I’m going for my ThyCa ultrasound scan later today. The cycle of fearful thoughts are waking up in my mind.  They overpower me at times.  I wish there was a volume button, so I could put the negative ones on mute!  The thoughts are spinning around over and over.  The typical ones are…What if the cancer came back? What if it spread? Will I need another operation? I don’t want to go through the LID and RAI again. When will this end? Will I be able to get through the cancer battle again?  Am I a burden on friends and family?  When will I get the results?
One after another, the thoughts pop into my mind.  The reality is that I am taking care of myself and going for my regular follow-up visits, blood work and scans. I’m taking my medicine.  I talk about how I feel good and not so good. I blog about it, which helps.  I get helpful comments from my readers and that fills my spirit.
At this moment, I am a cancer SURVIVOR!! All of the thought are simply thoughts.  They are not reality.  I don’t have to give them power. The rest is unknown, fear of the unknown. So for now, I will stay in the present moment.  Yeah, that feels much better. I just needed to adjust my mind.  Ah, a sigh of relief. Calmness washes over me.

Summer is almost over. (frown) The back to school bug is in the air.  September is just around the corner.  You know what that means? Yep. You got it.  Thyroid Cancer Awareness month is almost here.  So I’m taking a moment to be proactive and get this virtual pep rally going!

Let me start by giving you some of the history behind Thyroid Cancer Awareness month.  According to the Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Association (ThyCa), “Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month is a worldwide observance, sponsored and initiated by ThyCa: Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Association. It began in 2000, as a week in September. In 2003, it expanded to the whole month of September…Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month promotes thyroid cancer awareness for early detection, as well as care based on expert standards, and increased research to achieve cures for all thyroid cancer. People and organizations in 55 countries around the world take part.

As a thyroid cancer survivor, I am on a mission to spread awareness and do my part to help others.  This blog gets the word out about thyroid cancer, cancer survivorship and more.   Are you playing a part to spread awareness?  If you need some tips, take a look at ThyCa’s 10 Tips on How to Help.

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!!!

As a cancer survivor, I get to go back for follow-up doctor visits, blood work, scans and more every six months.  Here we go again!  I got the blood work done yesterday.  Tomorrow I go to have my ultrasound scan after work.  Then I have an appointment with my doctor to go over the results at the end of next week.  Deja Vu!!

I’m getting the hang of it now.  The fear seems to lessen each time.  I’ve learned that worrying and negative thinking does not do me any good mentally, spiritually or physically.  (It reminds me of this quote I found.  “Worry is a huge waste of time; it doesn’t change anything, except maybe your blood pressure!” ~Author Unknown)

Trust me, I can list many other things that I would rather do with my time then getting more tests, scans and sitting in doctors offices.  But the reality is that I need to continue to be responsible for my health be doing these things. In turn, I am able to live a healthy life and free from cancer.

1/29/10

One of my goals the past few months has been to write a “Dear Thyroid” letter and submit it to the Dear Thyroid site.  I finally wrote the letter!! Yay!! I’m so excited for you to read it.  I found it quite therapeutic to write.

I posted my Dear Thyroid letter called “RIP my Thyroid, August 1973 – January 2009” on my blog this week, but I had to take it down. Why? Well after posting it on my blog,  I found out that Dear Thyroid will only publish original content.  (Ok, I get it. Rules are rules!)  I do admit, I did not read all the requirements set by Dear Thyroid before submitting my letter. So I have learned my lesson 🙂

I will post the link to my letter on the Dear Thyroid site as soon as they post it. Stay tuned for details…

3/10/10 UPDATE :  Dear Thyroid still has not posted my Dear Thyroid post so I might post the letter on my blog after all. Stay tuned!

3/22/10 UPDATE TO UPDATE: Dear Thyroid posted my Dear Thyroid letter today!!! WooHoo!! Please take a looksy at http://dearthyroid.org/rip-my-thyroid/and share your comments.  Thank you in advance 🙂

Thanks!

Last week I went for my six month follow-up thyroid ultrasound.  I was pleasantly surprised to be greeted by a very nice person at the front desk who treated me like a person with feelings instead of a person ordering cheese at the deli. (Next in line!)  Even Marie, the Ultrasound Technician was compassionate and relaxed.  She really took her time with me during the ultrasound.

The last time I had the ultrasound, they found two lymph nodes that were swollen.  My Endo said that we would keep an eye on it during the next follow-up ultrasound.  So this time when I was laying on the table with the warm gel on my neck and the ultrasound wand sliding around, my nerves were shot. 

Marie told me that there were two lymph nodes sticking out on the left side.  They were in the same area as the ones that were swollen six months ago.  Oh No!  She moved around and hovered the wand over the other side of my neck and found two more that were sticking out.  I felt sick and a wave of fear rushed over me.  Marie said “off record” that the lymph nodes looked like regular ones to her.  Well that did not make me feel better.  What Marie didn’t know is that I found out after my thyroidectomy that the cancer had spread to five  of the seven lymph nodes they removed during the surgery.

When I left the appointment I decided not to let the potential upsetting news get me down.  I walked back out as a thyroid cancer survivor!  I have not heard any good news or bad news yet.  I’m waiting for the results.  My appointment to go over the ultrasound results and blood work is not until February 2.  I can’t remember if my doctor called me prior to our appointment last time or not. 

Waiting for the results is starting to take a toll on me.  I am so good at focusing on gratitude and holding on to the fact that everything is going to be alright.  I consider myself to be a positive person with a wonderful support network that are here for me through it all.  But this waiting for results thing is really difficult.

I’ve been really emotional the past couple of days.  I feel really sensitive to everything and on edge.  The fear of what might be lurking in those lymph nodes is in the back of my mind.  I’m scared.  I hope and pray that the cancer has not come back to more lymph nodes.  Regardless, I can’t do anything about it now except write this post and know that the other people reading this understand.  And in turn it helps me to not feel so alone.

I got a call back from my doctor’s assistant (FINALLY!) From what they could see, the scan looked good!  She didn’t have the details, but since I had called earlier, my doc wanted to at least let me know that much.  WELL THANK YOU!!!  (I’m dancing right now, but you can’t see that part!) I’m a cancer SURVIVOR!!! My status remains!!!

HOWEVER, the blood work is NOT back yet, which will give the official “in the clear.” But I am not going to focus on that details. Because right now, all is well!!!  I am so grateful for all the love and support.  Especially from the other thyroid cancer survivors that contribute to this blog.  It helps us all!!

So let’s all live it up to the fullest.  Life is made for living, not waiting!!  ♥