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Changing the Focus

I will turn 50 this month. In honor of this milestone -- and just because I want to -- I am changing the focus of my blog.

10 years ago at the age of 40, I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer -- papillary carcinoma. I started this blog after my first surgery as a means to communicate. I had lost my voice for about three weeks, and speaking was a challenge. Many well-meaning folks called in the days after my surgery to check on me. While it was fine that Chris and my mom provided updates, I missed being in contact with people. So I started writing.
Along the way, I learned that I liked to write and also found other cancer patients and survivors along the way. I needed an outlet, and, unexpectedly, my blog provided some perspective for those newly diagnosed as well as those of us who must endure the various follow-up visits and the anxiety that accompanies them.
My last cancer blog post was three years ago. Believe me, the anxiety is still there, but after two recurrences, I've had no…
Recent posts

After a year, I'm still waiting....and waiting

Here I am back again at my blog talking about thyroid cancer again. I had my yearly appointment last week with Dr. Wartofsky. It was an interesting one. He had two students in the exam room with us. I didn't mind. He's one of the best thyroid cancer doctors in the world (I'm not kidding) so please, spread your knowledge to any who will listen.

He could have easily said, gesturing to me, "This is exhibit A, a papillary carcinoma patient who has had multiple recurrences." I actually think he did that before I came in the room.
I started the appointment with honesty: "Hey, I am really nervous because I have not gone a year between appointments since my recurrence." He understood. The students nodded.
I showed the students my scars along with their accompanying stories. I have two scars: one large one about five inches long centered on my neck, lower half, and the other about three inches long on the upper right side of my neck. The longer one was used twi…

No News is Good News

It's been over a year since I have posted here, and truly, no news is good news. I have had two rounds of blood tests with normal results. Plain old boring. I'm a fan of boring when it comes to thyroid cancer.

September is the next time I am to check in with Dr. W. What this means? An appointment for him to do a physical examination of my neck, and he will provide an order for blood tests. Dr. W has decided to "semi-retire," which apparently means he only sees patients two days a week now. I'm glad the "semi-" is attached to his retired status as I just found him two years ago, and he is the only endocrinologist with which I am comfortable. Of note, he only sees patients with thyroid cancer whereas "regular" endos see all sorts of patients, mainly those with thyroid diagnoses such as Hashimoto's or diabetes. For me, this has made a huge difference.

So that's the incredibly boring update. After thyroid cancer three times in four years.…

Back to the Doctor...and 10 Things I Hate About Thyroid Cancer

OK, look at the last time I added a blog post....yes, January. Ridiculous. It's been too long since I've written, and I apologize for that. Time marches on, for the good or bad, and it has slipped away from me.

One item on my thyroid cancer timeline I see not documented in my blog: I did get more bloodwork done in April. It was good news: no change in the thyroglobulin. Just gotta keep on top of it and make sure that it doesn't get above 2.0.

I'm going to see Dr. W on Friday to check in, let him tell me it's time to get it and the TSH checked again. And...OK, here's the thing: I feel something/am having strange twinges on the left side of my neck. Everything has been on the right side to date so maybe......what is it? I will listen to my gut and let Dr. W tell me it's nothing rather than assuming that. Because even though I can say "oh, it's nothing," the thinking about it and worrying will drive me crazy.

Also, I discovered yesterday an amaz…

Light at the end of the tunnel

It's been a long, hard road for me this third time around with thyroid cancer. My third diagnosis with papillary carcinoma, this time in my lymph nodes of my neck, came in March 2012. My third diagnosis of papillary carcinoma in four years.

I knew the drill, been through it before, but I was stunned that I had to do it all again. After my surgery, I pushed alot of people away, scared that this was it. That I would never be well again. That I was the 2% of people who die from papillary carcinoma.

Yesterday I completed follow up testing for my third round with thyroid cancer last year. My blood test needed to be under 2.0, and it was 0.5. Also, the radiologist who has done every ultrasound and needle biopsy on my thyroid/neck since 2008, said of yesterday's very thorough ultrasound: "Let's give you some good news for once. I see nothing. Nothing to watch or be concerned about."

THIS is terrific news. 

I may never have to fight this battle again. I might have to fi…

Dr. W calls again....and again

So Dr. W finally got back with me about the letter I sent him in September. He called last Friday, and I missed his call.  He left a message that said he would call back AND HE DID. I mean, wow. Not very often a doctor will try to call a second time. He had a good excuse for his delay in contacting me as he had been out of the country, and I can understand that.

Remember, right after third surgery my thyroglobulin (TG) was 0.5. My concern was in August, it was 1.3. Was an increase, even if under 2.0, bad in terms of changing his mind on radioactive treatment or anything else? He basically said not to worry about the increase in TG because it was still under the magic number of 2.0. There were a number of factors that could have affected it to change just that little bit.

What's next? Dr. W said to go see him in January 2013 for an exam and the order for the next blood draw to check out my TG again and ultrasound. Basically, I will enjoy the holidays and deal with this again next …

Letter to Dr. W

The latest and greatest (?) on the beast that is thyroid cancer, best expressed via the letter I sent to my new endocrinologist/thyroid cancer specialist: