Sunday, February 27, 2011

" I don't want you anymore, cause you took my joy. I don't want you anymore, you took my joy. You took my joy, i want it back. You took my joy, I want it back. You got no right to take my joy, I want it back. You got no right to take my joy, I want it back. " Joy, by Lucinda Williams

O.k. cancer, you took my joy, I WANT IT BACK!! as cancer patients we have our share of sorrow, but we also have our joy. i intend on holding onto mine with both hands. there is the joy of my faith, my family and friends, but the joy i am talking about here is the joy that i find on my own- the kind that just involves me. i tended not to seek this joy out too much before i had cancer . i mean, as caregivers women generally tend to the needs of our families first, and put our needs second. of course there is the expression" if mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy", but still our joy revolves around other people.

the reason zumba is so important to me- besides getting my body in better shape and stronger- is that it gives me joy. my own joy. this is something that i "selfishly" do for myself and no one else. at my house  we are involved in a huge remodeling project. we are gutting 6 rooms and re-purposing them. my children and their spouses came home last weekend( could not have done it without them!) to help us clear out 25 years of stuff. we filled up a large "pod" in our driveway, as well as cramming the other rooms with some of our furniture.we also made several runs to goodwill, and to the landfill.  we have moved upstairs until the project is over- probably 3 months or so. well, on the last day i had a stupid accident and broke one of my toes. i called my doctor; he said while i could come in and have it x-rayed, all they could do would be to tape it to another toe. so i just decided to tape it myself. i did this on Sunday night. Monday and Tuesday at work were pretty tough. but you know what i was most worried about? Wednesday night- cause that is when i take my zumba class!

this may sound crazy, but i put extra tape on my toes, laced my dance shoes up tightly and went on! i told my instructor what i had done, and if i had to leave that was the reason.( i think that even she was surprised!). of course, i took some Advil that evening, but i did not regret my decision at all- well maybe not too much. that is my joy and i am holding onto it as tightly as i can!

my best advice to any cancer patient is to discover your OWN joy and never let it go. enjoy it and make it a priority. i guess this really is good advice to anyone- sick or not. it has taken me being sick to realize this,though. walk,ride your exercise bike, knit a sweater, take craft classes, or better yet, do zumba! whatever it is, find your joy and go with it.  

Saturday, February 26, 2011

"Thank you for letting me be myself, AGAIN..." Sly and the family stone

i am writing this blog today to thank all of the people who read this. because of your support and comments my blog has been chosen as one of the " 50 Inspirational Cancer Survivor Blogs." the entire list can be found on the the website called : " A hearty blog". on this website they list blogs about different types of cancer.  i started out writing this blog to help myself deal with my cancer- an outlet of sorts. then, i realized that perhaps i could offer support and information to others. Mary Shomon , who is the host of the website, "About" was gracious enough to mention me and my blog in one of her articles. from that, i was able to get the word out on my blog and connect with several others dealing with thyroid cancer. i just can not tell you how much it means to me to have contact with others who have thyroid cancer. your support has been a lifeline to me. i sincerely hope that i have helped you- by sharing my experiences and information.

at work one day this past week, someone said to me: "bea, you have changed. you are more authoritative, you really take charge!" i just laughed. i think that i have changed( as have most cancer patients i have talked to). but it is a good thing. i realize now more than ever  what is really important; i make decisions in a different way now. i speak my mind- though with a concern for others, i hope. well, except for the woman who thought she could take over my space in zumba class! lets just say she moved to another spot- she came in late and SHOULD have gone to the back. i stood up for myself and really stood my ground!

jokes aside, i have a different perspective on just about everything. when i have the talk with my endocrinologist next month- the one about me finding a new doctor, i know that it will not be easy. but i have to consider what is best for my health. it concerns me and my family- they are counting on me to do my best to beat this cancer and stay healthy. i sure am trying my best! i am looking forward to documenting the new testing procedures and maybe treatment that i will be receiving in April and May.  perhaps one of you will want to check into something that i will be doing. i will write about everything in detail and will gladly accept and answer any questions that i can.

