Wonderful news, friends! My mother saw her endocrinologist on Monday, and the suspicious lymph nodes and nodules that he noticed were shrinking! The radioactive iodine (RAI) has been working! Fortunately, RAI can work for 6 months up to a year; my mother had her treatment in February. So, cheer on, folks! This is great news! Now we just have to get my sister squared away... That will be another time, though. Unsure when her appointment is. Think I should ask her? ;-)
Something I forgot to mention in my last update; my family is part of a study for Ohio State University (OSU), which is focusing on finding the genetic code for papillary thyroid cancer (PTC). All they request of us are blood samples, our medical records, and demographic information. They are requesting families of 3 or more people who have been diagnosed with PTC. The funniest part about this: our family is the largest they have with 5 people! Out of over 100 families! Shocking, no? So, the kicker is, OSU wanted not only my blood along with my mom, sister, aunt, and cousin, but they also wanted our direct relatives who do not have PTC! The reason is that OSU wants to examine the genetic makeup of the five of us versus the relatives who do not have PTC, and see what the code is that has given us five PTC and not our other relatives. The only trouble that OSU has run into is that they are finding the genetic code in each family, but the codes do not match other families. I do hope that our participation helps. What a wonderful discovery it would be!
Graduation was fabulous. It was almost like an odd reliving experience, especially when one woman spoke. She was receiving her master's degree after spending several years in college. She had been diagnosed with breast cancer, and gave a brief overview of her story and how she was able to achieve her success. I tried my hardest not to cry, though I did shed some small tears when she said something along the lines of, "Trying to get through college with cancer is no walk in the park." I couldn't help but remember everything in that moment, everything that I had experienced throughout my college career.
There is one story I would love to share with you all that this woman reminded me of, and it is still very special to me:
During my Fall 2007 semester, I was taking a speech class. I had to create three different types of speeches: informational, persuasive, and "buy my product." Take a wild guess what my subject was for my first speech. I spoke about my experience with PTC, how it changed my life, and I explained how it develops and forms, the treatments, etc. Well, I had some people in tears. My second speech was about Relay for Life, basically persuading my audience to join me on the track to fight against cancer. I spoke more about my story in this speech, and, once again, my audience was moved. They knew a lot about me from the first speech to the next, so they felt a lot for me. They understood when I wasn't in class because of a doctor's appointment. Before class began the following week, the professor would ask me about my appointment and every fellow student would ask me questions about it. I went in for surgery in late November, and I was not happy about it. Duh, I was upset because I had more cancer, but I was also upset about the fact that I was missing school and might miss information needed for my finals. I explained to my speech professor that I may have to take the exam another day, since she had moved it to an earlier time so we wouldn't be taking her final on the very last day. She said she understood, but to let her know if I was going to be able to make it. All of my classmates wished me well and told me I would be fine. I got lots of hugs at my last class session. It was really great, because I felt like I had another group of people supporting me. After my surgery, I recovered well, and was able to go to the exam date. When I walked in, my classmates immediately started clapping and cheering for me, and my professor presented me with a gorgeous bouquet of roses. I started to cry. It was such a precious moment. As difficult as that exam was, I took it with the biggest smile on my face. After that kind of reception, I knew I was loved and supported by every person in that room. They each gave me so much encouragement and strength to get through yet another surgery. I don't think any of them know exactly how much each word of caring and kindness meant to me. I'll never forget it.
And, on that note, I wish everyone love, happiness, and most importantly -- good health.
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.