that were left around your vocal cords.”

“Cool, can I see the scar?” Hema asked.

Cassandra laughed, “Sure, it might be a little hard to see in this light.” Cassandra got out of the chair she had been lounging in. She knelt down next to Hema. “The scar is about two and a half inches long and looks like a smile.”

“Yeah, I can see it. I suppose if you colored it and put two black dots above it you would have two faces.”