Skip to main content

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.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

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…

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:

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…