until then, many thanks to everyone for their support and care. and i hope that all of us can be "ourselves" again!!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

"I"m off to see the (NEW) wizard,....if ever a wizard there was, the NEW wizard of Oz is ( i surely hope) is one..."

i have an ultrasound and appointment scheduled with my regular endocrinologist on march 31st. i am going to keep that appointment, because number one, i am curious about what is going on in my neck( if anything. hopefully my two remaining parathyroids are knitting a sweater, or something) and the second reason is that i am going to talk to my endocrinologist face to face. you see, i found another endocrinologist who specializes in papillary thyroid  cancer patients. her tests/treatments, from what i can see, seem to be cutting edge.she uses I-123 to do the tracer tests. now, i have never heard of I-123. i googled this- i went to the mayo clinic site, which i trust, and they only mentioned using this to test for adrenal gland tumors. but i am curious as to why this doctor uses this. it must be given IV, not in capsule form. she also does iodine study tests. i have never had one of those done, either.

i will admit that i owe my "old" endocrinologist a lot. she ordered the tests that (hopefully) saved my life- or at the very least, prolonged it. however, she did not look at my pathology report( nor did my surgeon) before she ordered my treatment dose of the I-131. i mentioned this in earlier blogs. anyway, she ordered a dose that was too small in my particular case.had the radiologist not caught this error and increased the dose from the 100 milicuries to 155 milicuries, i might have had to have another dose, or worse, more surgery. i am not sure how many papillary thyroid cancer patients that she sees, but i know that this new doctor sees a lot. her tests are ready for the patient to view within HOURS of the blood work being done! wow, it has taken me days, and weeks sometimes, to get my results previously. that is just needless stress on patients, i think.

my appointment with the new endocrinologist is on april 18th. i am due for another full body scan in may, so this works out pretty well. personally, i really like my old endo a lot, but i have to look out for what is best for me. i have not had the confidence to consider myself a "survivor" yet. i do not feel over this, and i keep looking over my shoulder at times.( having a little bit of trouble with skin cancer did not help things). anyway, i think that it is important for us all to find the best care that we can. maybe this time, i really will get to see the wizard and she will have something in her bag just for me.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

a cautionary tale/thank you note for everyone who reads this blog.....

a couple of days ago, i heard that Mary Murphy- a judge from the TV show " so you think you can dance" has been diagnosed with thyroid cancer. she had her surgery in December, and her treatment (it sounded like) last month. she is having trouble with her voice(!) and i have never watched this t.v. show, but it seems that she screamed a lot. now it seems, she just squeaks.( been there, still doing that- the squeaking, that is). i always have a mix of emotions when i hear about some celebrity having thyroid cancer. how far along is it? how will they deal with their recovery? will they share good and reliable information about the disease, or spread worrisome or fearful untruths?

i do know that Mary admitted in waiting too long before she went back to see her doctor. she said that she was instructed to "keep an eye on things" and she did not. she said that she was too busy,etc. to get it checked out. this is a cautionary tale that i hope prompts others, in a similar situation, to go on to their doctor. you might be surprised at the power of suggestion sometimes. a friend/doctor of mine and i were talking a few years ago about health issues. she asked me if i was up to date on my screening tests for cancer. i told her that i was- and i had my mammogram coming up the following month. she said, "gee, that reminds me. i am over-due for mine. i think i will make an appointment today." turns out, she had breast cancer. her treatment was pretty rough going, but she has been cancer free for five years now. she of course, made the appointment, but i like to think that by us talking about it, perhaps i had a tiny bit to do with her going on to her doctor.

