Laughter is the Best Medicine…

…unless you’ve had throat surgery. In that case, it’s counter-indicated.

Photograph by Sylvie Rosokoff

This photograph was taken at approximately 12 am on Wednesday, about 11 hours after I had said good-bye to my thyroid forever.

Since I’ve proven thus far to be terrible at keeping up a blog with any sort of regularity, allow me to back track and bring us up to speed.

My surgery was postponed since some further suspicions arose after an ultrasound of my lymphnodes. After 6 more biopsies, they determined that I definitely had cancer in my thyroid, but not in my lateral lymphnodes. And then, I got a PB&J cupcake at Magnolia Bakery, so the day was definitely not a bust.

And so it was determined that on Tuesday, July 23rd, I would have a Total Thyroidectomy with a Central Compartment Lymphadanectomy (…I think). And on Tuesday morning, with my entourage in tow, I headed into New York Presbyterian, donned my No-Skid socks and mismatched snowflake jammies and kicked cancer’s ass.

I woke up from the procedure, swollen, sore and slurring, and welcomed my little cup of ice chips and my two visitors at a time in the recovery room. They had warned me before they put me under that I would wake up with an itchy face, but I SHOULDN’T TOUCH IT because I wouldn’t be aware enough to avoid scratching my corneas or some other such accidental injury. And I was vigilant. None of my family members knew what I was talking about when I kept mentioning my face and my hands, and eventually I was able to instruct my husband to scratch my nose when I don’t recall even feeling itchy. 

My biggest disappointment from recovery was that my mom promised there would be juice and cookies. But all I got was ice chips.

After several hours, I was wheeled up to my room: a $6,000 per night, 8×10 box with no shower but a gorgeous view of the East River. I got a welcome kit with body butter and fancy mouthwash, and a remote control for the TV, but if I wanted to adjust the bed, I had to contort myself to reach the buttons located above my head. My husband got his own cot and my mother, father, and mother-in-law stood by my side as a parade of nurses, residents and doctors came and went. When I tried to pee, I couldn’t and cried, remembering the pain of the catheter I had to get when I was 16 after I had had knee surgery. I have never been so happy as when I tinkled that pathetic little first drop later that evening.

Two of my best friends came late that night for a visit, after I had drowsily viewed an episode of MTV’s Catfish and Drunk History. They brought me temporary tattoos and took my picture and we laughed and I kept dozing off and it was wonderful.

The night progressed, and as my anesthesia wore off, my drugs got stronger. My husband was able to sleep through most of the hourly visits by residents and nurses, and I continued to urinate with great zeal. They brought me a veritable feast for breakfast; I couldn’t even make it to the vanilla yogurt!

Since then, it’s been baby steps and ice packs and napping with the cat. And I’ve made it through almost the entirety of 30 Rock. I even left the house yesterday to watch my friends and family empty our moving pods into my parents’ basement! All in all, I’m recovering quite well, and I look forward to further recovery, and much more bloggery.



  1. Martin Downey · August 22, 2013

    I am so glad everything is going good…Well as good as it can! We are thinking about you here in the penis state.

    • hilarious9 · August 22, 2013

      I miss you guys a lot – HOW IS BABY LUKE!?

  2. Tani · September 10, 2013

    I had no idea of your struggle, I am in awe of your strength, attitude and sense of humor. God Bless your strength Hillary!

    • Hillary B. · September 10, 2013

      Thank you, Tani! Not a lot of people know, it’s simply happened so FAST! It’s been a crazy year, but I feel like things can only go up from here 😉

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