At first glance, my sister Kerri looks like a normal person who lives a normal life. For the record, she's not normal; she's awesome. She's a very active, loving mother of five. And she, like young Pat McCaffery, has had thyroid surgery because of a cancer scare.
A couple quick things to note right off the bat: No two medical scenarios are exactly the same, and we're not presenting this as exactly the same as McCaffery's diagnosis or intimating at a prognosis for him. That information will have to come from the McCafferys and their doctor, if it comes from anyone at all. This is just what one other person went through with her own thyroid issue many years ago and an idea of what McCaffery may or may not face.
When Kerri was 20 and a student at Iowa State (booooooo), she had just met the man who would eventually become her husband. Her heart had begun racing, she spoke quickly, and was generally overly hyper. Some might call that "being in love," and some others might call that an overactive thyroid, especially since she had a small but noticeable lump in the middle of her neck. So.
Doctors quickly determined that it was a "hot nodule" on the thyroid and scheduled surgery to remove half of the gland. The surgery went as expected, as they say, except for the aftermath: surgeons found precancerous cells in the nodule. To be specific, a Hurthle cell carcinoma. So, not a tumor, but basically close! And yes, that was unexpected.
There is a difference between "has a tumor on the thyroid" and "has thyroid cancer," however, and thankfully my sister did not and still does not have cancer. And for all we know, McCaffery does not have cancer either. His family will find out soon enough after his thyroid is tested as expected.
At any rate, Kerri's recovery was twofold: her hormones had to get back in line after the procedule, and then there was the scar from when doctors, y'know, slit her throat. Maybe there's a less invasive way to do it now, 25 years later. Or maybe young McCaffery's going to have a bodacious scar as he continues growing up. One of the two.
But after that, Kerri has been healthy and then some. She suffers absolutely no ill effects from the surgery aside from thyroid replacement medication that she takes and will take for the rest of her life. And she gets her levels checked once or twice a year. That's it. The scar's virtually gone at this point. There's nothing she can't do with her life, and very little she doesn't do. Hell, she's the healthiest of us four siblings.
That's not to take anything away from the gravity of McCaffery's situation. If anything, it's the opposite! If this situation hadn't been addressed very quickly by doctors, her life likely would have been cut short or at the very least dramatically altered for the worse. We hope McCaffery's surgery was every bit as successful and that his prognosis is as great as the life my sister has led so far.
And in case there was any doubt, here's what she said about where her loyalties lie tonight:
God bless #TeamPat! Who wouldn't cheer for such a great dad! And as important as this game is tonight--his most challenging role was probably waiting for his son to come through surgery okay. It certainly puts things in perspective. And as long as the Hawkeyes stay away from my dear Cyclones, they have my support!
Thank you Kerri. Love you. Go Team Pat. Go Hawkeyes.