At times I wonder if certain cancer treatments are more dangerous or harmful than cancer itself.  A couple of years ago, my cancer treatment made me radioactive for a couple of weeks to kill the remaining cancer cells.  (No, I did not glow.)  But I was isolated from friends and family for over 3 days.  They even gave me a letter to carry in case the radioactivity left in my body set off any alarms in government buildings or airports! That caused me to step back and wonder if that treatment was worth the risk.  It worked, so I guess it was.

I have friends that have gone through chemotherapy and take all kinds of medications with terrible side effects to treat cancer.  The goal is to kill the cancer, not the person.  At times, I wonder if the doctors remember that part.  It seems like the side effects from the treatments drain what little energy is left in our bodies at the time.

I’ve moved on from cancer treatment to cancer follow-up procedures.  My doctor recommended that I get Thyrogen shots and blood work to see if my levels change.  The Thyrogen stimulates the cancer producing cells.  The shots are administered two days in a row.  One shot is the left buttocks and the other shot in the right.  It is literally a pain in the @ss!  I got the first shot this morning.  Ouch!! It hurt and burned.  Now I have a headache and feel a little nauseous from the Thyrogen.  I don’t want to go back tomorrow for the second shot.  I’ve learned that part of surviving cancer is staying positive and doing things that I don’t necessarily want to do.  I will continue to fight the fight!!!

The results should be back next week.  I will do my best NOT to think about it and live my life. (Although every time I sit, my sore butt will remind me of the shots!) There is no point in worrying about it today.  I will need to remind myself of this several times a day.  If the blood work results are high enough to detect cancer, then they will move forward with treatment.  If not, then I will continue going back every six months for follow-up visits and testing.  Either way, I guess this pain in the @ss it worth it.  I am praying that the results are good.  Regardless, I will get through it and continue sharing my journey.

xoxo,

Thyro-Jenn

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I met with my doctor yesterday afternoon.  He went over the results of the blood work and neck ultrasound with me. My levels look good!!  There were a couple of lymph nodes that we are watching, but they look normal on the scan.  Once again, I am cancer free!!!

My levels of calcium and vitamin D were a little low.  I should be taking calcium and vitamin D pills daily.  My doctor smiled at me and said “Take the damn pills.”  So this is something that I will start doing on a regular basis.

My doctor also told me to get Thyrogen shots and blood work to make sure we are not missing anything. Hmmmm…what? This caught me off guard.  I got Thyrogen shots during the low iodine diet to help my body prepare for the radioactive iodine treatment, but I did not know that it could also be used to further test my levels My understanding of Thyrogen is that it tricks your body into thinking that you have gone off of your thyroid medication.  This sure beats actually going off of your thyroid medication for a couple of weeks.  (I have not had to do this, but know many people who have done it.  More power to you!)  Anyway, when I got my Thyrogen shots in May 2009, I was amazed to find out that my insurance company covered it.  Each shot is around $1,200!  Two are required to get the job done.  So I was extremely grateful to my insurance company for covering the shots.  Now, I am supposed to get the shots again?

What a great topic to blog about!  I am going to do some research to learn a little more about Thyrogen.  I plan to write another post about my findings soon.  This opened up the door in my mind about the Thyroid Cancer SURVIVOR blog.  There are still many topics that I would like to write about here.  I’m going to do a “brain dump” to name a few.  Here is my random list:

  • Life beyond cancer
  • Preparing for tests and doctor visits
  • Affirmations and Mantras for cancer survivors
  • Being an advocate for your health – Ask questions, Speak up, Second Opinions, Feel heard
  • Health insurance coverage
  • Thyrogen
  • Calcium and Vitamin D post thyroidectomy
  • Swallowing food post thyroidectomy
  • Voice post thyroidectomy
  • Hot and cold flashes
  • Fertility with RAI (Radioactive Iodine)

That is all that comes to mind for now.  I would really appreciate your feedback, experience and input on any of these items.  What has your experience been?  What other items would you like to see posted on this blog?

Thank you!!!

I’ve started a new blog called Ready to Change Life Coaching to branch out with posts on various life coaching topics, inspiring quotes and helpful websites.  I will continue to post here, but wanted to give an update to all of my readers.  Please show your support by signing up for the other blog.  Comments are always appreciated.

As a Life Coach and cancer survivor, I believe the Ready to Change Life Coaching blog will also benefit anyone looking to move forward and grow.  I encourage you to read some of the posts and let me know what you think.

I have also started a program called Life Beyond Cancer for cancer survivors.  I know once the cancer free results were given to me, I was filled with a range of emotions.  Many survivors reach a point where they need help moving forward in different areas of their lives after the cancer chapter has ended.  If you are at this point or interested in learning more about it, please contact lifebeyondcancer@jenniferbridge.com for details.

Thank you for all of the love and support!

 

  

“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.” ~Thornton Wilder

   

Yesterday was my Mom’s birthday. Our family got together for lunch and spent a couple of hours together.  There was a moment when I stopped and looked around the table and felt so much gratitude in my heart for each one of them.  They mean the world to me.  I’m grateful to have them in my life, as my family.  I used to take that for granted.  Being a cancer survivor, reminded me once again of how precious life is and how fast things can chance without warning.  Everything seems to shine a little brighter now.  

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle.  
 The other is as though everything is a miracle.” — Albert Einstein

   

I’m grateful for it all now.  Every little thing counts.  I have energy to go out and enjoy life.  I’m able to be present and not caught in my mind with worry about test results and doctors appointments.  I can eat whatever I want without limitations from having to be on a low-iodine diet.  I am able to taste my food again without a mild metallic aftertaste caused by my cancer treatment.  I sleep soundly and feel refreshed in the morning. I have health insurance that covered most of my medical bills.  The list goes on and on.   

“Whatever our individual troubles and challenges may be, it’s important to pause every now and then to appreciate all that we have, on every level. We need to literally “count our blessings,” give thanks for them, allow ourselves to enjoy them, and relish the experience of prosperity we already have.” ~Shakti Gawain

   

You certainly don’t have to be a cancer survivor to have an attitude of gratitude.  Everyone has at least a few things to be grateful for.  Taking time to take a look at those things is a gift in itself.  Many people are too busy rushing through their daily routinues to slow down long enough to be grateful.   When was the last time you thought about what you’re grateful for?  Now is a good time to do it!  I encourage you to leave a comment about what you are grateful for.

I admit it.  There were times after my diagnosis when I wondered if I would ever be able to enjoy life again without the word “cancer” in the back of my mind.  Then I got in touch with the power of the present moment where life happens.  The fearful thoughts about the surgery, treatment and tons of test were all part of the future.  Life happens in the now! 

Of course the thoughts about “what if…”, “when will…” and “why did I…” still popped up, but I didn’t entertain them.  Those thoughts were unwelcome visitors in my mind.  So I let them pass through and leave without giving them a reason to stay.  Instead I focus on the fact that at this moment ALL IS WELL.

Today I am a cancer SURVIVOR who is living each day to the fullest.  Sure the occasional thought about cancer still visits me.  I think once a person is diagnosed is takes a long time to fully digest the impact of the cancer experience. But the reality is that at this moment…Life is Good!