I went with my husband Merril for his screening colonoscopy today. He’s been putting this off for three years now. He says there are just some things that he would rather not do, and I think that having a colonoscopy was pretty high on his list. I don’t see why. It’s the best sleep you’ll ever have, and when you wake up there are no remnants of anything having taken place. No marks, no incisions, no scars, no fuss, no muss. And if the preparation for it doesn’t kill you, the colonoscopy certainly won’t.
You are probably wondering why I’m even bringing this up. Sure doesn’t have anything to do with thyroid cancer, does it? Well, while spending two hours in the waiting room, I started thinking about the very simple and painless (or practically painless) things that we can do to keep the cancer thing at bay, or at least at a minimum when there is a better chance that it can be fixed or cured completely. I guess the thinking is that it’s better not to know. No one likes bad news…so true. But I think there are degrees of “bad”. We all know that so many illnesses can be successfully treated if found at the beginning stages.
I was one of those people who just didn’t want to know. Now, I would race into the room and jump up on the table to have a test or procedure done that could potentially result in a cure. It took finding out that I had cancer to feel this way. I tended to make up excuses for feeling the way that I felt, and even worse, diagnosing myself – which is never a good idea. I’ve worked for doctors for over 15 years, but that certainly doesn’t qualify me to make any medical judgement with regard to my health.
I will never put off a mammography, colonoscopy, routine check-up, or blood test again. I feel fortunate to have found my thyroid cancer, and I am thrilled that my children, brothers, sisters, nieces, and nephews are being so proactive in pursuing the possibility that they may have it as well. I know it’s scary for them, and I know all too well that sometimes fear can stop you dead in your tracks. But they are courageously moving forward and doing what they know they need to do.
They say that there is strength in numbers. This must be true, because as our numbers are climbing it has only made us more determined as a family to not only fight this disease, but to find out how it came to be in the first place. Familial papillary thyroid cancer clusters are very rare. My family will probably never know with whom it started, but you can bet that we will work together to keep a handle on it going forward.
Like Daughter, Like Mother: Our Thyroid Cancer Journey
Behind the Blog
Adelina is a full-time wife, mother, practice manager, and medical transcriptionist. After receiving an ultrasound and countless biopsies, she was diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer on December 11, 2009. She successfully underwent surgery on December 29, 2009, and had her first radioactive iodine treatment in February 2010. Following treatment, Adelina now sees her doctor once a year for follow-up. She has been doing well, and refuses to let cancer slow her down.
Dori is 26 years old. She was diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer at the age of 17 on June 1, 2006, just three days prior to her high school graduation. Dori endured two radioactive iodine treatments and two surgeries to remove her complete thyroid and 39 total lymph nodes from her neck. She is now under close watch by her doctors, and only time will tell if the cancer stays at bay.