Sunday, May 30, 2010

good-bye ( for a little while) part two

tomorrow my husband and i leave for raleigh again. we will be spending the night at the same apartment ( in my daughters apartment complex) that we did last time. my doctors appointment is tuesday at 1pm, but i have to go to the hospital to get blood work done before my appointment.i will then meet with my surgeon so he can go over just what all he did to me.hahahahahah. i will find out about the biopsies, and hopefully if my precious,remaining two little parathyroids decided to stay with me or not.i sure hope so. not to complain, but 12 tums per day is so hard to do! they make me slightly nauseous. but my husband says he loves to see the face i make when i chew them up.haha.

also, i am going to try to fight for some more time off. two weeks is just not enough of a rest after this surgery. i do not know who in the insurance world decided two weeks was o.k. but i can bet you anything they have not had the surgery done themselves. my voice is a little better today.that is very good news, but now  i probably can not do voice overs for "froggy".. if i have to take unpaid leave. oh, well, things will work out how they are supposed to, i guess.

i found a pretty neat website yesterday. it is : it seems every type of cancer has its color.of course everyone knows breast cancer is pink,but did you know that multiple myeloma is  burgundy? my cancer was the only one with three colors: teal-pink-purple. i guess they ran out of single colors at this point??! you can order merchandise from there and they donate a part of it to cancer research. i ordered a bracelet and lapel pin.shipping was under 3 dollars, which was nice. it seems to be a pretty good website.

thanks again to all of my friends and family  for being so supportive and praying for me. i will let you know how things went just as soon as i get back!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

what did i expect???

 i have had a few bad days this week. i have had a fever of 100 degrees in the evenings. finally i called my doctor yesterday, and he said that a lot of people had fevers for several days after surgery. i did not know this. my usual temp runs about 97, so when it gets about this high, i feel bad. i am hoping this will stop soon. i take advil, and the fever usually goes away before morning, so i guess that is good.

my only two other experiences with surgery was when i had my kids. i had "repair work" after my first child,then a c-section with my second.of course i feel that these are "happy surgeries". i mean, you get a little bundle of joy after them,which makes everything worth it. and you are so happy i guess you don't notice the discomfort as much. the only joy associated with my thyroid surgery would be if the surgeon got all of the cancer. but of course i will not know that for sure for some time. after the radioactive iodine, and whole body scan. boy, am i in for some more fun this summer!lol

i promised myself that i would not whine on this blog. but i thought that i would be honest in how i am might be helpful to someone else who is going to have this done.all i heard from everyone, was "so and so had this surgery and they got along great!" i guess i am doing pretty well, but i sure have had some ups and downs. i normally am a pollyanna type of person.when i get knocked down, i get right back up. problem is, i am having some trouble getting back up this time. i think my body is pretty mad at me about now. " where is ms. thyroid? and why is she not taking care of us?" she flew the coup guys, and now we have to rely on modern medicine to get us through.i am sure that when i get my thyroid hormone regulated at a dose to suit my body, i will feel better.sometimes i wish that people could experience hypothroidism just for a day, say, and then they might understand things a little bit better.

o.k. i will get off of my soapbox now. and, also, i will take a little sharp white cheddar with my whine.i hope everyone has a wonderful memorial day weekend.

Friday, May 28, 2010

i'm feeling a little "froggy" today

do you remember froggy from the little rascals? well, he and i talk alike now! i remember thinking that his voice was cute, however, i do not think the same thing about mine. i called my endocrinologist yesterday to try to schedule some blood work or something. there is an unwritten ( maybe not unwritten) law  that says that i can not see her until i have my last visit with my surgeon. the visit with my surgeon is scheduled for next tuesday. then, i am to call her office and they will schedule an office visit with her.

yesterday was probably the worst day i have had so far. well, the voice thing, but also i was really depressed and could not make myself move. my endocrinologist called me and doubled by levoxyl( thyroid supplement) dose. i started the new dose today, but i guess it will take a few days to get into my system. i am really glad that my doctor did this without having to do bloodwork, or see her first. she said that the increased dose would probably help my voice as well. ( i am not sure how that would work, but o.k.)

besides being froggy, i was also foggy yesterday. last evening, i was going to call my daughter. we talk almost every single day. well, i could not remember her phone number!! i was so upset. i mean, i called two other people my mistake ( they were very nice about it) and then i could not think of where to look for her number! finally i found it.i was thinking about my surgeon, what he said about my job. do you do heavy lifting? well, i may not do heavy lifting, but i sure need to be mentally sharp to do my job. hopefully he will consent for me to have some more time off. it is hard to describe, even to another health professional, what i do all day.i am not whining,but it is important that i am clear mentally, as well as being able to lift things.

i still have not heard from those other biopsies on my neck lymph nodes. i guess he will let me know on tuesday.i usually am impatient about news like that, but really i have had a lot to deal with lately, and it is fine with me to wait. i will consider no news good news for now.oh, and if i have to take an unpaid leave of absense, i  figured out what i can do for some short term income: i can do voice overs for froggy. who knew??

