On October 6th, I woke up from surgery asking the nurse, "Did you take all of my thyroid or just half." You see I knew if it was just half that it was benign. He said, "We took it all. But we got ALL of the cancer out." Meanwhile my family and friends were being told the news by my doctor in the waiting area. I had papillary thyroid cancer. I remember Frank coming and hugging me and we both just cried. He thought he was coming to break the news but it was obvious upon seeing me, I had already been told. After almost two months of wondering and hoping for the best, my worries and fears had come true.
I came home and it wasn't too bad of a recovery physically besides the allergic reaction that I had to the steri strips that were on my neck and the lovely drain. But after removing the drain and the rash that is still slowly going away, recovery hasn't been too bad. Until this week anyway. I am not on any thyroid replacement hormones yet so my energy is zapped as I go into complete hypothyroid. I have been doing weekly blood drawls on Sundays down there and have been on a lovely iodine free diet (No dairy, soy, iodized salt, sea products etc.). This past Monday night I got a call from my endocrinologist oncologist who said my levels were rising rapidly and she thought we could go for treatment this week.
So I go again tomorrow for a bunch of pre-treatment tests and to double check and make sure my levels are a go. And assuming they are, Monday I will go for my first dose of Radioactive Iodine Treatment (RAI). Tuesday I will have a full body scan to see if it is anywhere else in my body and Wednesday I will meet with my doctor to go over the scan and see if a second dose is needed. Most likely it will be as it had gone to 4 of my lymph nodes as well that were taken out during surgery. And there will probably be some speckles of it in my neck but we are hoping no where else. Depending on the dose, I will be isolated from kids 7 and under for 7-10 days if I have to do the second treatment.
As many of you know, I am a worrier by nature. My biggest sin. I think it was no coincidence that the first bible verse I ever memorized was Phil 4:6, "Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for all He has done." Although I told very few people until the few days before my surgery, the few that did know and now know have been sending me great verses and words of encouragement. And my list of bible verses that I mediate on daily are growing. And most days they give me an enormous amount of peace.
I have been keeping an online journal and have thought many times to share it on here, I just really never knew or had the right words to say to admit and introduce it. Accepting the fact that I have cancer has been a hard one to swallow.
On a bright note, my doctors have been amazing. And my prognosis is good. I am so impressed with MD Anderson and how it is run. And I feel like I am in REALLY good hands. My surgeon was amazing, really the many multiple doctors that I have seen, countless nurses I have come across, I just can't say enough about them. I don't just have one doctor, I have a team of them. Even the little Valet lady who remembers me every day when I get out of the car who tells me, "Every day will get better." I think the place is incredibly run with brilliant doctors. Although, I am hoping after this week, I will be done visiting so frequently. As Frank and I often say, the place is AMAZING, we just wish we didn't know first hand how great of a place it is.
I am hopeful that after this first round of treatment I will be put on synthroid to start regulating me and getting me out of hypothyroid. I am so exhausted right now. I try to get out of bed, but it really is getting harder and harder. I was in bed until 4 today when I finally mustered the energy to go out and take the kids to the pumpkin patch with Frank. Something I really wanted to do as I know I will probably miss Halloween next weekend. And I want to spend all the time that I feel well with them that I can right now.
I still haven't found the right words to say to my kids. They know I went to the doctor and go a lot and that I had a boo-boo in my neck. I have told them that I am going to be really tired for awhile but then I will get better. But we have not mentioned the "C" word at all.
Someday maybe I will put more of the details of this experience and the roller coaster of the last two months. But right now, I just figured a brief synopsis was good. I thank you all who have been giving me endless support, endless help, and encouragement. I have been overwhelmed with the love I have felt from so many of you. All the emails, texts, cards, food, flowers, cookies, baskets, and especially my mother in law and mom for helping with the kiddos. And Traci for forcing me out of the house and driving me places so I can feel normal even if just for an hour or so. I love you all and will never forget how you have all helped me get through this time.
And of course my husband, who has been BEYOND amazing. I definitely don't know how I would make it through this without you. And I still don't know how you do all that you do. But I thank you for doing it. For dealing with all my emotions and for taking AMAZING care of me, the kids, and working at night and any other chance you get to keep our home going. I love you.
Like my brother told me, something good has got to come from this. I already know one thing...when I do feel good again...I do NOT want to take ONE SINGLE DAY for granted. Our health is precious. And wasting a day that I feel good, would just be that- A WASTE.
Please pray for me and our family this week. Pray that I do well with the treatment and that my scans are clean. And pray for my kiddos (and me) if I have to be away from them. I know this is just a blip in the road and I will be back to my old self soon. Hopefully sooner rather than later!!
So, now it's out there. It has been a little weird blogging the last few months when really what has been going on has been so much bigger. But denial is one of the ways I deal with things...until I can't deny them anymore.
Please keep us all in your prayers this week!!