Wednesday, April 8, 2015

an unexpected journey........................" no, i do not want any adventure, not today!" quote from the hobbit by JRR Tolkien

some of the symptoms that i had when i was first diagnosed with thyroid cancer were extreme tiredness( and i am not talking about the " usual" tiredness, but one that is so pronounced that at times i was not sure that i had the energy to drive home from work) and my severe(anaphylatic) reaction to sulfite preservatives in food. after my surgery and treatment for thyroid cancer, and with the help of my allergist, these two symptoms improved. i was not as tired, and while my allergy to sulfites did not go away, it was much improved. i was actually able to eat SOME  foods that had once made me sick.

you can imagine my concern when these two symptoms came back! so, i called my endocrinologist about three months ago, and since my t-3 was a point down from my usual reading, we reasoned that it was my lower t3. she prescribed a 5mcg dose of cytomel to add to my levoxyl dose. i decided to take the cytomel in the afternoon - when i began to crash. as for the worsening of my sulfite allergies- well, i did not know what to think. i saw my allergist about two months before i saw my endocrinologist and began my " thyroid cancer journey" and at that time my allergist  said that she thought that i may have a malignancy somewhere in my body. but where?

my big thyroid cancer check up is at the end of this month. honestly, i thought that my thyroid cancer must have returned. the two places that thyroid cancer typically migrates to is the lungs and/or  bones. i had just had a chest x-ray last month . ( i was planning on getting a knee replacement in may and had to have a pre-surgery physical. ) my chest x-ray was perfect- no lung problems. my bones were fine, as far as my doctors and i know, so no problems there.

a couple of weeks ago, i had my  yearly mammogram and pap test. i got a call from my gynecologist's office that i needed more studies on my left breast. this has happened before- in fact three times. i have dense breasts with calcifications. i was not worried. i went to a diagnostic center for a 3-D mammogram and ultrasound. the radiologist showed me the films and said that i have a mass in my left breast. he said that it was very suspicious. ok, now i am worried.  from there , i went to see a surgeon who is experienced in breast surgery. he told me that he usually does not tell patients this before the biopsy results come in, but he was pretty sure that i have breast cancer.

i can not even begin to tell you what a shock that was! i do not have any risk factors, there is no breast cancer in my family at all, and i breast fed my children. the only "culprit" may have been the estrogen and progesterone tablets that i have taken for a few years. so, the next step was to have a  breast biopsy. i had that on monday at 10am. the biopsy was done by a radiologist who specializes in breast biopsies. he and his staff were wonderful to me. kind, professional, and they tried to make things as comfortable for me  as possible.

today i received the official results: yes, i have breast cancer. my surgeon told me that i have a cancer that is called " invasive lobular". it is a rare form ( figures) which only comprises about 10% of all breast cancers. the mass is small, he did not give me exact measurements, and he thinks that a partial mastectomy ( lumpectomy) along with six weeks ( 5 days per week) of radiation therapy will be all that i need. he is going to biopsy two lymph nodes under my left arm. if they are positive, then i will probably have  to have more surgery and possibly, chemotherapy,too. also, if he does not get clear edges, and he will not know this until after my surgery, i will have to have basically, a full mastectomy.

when i was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, i felt so alone. no one knows very  much about thyroid cancer. some people do  not even know where your thyroid gland is located! if it were not for my blog, and all of the kind people who reached out to me through it, i am not sure how well i would have managed. breast cancer seems different. although thyroid cancer is the fastest growing cancer, more women( here i mean greater numbers )  have breast cancer and there are more support groups and resources available. that does not mean that i feel any less worried or scared. i wish, though, that thyroid cancer would get the attention it deserves.

so i decided to start a new blog. no, i am not abandoning this blog, but i will have another blog about my experiences with breast cancer. it will be called: an unexpected journey.... my journey with breast cancer. i decided on the name of the blog in  the same manner that i usually get the titles for my blog entries. i woke up with the song from the hobbit movie  on my mind. it is that sweet little melody that is played whenever the hobbit gets near home. oddly enough, the same day i was in a book store and saw a journal, which i purchased, that had " the hobbit, an unexpected journey" on the cover. i said enough already, i get the message, and so that is how i came up with the title. hopefully, the hobbit people will not mind me borrowing a bit of this for my blog title.

i hope to be brave, funny, and be able to  provide information to other women who may be taking this journey,too. for every new journey there is a beginning. mine begins today.........


  1. Oh Bea!! I'm so sorry to hear this news. You will be in my prayers.

    1. thank you Karen! i appreciate your thoughts and prayers. i am going to try to do my best to beat this one,too.