Thursday, May 27, 2010

yesterday, i had ( what my grandma called) a "setback"

when i was little, whenever i was sick, i stayed with one of my grandmas. my parents both worked,so my grandma took care of me. i sure could have used her yesterday and some today, i guess. she made biscuits and the absolute best in the world, black raspberry jelly.she " took by temperature" by kissing my forehead. she usually made a bed on the couch for me  and we watched game shows, and the tennessee ernie ford show- her favorite. i still laugh when i think about what he used to say, which was: (" well, bless your little pee picking heart!") i could not believe that someone could say " pee" on t.v ! .when i got too rowdy, i.e, wanted to go outside to play, or started jumping on the couch, she would always tell me to rest or i would get a "setback". sounded pretty horrible to me, so i usually did what she said.

anyway, i guess i over did it. i went into town to have blood work done and i did some grocery husband drove me, but it was still too much, i guess. i had a fever last night, and my voice sounds just awful today. i had a "coughing fit" last night, and i guess that hurt my vocal cords a little. i bet it is only temporary,though.i am being impatient with myself- i think i should be able to do more, and also there has been some hassle with my medical leave. it all boils down to the insurance company not wanting to pay for more time off than they need to. now, i would not try to get more time off than i need, but really, i am not physically or mentally ready to return to work. rest is what i need more of, and i hope i can figure out a way to get some more.

lesson for today is: for heavens sake, rest up and get better. be patient  with yourself. do NOT stress out about the insurance company, and most important thing of all, try not to get a" setback,"  but if you do,rest more and you will be feeling better soon. oh, and  bless everyone's little pee picking hearts.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

"i have to admit i'm getting better, a little better every day: ( the beatles- sort of)

i am feeling less like a transfer truck has run over me today! of course i feel better in the morning and early afternoon after i have had a good nights sleep. i use ice packs through out the day, and i take a big dose of advil at bedtime, but pain medicine makes me so sick that i stopped that in the hospital. my nurse was shocked. she went down the list of drugs that i could have for pain: how about dilaudid?morphine? percocet? vicodin? well,then how about DARVOCET!! i declined them all. she was not happy with me.but she did bring me an ice pack- it was refillable, so i guess it was more work for her. sorry:( 

i do admit that i take something for sleep. it relaxes me so that i can go on to sleep.i tend to rehash things at bedtime- what if this, what if that,etc,. useless stuff, really. this is silly, but i am dreading/looking forward to the "super glue" coming off of my neck! my surgeon said that it would come off ( he did not say how) after 5-7 days. it has been six days. i keep thinking about that ghost story about the woman with the black velvet ribbon around her neck. she told her sweetheart not to touch it, but of course he did, and her head rolled off!! hahahahaha. lets hope that does not happen to me.

also, i am going to wash my hair tomorrow! i do not think that ever in my whole life have i gone an entire week without washing my hair.( the surgeon said i could not get my neck wet) i love that girl on american idol- boy can she sing! but to be honest, my hair is beginning to look a whole lot like hers. she planned her look, though, and i did not.

i am beginning to think that i will not get any more health news from my doctors office ( specifically about the biopsies) until i go back to see him on june 1st. i guess no news is good news? anyway, thanks for reading this, and maybe i should plan on singing to my patients when i go back to work.or not.

Monday, May 24, 2010

" yeah, the W-A-I-T-I-N-G is the hardest part" ( Tom Petty)

i am waiting for the biopsy report on the lymph nodes in both sides of my neck.i am also waiting to see if either of my remaing two parathyroid glands have decided to stay with me. you know, the waiting is the hardest part of this whole ordeal i think. i had to wait almost a month between my cancer diagnosis and my surgery. every time i put on makeup,fixed my hair,i,e, looked in the mirror, i would stare at my neck.i would think, well, there doesn't look like there is a monster in there, but of course there was kind of creepy. i was really glad to have it taken out. on the positive side, i do not feel like someone is choking me almost all of the time,, and my voice was better immediately after surgery. my family noticed this,too. before my surgery, for several months really, my voice was scratchy,froggy,etc. people would ask me if i had a cold. i like to sing, and i could not do that very well. i have not tried since my surgery, but hopefully that will be better,too. on the consent to surgery form, there was a question: " are you a professional singer?" my husband wanted me to put down "yes" so the surgeon  would be extra careful with my vocal cords. i said no, of course. ( can't you just see me breaking into song at the pharmacy? maybe singing drug interactions, reactions,etc to the patients?) but the surgeon was very careful with my vocal cords anyway, it seems.

