Saturday, March 31, 2012

Dusting off my "cancer card"

After sticking the needle in my neck yet again, the biopsy was positive as we all expected. For the third time since 2008, the pathologist, Dr. Brown, told me that I have "metastatic papillary carcinoma."

Many who know me may remember that I had my thyroid removed in 2008, along with 14 lymph nodes, may ask "how can you have a recurrence if your thyroid is gone?" Thyroid cancer, or mine in particular - papillary carcinoma, can recur in a variety of forms and place other than the thyroid. For me, it is the right side of my neck in my lymph nodes. For my 2009 recurrence, three cancerous spots were found in the thyroid bed where my thyroid used to live.

What is next? I was able to meet with my endocrinologist Wednesday after the biopsy, and he presented options. Basically he could "blast me with radioactive iodine", but there is no guarantee they would "get" it all. His recommendation was to proceed with surgery, which is my choice as well. Well....maybe not my choice to get my neck chopped on, but it's the route I'm going with. I still may have a radioactive iodine blast post-surgery.

The surgery does not come without risks. There is a chance of nerve damage in a variety of ways. I could lose my voice or it could be very hoarse and weak as it was for three weeks post-surgery in 2008. There could be issues with calcium or the parathyroids. Surgery always has risk. Surgery for the third time on your neck - definitely risks. But I've got to do it. I can't walk around with cancer in my neck, right?

Emotionally, this time has been tougher than I thought it would. I know the drill, all about the surgery, the statistics so why so hard? It's not a "why me" kind of emotion. More of a "not again" anxiety and depression, to be honest. It doesn't help that since my biopsy, I haven't felt well at all. Cold and/or allergy medicine didn't touch it. Today I saw my primary doc, and she said with some swelling on my neck and a swollen throat that it is either a virus or a post-biopsy infection.

So let me get this straight, 2012: bronchitis that knocked me off my feet for weeks in January, a thyroid cancer recurrence, and a virus/infection post biopsy and it's not even April? C'mon....I'm not a fan of you so far, 2012.

So I'm dusting off my "cancer card" (see the book "Crazy Sexy Cancer" by Kris Carr) and will play it from time to time as needed. Sometimes, it's all too much, then I remember the great family and friends I have.....And that I will do all I can to fight to be around to see graduations, weddings, and grandchildren, and that makes all the difference in my attitude.


  1. Attitude is EVERYTHING, sister. We'll be over here, giving your cancer recurrence all of our middle fingers, literally. And praying for you, too. Whatever works!

  2. Thank you for your post. Today is not a good day and am sick and tired of the pain and feeling so unwell. trying to be positive is so hard sometimes but I smile and tell people that I'm ok. I decided to sit in front of my computer and read blogs of people who know what I am feeling. Seven years ago I thought that all my Thyroid issues were over but like you, I'm saying "not again!".

  3. Meg, you made me smile with the thought of you and Curt simultaneously giving my cancer the finger and praying...awesome! ha!

    Anonymous, I wish for you relief, answers, and peace. It's a hard road, this thyroid cancer business. It's OK to have bad days, just try to have more good. You can do it...hang in there.