Yesterday, Anna Marie asked me why I hadn’t been blogging. So sister-sister, this one is for you.
Truth is, although I am trying to stay as positive as possible, I’m feeling a bit defeated. Now, with my sister and niece facing surgery, this cancer thing has grown too huge, too fast. And it’s scary…to say the least.
I’m also sad for my sister, the true matriarch of our family. She called me every day and sometimes many times a day throughout my ordeal with thyroid cancer. She remained so upbeat and positive that, at times, it was almost contagious. She reminded me often that I should be grateful that my cancer was found, that I was in the hands of amazing doctors and surgeons, that I was stronger than I knew, and that, in the end, I would be okay. Sister-sister, if you are reading this, ditto back to you.
Yes, it is daunting. Cancer is an incredibly frightening word. An almost unbelievable word in our family. Heart disease, yes. Diabetes, yes. The word cancer just hadn’t been in our family vocabulary. Until now.
Because of all of our diagnoses, the doctors feel that we are dealing with a familial papillary thyroid cancer cluster – a very rare occurence for which, unfortunately, specific genetic testing is not yet available. We need to focus on what we can do today, and that is to encourage each other to get an ultrasound and be diligent about follow-up. All in all, it is still a very curable cancer.
In 9 days, it will be Anna Marie’s turn to have surgery. I plan to stay with her and give her as much support and care as she needs – just as she has always done for me. I’d like to say that “it’s getting old”, but quite frankly it’s still major surgery and each time one of us goes through it, the others worry as if it’s the first time. I know that my sister will do fine. She has the same incredible surgeon as me, Dori, and Janina. She’s healthy and she’s strong. But most importantly, she has an absolutely unshakable spiritual strength...and that will see her through.
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.