Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Time Line

This morning we met with the radiation oncologist for a consult and now we have a working time line for the first test to find straggling thyroid cells.

So I will continue to take my Cytomel (thyroid replacement hormone with short half-life) until the 20th of October (it's a Tuesday)... which means I have just under a month of feeling relatively well-- yay!

The Tuesday after that (the 27th) I get some lab work done and stop eating certain things and taking certain drugs (nothing I regularly consume was on those lists-- i.e. Slim-fast shakes).

On Monday the 2nd of November I do more blood work.

Then the next day (the third) I go to the center to take my little dose of radioactive iodine.

This allows us to do the scan on the 5th and review it with the oncologist. They say about 80% of patients still have thyroid cells on their first scan so I'm guessing I will too. If I do we will schedule a time when I can come back and get my big dose of radioactive iodine. They used to be able to give the big dose on the same day as the scan if needed but there is a shortage of radioactive iodine so I must wait until they have a pill for me. (they say it takes about a week)

After I take the big dose and live secluded for a few days I may start hormone replacements again-- yay!

So now you are updated! Thanks for reading.

Friday, September 25, 2009

New Update

We got back from the doctor's office with some news with which I am quite happy-- although not that much has changed.

First we have an appointment to see the radiation oncologist Wednesday morning (the very next happening Wednesday-- yay) and will find out more info about that process (how long will I be radioactive? will I leave something like a radioactive snail trail behind me? and important things like that)

Second and more exciting is that I got a prescription for a temporary hormone replacement. Here's the cool thing that I learned today:

Thyroid hormones have a pretty long half-life so it takes quite a while for them to naturally dissipate (about six weeks) taking the thyroid-less person on a slow gradual decline into a pit of despair. Where as this version of thyroid replacement has a short half-life so it dissipates roughly twice as fast as the stuff my thyroid left behind. So this is roughly how I think of it. This has no scientific bearing... it's just my current understanding.

The x axis is time in Weeks, the y axis is how I'm feeling (very measurable).
The red line is my perceived progression with taking the temporary hormone replacement, the blue line is my perceived natural progression.
The aqua shaded parfait illustrates bonus better feeling time, the brighter the better.

Hormone Dissipation: Feeling vs. Time

(channeling my father here)

So now I'm feeling just fine! It's nice to know that I can somewhat rely on feeling fine for a given time but there is still a lot that we'll just have to wait and see.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Park Lake... or is it Lake Park?

Feeling the need to update. The last post seems too serious... especially for hanging out on top of the list. We see the doctor tomorrow... would you like to add to my list of questions so I can be sure to answer them for you? I'll check the comments tomorrow morning and add anything to my list.

Earlier in the month was our ward picnic and afterward we went for a bike ride around the lake-- technically around the lake... more like the on the streets that surround the lake. which is why I didn't even know there was a lake there (mostly private). Then we walked one of the trails around the park and here are some things that we saw.

pretty marshland

little froggies
(I guess it's pretty obvious how we like to see little frogs and toads)

and deer... little ones!

with spots!
how can you not be happy and see little deer with spots?

Monday, September 21, 2009

Pathology Report-- and the Envelope Please...



You know it's a bad sign when it's the day you're supposed hear back, it's 5:45 pm, the phone rings and it's not a nurse, it's your surgeon.

Cancer on both sides so it's good we took the whole thing out. Only one lesion was on the surface, the rest were safely tucked within the thyroid tissue. We have an appointment on Friday and will schedule a meeting with a radiation oncologist who will oversee my radioactive iodine treatments. It will be probably about six weeks before the first treatment because right now I still have thyroid hormones inside and they have to be completely gone before we send radioactive iodine after any rogue thyroid cells. And in a very brief description of the feeling of getting the thyroid hormone to zero my doctor said, "you'll be pretty miserable."

I'm going to ask for clarification on that.

It's been just under a month since Dennis and I celebrated our one year anniversary. I cannot help but liken this situation to when someone buys a new car or washing machine... as soon as the warranty expires ::poof:: the thing falls apart and you're just out of luck. Sorry Honey. And I bet it's even worse when you're still making payments! I told him that he should have gotten the extended warranty.

Even though we knew that the thyroid could contain cancer and the cancer has already been removed I'm surprised by how it feels, relating oneself to having cancer. I think it's a very loaded word, perhaps because it runs in my family it carries a lot of weight with me-- but I think it carries a lot of weight with everyone-- cancer = bad, that's pretty clear.

Then I feel a little betrayed by my own body-- we're supposed to be on the same team-- seems you can't trust anyone, especially your own freaking body, how could she do this to me?

Then I realize that's not very productive and that I just need to process this a bit more and adjust. hmm... I'll be back a little later.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Back from the Hospital

So I just had a total thyroidectomy... and in case I didn't know what it was called before arriving at the hospital I would be sure to know after being there for ten minutes. It was like a quiz with every new person I encountered leading up to the procedure, that and my birthday and how to spell my last name.

I'm fine with them being thorough-- please please be thorough!

So I'm feeling alright. My throat is sore, it hurts to swallow, and the muscles in my neck are stiff. None of this is surprising.

It was scheduled as a outpatient procedure but I was held overnight for observation. I was glad for that little extra time to make sure things were fine before sending me home.

Dennis has been especially sweet. Before heading into the hospital he braided my hair-- into pigtails. I got a couple of blisters on my left hand the day before so did not have the dexterity to do it myself. The braided pigtails were a stroke of genius as they allowed me to be in bed for days without getting into a tangled mess-- so if you ever know anyone with long hair who will be in bed for several days, do them a favor and braid their hair into pigtails! It was nice to have something be comfortable.

We took some pictures before leaving the house, knowing I'd never be quite the same. Here is one of those pictures (the lack of glasses and the button-up shirt were part of planning ahead):

So naturally when you have a before picture you have to have an after picture. This one was taken this morning almost two days after surgery:

So yeah, no bandage-- I was surprised by that too. I'm stitched on the inside and glued shut. The surgical tape in the center is from when the doctor removed the drainage tube the next morning... but we don't have to talk about that. This is about as high as I can currently lift my head comfortably without feeling any pulling. If your gruesome sense of curiosity is not yet satisfied you may click on the above picture to see it larger.

So I'm off to take another nap but just wanted to let my three readers know that I'm doing fine and I really appreciate all the prayers and well wishes and good thoughts sent my way-- I feel it made a difference-- Thank you!

-- and the free slipper socks are totally worth it!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Last Day

I'm going in for surgery tomorrow... wish me luck!