After appointments with the Endocrinologist, the Surgeon, the General Practitioner, the Reproductive Endrocrinologist and phone calls with ALPA representitives, the Chief Pilot, the Base Administrator, the Long Term Disability company, the company HR department all in the last week, we have a good idea of what we are looking at. I feel like I am at the vortex of a paperwork tornado. And I am becoming entirely too familiar with the halls of the hospital complex. And only 6 days into the billing cycle, we have already used up 3/4 of our cell phone minutes (no small feat with our monsterous cell phone plan).
A has a papillary carcinoma, basically a tumor growing on his thyroid. It's growing at a fast rate and is intertwining with his vocal cords and heading up towards his ear. He'll be having surgery on Thursday, will recover for a month and then follow up with some radiation treatment. Then, we'll wait for the FAA, probably for months. The radiation treatment will be a challenge to say the least- 48 hours of not being able to be in the same room for more than 3 minutes, 7 days of not touching or sharing items. And endless humming by me of any song with "radioactive" in the lyrics (a particular 70's rock hit comes to mind) will add to A's misery.
The good news is that A will eventually be able to return to flying, once a special issuance is in hand. It will take 6-12 months from the conclusion of treatment to get that though. Long Term Disability and Loss of License insurance will help keep some money rolling in, thought not nearly a total income replacement. We are looking at having to maintain our health insurance though COBRA for at least the short term, which is not exactly cheap.
It is frustrating, to say the least, to have just gotten into this and to feel like the door has slammed shut in our face. It is hard to watch this happening. I could tell when the sad acceptance of reality came when A finally unpacked his suitcase, the travel soap reappeared in our bathroom and the blazer went to the back of the closet. The outpouring of offers of help from friends has been helpful; the genuine offers rare. I had to ask 7 people if they could bring me dinner at the hospital the night A will be there overnight. Although I have been able to maintain my daily functioning and occasionally keep some good humor, my private moments, in the car alone, are not always so pretty. There are times when I feel on the verge of tears for hours at a time. Most times I feel emotionally spent from trying to keep up on all the details.
We're getting through this one day at a time though and hopefully in the future, this will all just be a "remember when..."