Remember me, ladies and gents? ;-) I'm back! There are some updates on the medical front, and I wanted to keep you all informed.
The only reason there haven't been many blogs lately is because there haven't been many eventful things going on. My family has been busy, as always. My mother has been working her tail off, Dad is also working like mad, Kyle (brother) has been working and going to school. I've been student teaching and trying to get my tuchus ready for graduation. It has been a crazy last few weeks. I had to buckle down the night that most of my work was due for my portfolio and get it done. I got about 80% of it finished, but was freaking out about a certain project that really did not turn out as well as I had hoped. My advisor has been wonderful. She said, "Dori, calm down. Do the work over break. It will get done. Just take care of your family and relax." I'm like, "OK...I can do this!" So now I'm just trying to enjoy my spring break and spend some time with friends and family. I'm long overdue for time with these lovely people. I'll probably be planning lessons and finishing up my projects later on this week.
At this point, everyone is pretty much back to normal. Melissa (cousin) is feeling well, as is Aunt Rea. They all (including my mother and sister) are experiencing vocal cord problems. It's not all that lovely. Our surgeon told my sister, "That should be gone by now." Gotta' love that kind of comment, huh? But, overall, everyone is not doing that badly.
My other cousin, Melissa's sister, Diana, had her biopsies done on her two nodules (yeah, now it's two) on Thursday. She's nervous about the results, but we're all hopeful. To be honest, I won't be surprised if she ends up with thyroid cancer. But, I'm trying not to jinx it. Hopefully we'll find out the results today or tomorrow.
That's pretty much everything right now. We'll have to see how everything goes. Please, keep us in your prayers.
As always, many blessings of love, happiness, and most important of all -- good health.
Since my last post, my niece had her surgery. Janina stayed with her in the hospital, and as everyone had hoped, she did beautifully. It was, of course, no surprise that her postsurgical biopsy confirmed papillary carcinoma. Although we had hoped otherwise, the odds were certainly stacked against her. Okay, that makes five…so far.
I had my postop nuclear scan. I’m not much for lying still for a long stretch, unless I’m sleeping, but it was one of those non-negotiable tasks.
Everything else has pretty much gone back to normal. Well, at least as normal as things can be for my family. We are all back at our jobs, managing well on our Synthroid, and appreciating the fact that it’s still cold enough outside to get away with wearing a turtleneck or scarf (to keep that scar under wraps for as long as possible). All of our scars are healing at different rates, so we tend to compare them. I’d say collectively we have about one foot of scar line – Wow!
I am thrilled that both my sister and niece will not need radioactive iodine treatment as their surgeons feel that because the cancer was caught so early, the operation was curative. That’s the good news—actually great news.
On the downside, my follow-up scan revealed a possible metastases. I sort of got into that “sticking my head into the sand” mode and avoided posting because I just didn’t want to write about it. But there it is. I’ll know more on Friday when I see my endocrinologist.
I celebrated my 54th birthday two days ago. I was surrounded by those that I love and that love me. It was a great day. As I blew out my candles (or rather as my grandson blew out my candles), I wished for the best gift of all…good health. I wish that for you too, my friends.
Mom is worried about her follow up with her endocrinologist about her scan. I don't blame her. I hated waiting for my own results. I had four nuclear scans in less than a year, and I can tell you right now, I despised the waiting game.
I think that's a lot of what cancer is. Waiting. Waiting for results. Waiting for something bad, or good, to happen. Waiting for a miracle. Waiting for prayers to be answered. That stupid "W" word. We have lives to live, you know.
I remember when my endocrinologist gave me every result from every scan. I remember going to her office and giving me the news. You feel so helpless, like the rest of your life is determined by an inanimate object. You have no idea what to expect, and in no way are you prepared for what will happen. Sure, you try to prepare, but in all honesty, how ready are you for results that could potentially change your life?
I know my cancer wouldn't, and won't, kill me. However, I never thought past a few months in my head. I tried not to plan so far in advance. I still don't, for fear that something could change. It has been almost four years, and I'm still not able to say, "See you in a year, Doc!" No, sirree. Still stuck in the six month mode.
Right now, my life is a whirlwind outside of the cancer world. I am lucky in that aspect; I am still able to live my life. I am about to graduate from college and finally really live.
This was a really tough journey for me. As soon as I graduated from high school, I was not only a cancer fighter, but a freshman in college. I had a whole new road ahead of me to try to walk on. The only things that were stable in my life at the time were my faith (as much as it could have been), family, close friends, and my then-boyfriend.
I remember sitting in that patient room, waiting for him to come in and tell me what my future would hold. I knew that morning something was wrong. I could feel it. Janina knew; I had told her my feelings that day, but she still tried to keep me busy when I was with her at her work. Sudoku was the only thing keeping me sane in that room. It's funny; I had braced myself for the news, but honestly, I still wasn't ready. It's one of those things that you just don't fully prepare for. You just can't. "You have cancer" is not exactly something you're ever ready for.
It amazes me that it took me almost 3 and a half years to finally get over it and grieve. I was always on the go; I never had a real break. I shrug my diagnosis off all the time with people; I never really reveal how hard it has been. I say, "It's whatever," when I really mean, "This has been fucking insane. You have no clue."
I know I didn't go through chemo, lose my hair, get hospitalized for days/weeks on end... But you people need to understand something. On the Stupid Cancer Show, put on by the I'm Too Young For This! Cancer Foundation, something huge was finally brought to light: thyroid cancer is still a complicated cancer. A lot of people shrug it off and say it's the "best cancer to get." Shut up. It's cancer. Plain and simple. I don't shrug off my battle anymore. Hell, people, I'm still fighting it. It's not over for me! Sure, I'm not going to die, but folks, it's still in my body. It. Won't. Leave. Do you know how obnoxious and freaky that is? My cancer is as stubborn as I am! I'd rather it be passive and just...go away.
Don't dumb down any kind of cancer. Cancer = cancer. No matter which way you spin it.
As always, my dears, many blessings of love, happiness, and most important of all -- good health.
I am so sorry that it has been so long since I posted. There has been a lot going on. My student teaching has kept me extremely busy, and I have been trying to spend time with family and friends during my "free" time. It has been crazy, but fun. :-)
So Melissa does indeed have papillary thyroid cancer. She was officially diagnosed last Friday, and her surgery was last Tuesday. And, so, the count has risen to five. Is it twisted to say that I almost feel like this is commonplace now? It almost feels as though this is one of those normal routines now, like brushing your teeth. Only, it's more obnoxious and involves surgery, and maybe, if you're oh so lucky, treatment.
Right now we're not so sure as to whether or not Melissa will need treatment. Her nodule was the same size as her mother's, 3 mm, and Aunt Ree did not need treatment. Let's just hope the same goes for her. But, hey, at least we have a little apartment-like basement!
Life has kind of become more normal now. Janina is doing great, and was so strong during treatment. It felt so good to hug her again after she was done. I swear, I think I scared her when I practically tackled her! She's still worn out from lack of medicine, but she won't feel completely herself for another 2-3 weeks. Mom has been fit as a fiddle, minus her little cold she has right now. She was such a trooper during her treatment; I'm so proud of her. I think I practically tackled Mom when she was done, too! Believe me, after you are in isolation for five days and can't be close to anyone, hugs feel so amazing.
Hopefully it won't take me as long to post again. We are still waiting on Diana to get officially checked. She has to move first, so that may not happen for another couple of months.
As always, blessings of 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.