what keeps me sane ( i guess i am!) is the love and support of my family and friends. i really do enjoy writing this blog. it is funny, but i never paid much attention to what a blog was before i got sick. i would never have guessed in a million years that i would have a blog. i really hope that maybe someone reading this can get some useful information, get his/her thyroid checked out,or just offer support to someone they know who may be going through this.a really helpful book on thyroid disorders of any kind is: The Thyroid Sourcebook, by Sara Rosenthal. i highly recommend this book. even if you have many reference books on thyroid disorders, you will learn something new in this book.

well, i guess i will go back to W-A-I-T-I-N-G , and who knows, maybe i will get good news tomorrow.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

everyone came home.....

i am so lucky that everyone came home to see me. both of my children and their spouses. last night, they were all sitting on my bed and we were talking. i thought that no matter what happens in the future, i was just about the luckiest and happiest person out there.

wednesday, i have to go have my calcium level checked at my family doctors office. i am so black and blue, they will have no trouble seeing where not to stick. i just hope that they can find somewhere where i have not been stuck yet! my neck still hurts quite a bit, but i am using ice packs 24/7 and taking a pretty large dose of ibuprofen.that helps with the pain and swelling, but does not make me nauseous.i would recommend frequent ice packs to anyone having this surgery. they have helped me a lot-i use the gel, reusable ones.

i walked down the road, well, o.k. i guess i strolled slowly, down the road today. it was good to get outside a bit and i know it is good for me. sometimes i get discouraged by not being my old self, but i have to remember that it has only been a few days since the surgery. i have to have some patience with myself.

yesterday my niece got married. i was not able to attend, but my husband, son, and daughter-in-law was a very beautiful wedding they said. they honored my mother, who died from cancer last year, by having several displays of beautiful butterflies scattered around at the reception. my mom loved butterflies, so that was perfect. i read in one of my thyroid books, about a woman who bought a butterfly necklace to replace the butterfly( her thyroid) that she had lost.i think i will look for a necklace,too. for me and mom.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

"There is no place like home!!"........

 well, i made it home! it was a rather long drive yesterday since i did not feel too well, but i was so happy to be back home. the surgery went well. it did take about 4 hours, but they only removed the lymph nodes around my thyroid and of course, all of my thyroid. he biopsied the lymph nodes on both sides of my neck, but he said they looked pretty good. of course, i will have to wait until they get the results back to know for sure. i about freaked out when i thought that he might have to "go back in" to get the lymph nodes should they be cancerous. but as i understand it, if that happens, they will use a very large dose of radioactive iodine,radiation,chemo,or whatever.the surgeon is worried about my parathyroid glands. we all have four; i only have two now,but he is not sure if they will reconnect. these glands regulate calcium production in the body. i am taking ( this is NOT a typo!) 12,000 mg of calcium a day! if they do not reattach,then i will be on this dose for life.i am also on a special vitamin d. everybody keep their fingers crossed those little guys find a home and stay put.

i had the best cna taking care of me in the hospital, her name is lucy. lucy and i walked down the hall( well, to be honest, half way down the hall) at 1am thursday morning. i had two ivs in- one in my right hand, and one in my left arm. i was carrying my emesis bucket( the large size) because i had gotten sick four times after surgery( i hate anesthesia; i had the same kind michael jackson was fond of ) i had on my beautiful hospital gown- you know, the ones that provide too much view in the back, and we were walking like two turtles down the hall. no, i take that back, any turtle could have passed me! i did everything i could to get to come home early.

i do not remember too much about my surgery day. my blood pressure was sky high- 165/89- it usually runs about 110 to 120 over 68; so they gave me some "happy juice" they called it- i know it as the drug of the nurses told me to think about something happy- Jamaica,. he says. i have never been to Jamaica, so i thought about a beach trip i had taken with my family. of course that lasted about a second,then they got on with things.i do not remember the recovery room at all,but i probably had the intubation tube still in, so that is a good thing.

i got back to my room about 3 or 4; my family was all there. there was some poor older man hollering a couple of rooms down from mine. they thought i was asleep, but i said " that can't be good!!"that made everyone laugh, so that was good. i finally really came around about 5:30pm. my daughter's students had all made homemade get well cards for me. that was so sweet and kind of them. i will cherish them.

i will just rest and try to get better now. i have a follow up appointment with my surgeon on june 1st.then back to my endocrinologist.who knows what is ahead, but i feel pretty good about things.thanks to everyone again for your prayers and good wishes.

