Wednesday, February 18, 2015

"Thyroid cancer is NOT the good cancer!" i am so glad that this topic is being discussed, and that more people are beginning to realize that thyroid cancer is not something to be dismissed, or made light of. the following is a discussion ( perhaps) between barbie ( fashion icon) and midge( her best friend )

the conversation between barbie and her best friend midge went something like this:

barbie: " hi midge! i have not seen you in a while. like, where have you been?"

midge: " well, i have had cancer, barbie and have been recuperating for a while."

barbie: " oh, no! what kind of cancer did you have?"

midge: " papillary thyroid cancer with follicular variant, stage 3. my surgeon had to remove all of my
thyroid, plus two of my parathyroids, which were also cancerous, plus eleven lymph nodes."

barbie: " thank goodness you had the GOOD cancer, midge! you had me worried there for a while!"

midge: " well, it is not the good cancer, barbie! i had to take a sort of "chemo", called radioactive iodine( RAI 131). it was a rather large dose, 155 milicuries, and i have had a few problems with my salivary glands from the RAI. i  will also  have to be monitored with blood tests and scans  for the rest of my life. the recurrence rate for my cancer is about 30% and can reoccur  in 5, 10 or even 20 years from now. i also will have to take a thyroid replacement hormone for the rest of my life. my dosage will change often, and i will have to have regular blood tests to make sure my dosage is in range to keep me feeling well, while suppressing any thyroid cancer cells that may be circulating throughout my body."

barbie: " really, midge? i thought that you guys with thyroid issues just took a magic pill and everything was great!"

midge: " seriously, barbie? do you really think that a supplement hormone, synthetic or naturally derived, can take the place of the natural hormone that a healthy thyroid makes? the thyroid gland is called the master gland of the body. it controls everything in your body- every cell and every tissue. basically, barbie, from your perfectly dyed blond hair to your perfectly painted red toe nails."

barbie:" gosh, midge, when you put it like that, it is starting to make sense! why on earth would people call this the good cancer?"

midge: : " i have no idea, barbie, but maybe now at least you, ken and skipper will understand the truth behind the " good cancer " myth."

when i was first diagnosed with thyroid cancer, i was understandably scared. when someone told me that i had the good cancer, it was a relief of sorts. then i did lots of reading, and of course, experienced things first hand. at first, when well meaning people would tell me that i had the good cancer, i would let it go. NOT ANY MORE. i inform them, politely of course- they are not mean, just not well informed, that there is no good cancer. a year after my thyroid cancer was diagnosed, i had skin cancer. it was a fairly large squamous cell on my leg. i did not require any further treatment, other than in-office surgery to remove it. i honestly was not too worried about this, even though about 4,000 to 5,000 people die from this kind of skin cancer every year. i would never trivialize this, however. i repeat, there is NO GOOD CANCER.

a side note. i asked my doctor to prescribe cytomel for me. i am taking a small dose, 5mcg, and while i am now on one tablet daily, my endocrinologist has prescribed it for two a day, which i will probably work up to. adding cytomel has made me feel better- i have more energy in the late afternoon, and oddly enough, my vision has improved( i was having some blurry vision in the late afternoon). my doctor and i talked about perhaps adding cytomel at my last visit. my t3 had gone down almost a point, and while it was still in the normal range, it was low normal. when i started having symptoms, i contacted her and she prescribed it for me, my next round of tests is in april. i guess that i will be able to see how my t3 is at that time.

i hope you enjoyed this silly blog! and yes, i had barbie dolls when i was little. midge was my favorite however( she had red hair and freckles like me). if we can get barbie to understand that thyroid cancer is not the good cancer, maybe the rest of the world will follow.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

" You picked a fine time to leave me, Lucille..." WAIT, THAT IS NOT WHAT I WANTED TO SAY! this is what i want to say: " I'M BAAAAACCCCKKK!!"

during my husband's eight week recovery from his second hip replacement, Christmas at my house 9 days after his surgery, and work, i have come to a startling conclusion: no, i am not the energizer bunny! i have let my blog go, i have not read a book in a while( this almost never happens), i have not been to zumba in a while( this also almost never happens), just to name a few of my favorite things that i have not had the energy or time to do. things are beginning to get back to yet another kind of " new normal", so hopefully i will again be able to do some of the things that i most enjoy .

now, my husband is an excellent patient. i am lucky. he never whines or complains .he has done just what the doctor told him to do- physical therapy, etc, in fact, he has a tendency to do too much. . but the hip surgery this time was a little harder on him. it was his right hip, so he could not drive for a very long time. that meant that i got to do quite a few extra chores. my favorite( can you detect the cynicism here?) was the trip to take our trash off. i thought i could do it, no problem. after all, how  hard could it be? i got the recyclables in their correct bins, and then headed to the main trash bin. i heaved the garbage bag over my shoulder and was aiming for the bin. now, i- like most people- know something about gravity. that trash bag did not go forward as planned, but almost landed me on my rear end! i just had to laugh at myself, along with a couple other people who were there. my subsequent trips to take the trash off went a lot better, i am happy to report.

sometimes i forget that i am living with a chronic illness. yes, i take a thyroid supplement each day and people, and that includes me sometimes, think that the "magic pill "is all that i need. i had no choice but to have that darn thyroid and two of my parathyroids removed. i am grateful to be alive. however, this is a game changer, so to speak. i get " power outages" i like to call them, when i do too much at work/home/ or wherever. i simply can not move sometimes when i get home! also, i have been having trouble with my vision- my eyes (TED?) get blurry and that makes reading a book difficult when i get home. i am not complaining, well, maybe a little bit. but my point is that we, as thyroid cancer patients, need to take extra good care of ourselves. i have been adding an extra hour of sleep  on to my bedtime, and that has helped some. sometimes, though, and i have heard this from other thyroid patients, the sleep that we get is not " good sleep". oh, to sleep like i did when the kids were little! i was so happy to get to bed, i just passed out. an elephant could have held a zumba class in my bedroom and i would not have woken up.

so, please take care of yourself, be gentle, and be patient. say no to extra stuff that you know will push you over the edge of what you can comfortably do. i am hopefully going to be back on my blog on a regular basis. i have a ton of books in my" to read pile" that i will be starting on. my zumba bag is now at least packed and ready to go. and i have a topic for next time's blog. " thyroid cancer is not the good cancer, and i am not going to take it anymore!!" stay tuned......