Monday, September 3, 2012

Happy thyroid cancer awareness month to you, happy thyroid cancer awareness month to you, happy thyroid cancer awareness month to ( insert your name here, if this applies ;) happy thyroid cancer awareness month to you !

happy thyroid cancer awareness month, everyone! jeez, what a thing to celebrate. but, it is good that the public is becoming somewhat aware of the fastest growing cancer, to date. you can go to a more scientific website and find out the exact numbers, if you would like . thyroid cancer is not the" biggest in numbers" cancer, but it  is the fastest growing type. i wonder why? is it because people are beginning to " check our necks" or is it something more sinister( exposure to cancer causing agents in our food, the environment,etc?)

one endocrinologist that i went to, briefly, asked me " now, just how do you think that you got thyroid cancer?" i was puzzled on that one. she asked me if, when i was a child, did my parents like to take me down to the shoe store and have my foot x-rayed  for the proper shoe size? i told her no, i came from a small town that did not have anything fancier than an old metal shoe sizer that you stood on. i got my toes pinched a lot, though.after trying on my shoes,  i had to stand up and the sales person would mash down with all of their might to make sure i had room on the end of the shoe ( to grow) . somehow i do not think that this contributed to my getting thyroid cancer.

i know that there is a higher incidence of thyroid cancer for people who have been exposed to radiation from nuclear power plants. i have never been to one of those, nor do i live close to one. the manner in which the endocrinologist was asking me " just how did you get thyroid cancer" made me feel somehow responsible for my illness. did i mention that i went to this doctor briefly? this doctor was supposed to be a specialist in treating papillary thyroid cancer, and worked at a very large and well respected hospital. the doctor might have been conducting a study about " how i got thyroid cancer and lived to tell the story", i am not sure. i also am not sure why i got thyroid cancer. i do not feel responsible for my illness,though. it just happened. but here is another example of taking charge of your health care- i went to another doctor. ( one who has never asked me this question, by the way.)

i was fortunate enough to hear from another thyroid cancer survivor while i was working  this weekend. i call them my "peeps", and i always stop what i am doing at the pharmacy to come out and say hello and ask how they are doing. this was the first time that i had talked to this particular man. when he was diagnosed and being treated( about the same time as me, by the way), his wife came in to get his medicine. i talked to her briefly, but i was glad to finally meet the actual patient. he had a very interesting story to tell.

first of all, he had the same kind of thyroid cancer as me- papillary- and he was in the same stage as me. we are about the same age,too. he also lost two of his parathyroids to cancer, as well as several lymph nodes. he had his surgery at a major hospital, not the same place that i went,though. his scar looks great ( like mine does, i hope) and he told me that he is feeling pretty good now. the part of this that is very interesting is how he got his diagnosis.

one day he was outside in his front yard cutting limbs from a tree when one struck him right in the neck! it left a huge lump that did not go away, even after ice packs,etc. he decided to go to the doctor and have it checked out. he had an x-ray, ultrasound ,and finally a biopsy. he did not even know that he had thyroid disease, much less thyroid cancer. his wife told me that it was God saying, " hey, buddy, look here!". i am not sure, but i am sure that it is very fortunate that this "accident" happened and that he was able to get treated before it was too late.

bottom line, it is not important to try to find out why we have thyroid cancer. most of us will never know the answer to that question. what is important is to check our necks, follow up with any treatments that we may need, and do not hesitate to seek out a new doctor if we need one.we need to  be responsible about our health care. if we  feel uncomfortable about something, we need to  do research- read all that we  can from reputable sources. books, the internet( again, reputable sources) can be invaluable.one thing that i can not stress enough is to keep a file containing copies of all lab work and correspondence concerning our treatment.it is hard to remember everything- all the tests, results, etc. sometimes even keeping these can help our doctors with our treatment.

so, happy thyroid cancer awareness month to everyone. and i hope everyone is doing well and enjoying the good things in life. to end with a quote from my late dad : " LET'S HAVE CAKE!!!"


1 comment:

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