that is a major incentive in me writing this blog. i sincerely hope that i can provide information that might help someone else get testing or treatment. i, too waited too long before i had my testing. i was seeing a doctor, but he did not do any ultrasounds or biopsies in the five years that i was his patient. he just said, " well, your blood work looks strange, but it is probably just stress". finally, i knew in my heart that something was not right- and i found another doctor, one who ultimately did the tests that probably saved my life. i wish, about every day, that i had gotten treatment before my cancerous nodules "exploded" and spread into two of my parathyroids and some of my lymph nodes. they tell me that my prognosis is still good, but i would have felt better had my thyroid been removed when the tumors were encapsulated. i.e., not venturing out into the rest of my body to see what mayhem they might cause somewhere else.

my blog also helps me felt connected with all of you who  are dealing with thyroid cancer. i am not alone! and you are not alone. i appreciate all of your comments and input. i hope that  i have shared good information with you. i hope that i have inspired you to get treatment from a doctor that is both knowledgeable and sensitive to your needs. i hope that everyone is taking good care of themselves- getting extra rest, exercising- is it too much to hope that some of you are now as addicted to zumba as i am??

i have found that since having cancer i am especially thankful for any good thing- large or small- that comes my way. i am so thankful for being able to blog, and for everyone that reads my blog. thanks  to each and every one of you, and please continue to get good health care, and  also  to take care of yourselves. tonight is zumba class, and as i try to shake the coins off of my belly scarf, i will be giving thanks for just being there.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

"You're a good soldier, choosing your battles, pick yourself up, and dust yourself off, get back the the saddle. when you fall, get up, oh,oh, and if you fall get up, oh,oh....the pressure is on, you feel it, but you've got it all, believe it, todays the day, i feel it, you paved the way, believe it....Tsemina mina eh,eh, waka,waka,eh,eh....." Waka, Waka by Shakira

i was singing this song( really, squeaking along- bad voice day today) on the way home tonight. it is a zumba song, so it makes me happy. and i am always one to get back on the saddle if, rather when, i fall off. sometimes though, it is also good to cut your losses, and fold. i am not very good at this. this weekend i had a wonderful time. i visited with my daughter and son-in-law and it was a jammed packed couple of days. Friday, i had a "make-over"- new hairdo and color, for those of you who did not see my facebook picture. it was a wonderful experience- the hair stylist was great, and did a wonderful job. i also went to a zumba class with my daughter on Saturday morning. this is not her usual zumba class, but she goes to this one occasionally.OMG i met the zumba police! i should have cut my losses, and left- like the woman behind me did. BUT NO, i decided to tough it out. instead of water breaks, we did jumping jacks or ran in place,etc, if this had been my first zumba class i do not think i would have gone to another one. the instructor weighed about 90 pounds, and really just bounced around from place to place. she had more energy than about 10 energizer bunnies. it would not have been so bad had she not expected us to be like her, but hey, even a 12 year old girl, who was trying to take the class with her mother, sat down at one point.

don't worry, i am going to my usual zumba class tomorrow night, and i am loving my zumba instructor even more. it has taken me a couple of days to recover from the Saturday class, but i think i will be o.k. tomorrow. i am not sure about the little girl.....

today i was talking to a nurse from a doctors office. we have  sort of gotten  acquainted over the phone- she is the person  who calls in this doctor's  prescriptions. i had my squeaky voice going on and she asked me if i was sick. i guess i could have said yes, but instead i told her a little bit about my situation. turns out, she has thyroid nodules, has never had a biopsy ,and does not see an endocrinologist! i am on a mission, so i had her promise to get them checked out. i will remind her, trust me, because i talk to her on a fairly regular basis. strange how things work out, isn't it? but i have the privilege to be able to talk to quite a wide variety of people. if i can help someone out, great. early detection and diagnosis being the key here. i told her, well only 5% of thyroid nodules are cancerous, but if you are in that  lucky 5 % like i was, then it is "statistically important"- to you.

Tsemina mina eh,eh, Waka,Waka, eh,eh. who knows what that means, but i love to sing it.squeaky voice and all.