Monday, May 17, 2010

good-bye ( for a little while)

i made it through this weekend! i worked saturday and sunday, so that my partners would not have to pick those days up, also, i think it was good for me. i was incredibly tired near the end of the day- especially on sunday. i love my job,though- i love helping people with their health care. i was the only one in my family not to go into education, but in a way, really i did. i think my job is health education, so i guess i am like the rest of my family, in my own way.

this will be my last blog until after my surgery. a good friend of mine came by to see me yesterday. she is in health care, and it was so good to see her. she thinks that i will be in the hospital for more than one day,though. i am not sure- it just depends on how it goes, i guess. so i may not get back to this blog until sometime next week.but writing this has been so good for me, and i hope that it may be helpful to someone else sometime. i will definitely continue this after my daughter said that my surgery sounded like a "greys anatomy" surgery, in that it is sort of complicated and interesting.i guess that is a good thing(?!!) i will write about some of the interesting parts, but i promise not to scare anyone!

i have had so many friends wish me well and say prayers. again, i can not thank them enough. these are the things that i really need now. i am so appreciative of all the support i have had from my family and friends.THANK YOU,THANK YOU,THANK YOU!! and thanks to one of my daughters friends for that comment on my blog. it was very sweet. hope you are doing well, by the way.

Friday, May 14, 2010

the scariest thing.........

i just read about an actress, a young actress, who plays in the tv series, " 24"  her name is katey, i believe. she had thyroid cancer last year and said that it was the scariest thing that had ever happened to her. and that she took nine months off to recover after her surgery( she did not mention lymph nodes- i guess it was confined to her thyroid) lucky girl. she also said that she was still in therapy to deal with all that had happened to her.

i hope to get to take off several weeks- i do not think that it will be nine months. i think that therapy may be a good idea. this is also the SCARIEST THING THAT HAS EVER HAPPENED TO ME,TOO!! the only thing worse for me, would be if something were to happen to one of my children.i think that i may look into counseling. i have never been bitter about this, but sometimes i feel like it is happening to someone else. it just does not seem real at times- perhaps it is just too much to handle. also, i feel like every ache or pain that i have somewhere else may be the cancer spreading. i will have to wait until the full body scan to find that out for sure, and knowing me, i will probably wonder about the accuracy of the test.

this of course takes me back to living in the moment and appreciating every day. i will certainly be glad when my surgery is over.......5 days and counting.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

" All systems are go!!"- 6 days until my surgery

 well, i went for my pre-surgery checkup yesterday. i was afraid that they were going to find something wrong that might stop or post pone the surgery, but everything seems fine. ( all i have is a really bad thyroid,lymph nodes) the hospital is very nice and the staff was great. the nurses were very friendly and told me exactly how my surgery would go- time wise. i feel pretty good about things.

i guess now i just need to keep my spirits up and be in a good frame of mind for the surgery. that is really all that i can do. thanks again to all the people who have said prayers for me and have sent good wishes my way. i really appreciate all of you.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

thanks to the grateful dead

my daughter, as part of my mothers day gift, put together a "mix cd " of positive and upbeat songs. i laughed/cried when i first heard it(i was driving home to visit my dad,and the cd is just about exactly the time it takes for me to get to his house) the first song was " a touch of grey" by the grateful know the one, " i will survive",etc, well, i will try my best,sweetie. also on the cd was tom pettys " i won't back down" also, fleetwood mac's " don't stop thinking about tomorrow" there were several songs i was not familiar with- i just have found out who taylor swift is! but i loved all the songs, and i especially love all the thought and care that went into making this cd for me. i will truly enjoy it.

tomorrow i have my physical before my surgery. my husband and i are staying at a favorite bed and breakfast tonight, so we will not have to drive so far tomorrow. my husband has been very supportive, but this is hard on him,too. planning little treats, like staying at this bed and breakfast helps make this experience a little better.i am not suggesting that anyone break the bank, but little treats do help to keep spirits up.

i took a few vacation days off from work so that i can literally and figuratively " get my house in order". i will be working this weekend, but then my medical leave of absense starts monday. my surgery is wednesday, one week from tomorrow. i am not sure how long i will need to be out to heal, but i am giving myself this time to get better before i go back to my hectic job.

