"Bringing Sexy Out of the Thyloset" For My Friends at, and the Fans of "Dear Thyroid"
What kind of thyroid cancer were you diagnosed with?
In December of 2009, I was diagnosed with papillary thyroid carcinoma.Not even a year has passed since my diagnosis.
What does Thyroid Cancer Awareness mean to me in terms of importance, and spreading awareness?
As for all cancers, Be Aware and Beware…it could be you.Thyroid cancer, in particular, can lurk in one’s body rather silently for many years, yet as Dori’s endocrinologist once remarked “You can die from it”.And that’s the harsh truth.I spread awareness by being open and forthcoming about my cancer.And I love the way people subtly touch their necks, silently examining themselves for lumps, when I tell my story.(Be honest…Are you feeling your neck right now?).It would be difficult for a layperson to detect thyroid enlargement much less feel a nodule. It should be checked during a regular physical examination.A very simple thing for your doctor to do…and if he forgets, please request it.
How do I feel when people say "If you have to get cancer, thyroid cancer is the one to get"?
Well okay, if you say so—perhaps it is in some respects. Of course that depends on the type of thyroid cancer you are diagnosed with. I am grateful for the fact that I have the most curable of the thyroid cancers. I am grateful for the fact I haven’t lost a breast, or a kidney, nor do I have a disfiguring scar.Just a few-inch incision in my neck, and voila, thyroid is gone and hardly missed, and hormone replacement is started. I am also thankful that in exchange for chemotherapy, I had to undergo radioactive iodine treatment. On the other hand, cancer is cancer. There are no guarantees. I will still need to be monitored and recurrence, surgery, and further treatment is always a possibility. How's that for a good cancer?
What other myth would I like to dispel regarding thyroid cancer?
This is an easy one for me. When Dori was diagnosed four years ago, we were told how rare thyroid cancer is, not just because Dori was only 17, but rare in general. Then, just three short years later, I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer after which my oldest daughter Janina was diagnosed, after which my sister was diagnosed, after which my niece was diagnosed. It was difficult to believe that thyroid cancer was so rare after all. Scientists believe that there is a genetic link with regard to papillary thyroid carcinoma. Our family is currently participating in a study along with 100 other families (all with multiple family members having thyroid cancer) with the hope that this gene will be found.
What one thing would I tell the world about thyroid cancer?
It's easy to diagnose. It's easy to treat. With regard to your health in general, be diligent about getting regular checkups and screenings. That's your best defense.
What advice would I give to a newly diagnosed thyroid cancer patient?
At the end of the day, it's not so bad. No one could have been more terrified than I was, of all of it...the biopsies, surgery, treatment, scans -- ALL of it! For me to say it's not that bad is a huge deal. Really, it's not so bad. Surround yourself with the things and the people that you love. Find humor in whatever you can. Laugh out loud and be silly (loved ones are never more forgiving as when you have cancer). Know that YOU ARE NOT ALONE, even when it feels that way sometimes...or a lot of the time. So many people are rooting for you, many of whom you have never even met. Reach out to others and give them the pleasure of knowing that they've helped you. Stay busy living; and instead of dreading the day of surgery, treatment, whatever, look forward to it, because the sooner it happens, the sooner it's over. Before you know it, it will be behind you...and you will see that it's not so bad.
Funny Story Time...
I always tell my grandson, Marrin, that I have been with him since the day he was born. Since my daughter lived across the street from me, I saw Marrin every day. Always together, he's my buddy and the joy of my life. He accidentally calls me Mom sometimes, and it makes my heart smile. Marrin was 6 years old when I had my surgery. Just one month later, Janina (my daughter and Marrin's mother) had her thyroid surgery. When Janina removed her bandages, I stood next to her in the mirror to compare scars. Marrin ran to the sofa, buried his head, stomped his feet, and started to cry. Janina rushed to console him, assuming that he was upset because he felt sorry for us, thinking that our scars hurt. Through his tears he said in a rather demanding and pouting way, "But I want the same mark on my neck that you and Grammy have".
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.