Friday, January 23, 2009

the "easy" cancer???

When I was first diagnosed with cancer I had many people tell me that thyroid cancer is the easy cancer...if you had to get cancer, this is the kind to get. Medically speaking, maybe that is true. Some of the variants of thyroid cancer are very easy to treat. That does not make this an easy cancer. There is nothing easy about going through any of's a beast I have to face every single day. So, some advice--never tell anyone that they have an easy cancer, because having cancer is never easy.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Monday, January 12, 2009

before the rain there was sunshine

This is what the calm before the storm looks like:

The weekend before this whole thyroid cancer ordeal started my family and I celebrated my 24th birthday. It was so much fun and so carefree. We truly experienced a calm before a nasty storm. I am grateful for that weekend. I really think it was a gift from God, that He was reminding me of all the good things in my life so I could have something to hold onto as I go through this terribly scary time in my life. As my mom told me, it's a good thing we can't see our future because it would freak us out.

You can see the tumor on my thyroid in that last picture. It might be hard to see if you don't know what you're looking for, but it's that lumpy thing at the base of my neck. If that grosses you out, just don't look. :o)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

for my best friend

"You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock." Isaiah 26:3-4

Monday, January 5, 2009

two months post-op

It's been two months today since my surgery. Here's a two month post-op picture of my matches my shirt:

I was thinking about how fast things have happened the past few months, so I thought I would make a time line so I wouldn't forget all that has occurred. Here's the abbreviated record of all my doctors visits and such:

October 8: I woke up and felt the lump on my neck.
October 9: I went to my general physician--he thought the lump was just a cyst, but referred me to a specialist; I had blood work and an ultrasound; the GP's office called back with results of the ultrasound--I had a 2cm nodule on the left lobe of my thyroid and two smaller nodules on the right lobe.
October 10: The GP called with the results of my blood work--I had an increased level of thyroperoxidase antibodies, indicative of Hashimoto's thyroiditis.
October 14: I met with the endocrinologist, Dr. S. He also thought the nodule was a cyst and agreed that I probably had Hashimoto's thyroiditis. He still wanted me to have a biopsy.
October 16: I had the biopsy which was performed by another endocrinologist in the same practice, Dr. O. Based on the ultrasound images seen during the biopsy, Dr. O said it was not a cyst.
October 21: The endocrinologist's office called and said I needed to come in to meet with Dr. S to get the results of my biopsy. (I immediately knew it was cancer.)
October 22: I met with Dr. S and he told me I had cancer and needed my thyroid removed. He referred me to a surgeon.
October 29: I had a careful neck ultrasound to see if any lymph nodes on the sides of my neck needed to be removed. The radiologist said that only the nodes in the front of my neck near my thyroid needed to be taken out.
November 4: I met with the surgeon for the first time.
November 5: I had a total thyroidectomy and central lymph node dissection.
November 7: After struggling with hypocalcemia the previous day, I was released from the hospital.
November 10: I went to the endocrinologist's office for blood work
November 11: I met with the surgeon for a post-op evaluation. He had the pathology report, which showed I did have papillary thyroid cancer and it had spread to 10 of the 13 lymph nodes removed.
November 13: I met with Dr. S. He had the results of my blood work and said my TG level was low. He was ready for me to prepare for radiation, which meant a low-iodine diet and stopping my Synthroid so my TSH level would reach 30.
November 20: I went to the endocrinologist's office for blood work to check my TSH level.
November 24: A medical assistant from the endocrinologist's called and said I was ready for radiation--my TSH level was 38.
November 28: I went to the hospital to take my radiation. I received 150 mCi of I-131 in the form of two capsules. I swallowed them, then went home where I was in isolation for a week.
December 7: I went back to the hospital for my whole body scan.
December 9: A medical assistant from the endocrinologist's office called and said I had residual thyroid tissue in my neck, but no metastases.
December 23: I went back for yet another round of blood work.
December 30: I met with Dr. S who said my TG level has dropped about 25%. He increased my dosage of Synthroid from 100mcg to 137mcg.

It's hard to believe all this has happened in less than three months. But, at the same time, I am very glad that my treatment has moved along so rapidly. Thank you, Jesus, for giving me such awesome doctors!

"The Lord gives me strength and a song. He has saved me." Psalm 118:14

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Health Update

I went to my doctor for a check-up on Dec. 30. All went well--he was optimistic and felt good about how things are progressing. My TG (the cancer marker) level decreased from the previous month by about 25%! This means the radiation is doing its work. The doctor decreased my calcium from 3000mg a day to 1000mg a day and he is also weaning me off of the Rx strength vitamin D I've been taking. Please pray I don't become hypocalcemic again. The doctor also increased my dosage of Synthroid. Praise the Lord! My TSH level was 19 (definitely in the hypothyroid range) and he wants it to be 0.3. Hopefully with this increased dose I'll start feeling less tired soon. I go back in two months for more blood work and another check-up.

All this typing has tired me out. I'm moving to the couch.

Exterior illumination: a mishap?

Well, I didn't get a picture of the reindeer in the tree, but I did snap a picture of another neighbor's Christmas lights. (Neighbor: if you are somehow reading this blog I am sorry if I have embarrassed you, but please make necessary adjustments next year. The candles in the windows, however, looked very nice.)

Please pay attention to the bushes to the right of the stairs. If you find nothing amusing about these, then you do not have a perverted sense of humor like my family and I do. Kudos to you, but you're missing out on some laughs.