i have always thought that i know what is really, really important. but having this illness has made me examine my life even more. i think that i need to have more fun and work less. ( but i still have to pay my bills!) i try to take some time to appreciate each day- call it meditation or whatever you would like to call it. but appreciating each day is important. i have thought about spiritual matters as well. i think nourishing your spiritual being is as important as your physical self. i think that there are many paths one can take on this trip,though, and i certainly do not have all the answers there. i have friends with very different religions; i have always thought tolerance is best.

somehow this leads me back to the grateful dead song- every silver lining has a touch of grey. thanks, sweetie

Monday, May 10, 2010

what not to say to a cancer patient

Some very nice, very well meaning people have said this to me after i told them i had thyroid cancer: well, then that is the GOOD cancer to have!! to this i have smiled and nodded my head. my brain was saying, however, okey dokey,then please by all means, have mine!! my thyroid cancer is in my lymph nodes as well, which will have to be removed. i will not be sure that it has not spread until sometime after surgery- perhaps until my whole body scan later on. i am a positive person, but i really do not think of my cancer as being the " good kind". so please if you know someone with thyroid cancer, refrain from making this comment!! it will be greatly appreciated by them- i know this for sure.

i have read that thyroid cancer in women has surpassed breast and lung cancer, as far as percentage of new cases.  i am not sure if this is because more people are getting diagnosed, or if there is something else causing the increase.i have eaten organic food for a long time, and continue to do so. i think it is better for me, especially now. i know it is more expensive, but could additives, pesticides, etc, in our food be causing us more problems, as far as causing cancer? i wish i knew more about the causes of thyroid cancer. i am concerned about my children, who will need to be diligent about getting their thyroids checked now.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

happy mothers day!!

happy mothers day, everyone. i am so thankful for my children and their spouses. in fact, my son in law helped me with setting up my blog. he and my daughter helped make this possible. i hope that i can help someone else who has thyroid cancer get some information that might help them. i do recommend anyone with thyroid cancer, or anyone who knows someone with thyroid cancer, to buy this book: Thyroid cancer, by Sara Rosenthal. ms. rosenthal is a thyroid cancer survivor herself, and she has wonderful information in this book. i read it right after my diagnosis, and it really helped inform and reassure me on some issues. i highly recommend this book.

what events led me to this point? some things you might want to know- if you have thyroid nodular disease or not, is that if you have extreme tiredness, voice changes, neck pain, that seem worse or suddenly appear, please check with your doctor. 95% of all nodules are benign, but you could be in the other 5% , like me.

first, i had an ultrasound. i had not had one in 5 years, and this one showed that my nodules had doubled in size. the thyroid hormone i was taking was supposed to shrink the nodules, or at least keep them the same size. because of this, my doctor ordered a biopsy.i had a fine needle biopsy( the needle was not fine- it hurt like hell!!) i packed an ice pack for the ride home( my doctor is 4 hours away) but i could not take any ibuprofen for 24 hours after the procedure. it is a precautionary measure to prevent bleeding. like an idiot, i went to work the next morning ( i had the biopsy done at 4pm the day before). it was truly a miserable day! do not do this- take the day off. as soon as i was able to take some ibuprofen i felt better. i had 8 samples taken, and my doctor said that all 8 tested positive for cancer. i believe she was as shocked as i was( well, almost)

so, i decided to go with the surgeon that she recommended. i would not want to go to a surgeon that has not done this procedure many times! of course, there are risks and things happen to the best of us, but the odds seem better to me. i met with the surgeon and he did an ultrasound on the lymph nodes around my thyroid and neck area. it was then that he informed me that the cancer had spread to that area. although he assures me that he thinks he can "get it all" in the surgery i can not help but worry. hopefully this will be the case, but of course,we will not know for sure until after the procedure.

i know that i will be in for some radioactive iodine treatments, whole body scans, etc, but i will just deal with it when it comes up. at this point i want to thank everyone who has been praying for me. my family, friends, co-workers, and some people i really do not even know. i do believe in the power of prayer, and i really, really appreciate all the love and consideration that i have received.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

why i am writing this blog

i was diagnosed with thyroid cancer last month. what a shocker!! i have had thyroid disease for several years. i have thyroid nodules, and have had three biopsies. the third one was the charm-haha. they found the cancer and now have to remove all my thyroid, lymph nodes and probably lymph nodes in my neck. my surgery is scheduled for may 19th.this has been difficult for me to deal with, as well as for my family. i am trying my best to be positive and keep my sanity and my sense of humor intact. i will let you know about  how my surgery goes, my recovery, and post treatment issues.please let me know if you are dealing with similar issues, and i will try to share information as i get it.