Monday, November 30, 2009

Thyroid Cancer

I think cancer is like the spanish one expects it. I sure wasn't expecting to hear it when I had an ultrasound done on my thyroid this week. As some of you know, I have several nodules in my thyroid (well, if you can refer to 14 as "several") so I asked the tech if there were any new ones and the size of the older ones so I'd know if any of them had grown. She showed me a couple of new ones and then she tabbed back to the scan of the largest of the nodules. It's up to 3cm now but the thing that concerned her was the "snowstorm" of microcalcifications in the nodule. She said she'd get the results over to my doctor as quickly as possible.

Microcalcifications in a thyroid nodule mean that the nodule is malignant. Its increase in size is also symptomatic. Ultrasounds are one way of diagnosing thyroid cancer and are 80% accurate. They'll be doing a biopsy on that nodule sometime soon (they haven't called me to schedule it yet) just to back it up but regardless of what the biopsy shows, the thyroid has got to go. It should have been removed two years ago when about 8 of those nodules hit the 2cm mark. The doctor said that the microcalcifications do indicate cancer and that she'd get me to a good surgeon as soon as they get the biopsy done.

I'm really not worried about this. Honestly, I'm not. So I have cancer.......I have a lot of other things too and this is the first diagnosis I've had in a long time that actually has a chance of being cured! LOL! Every other diagnosis I've gotten in the past two years has resulted in a doctor telling me, "I'm sorry, but this is something that you'll have to learn to live with". Thyroid cancer has a pretty good cure rate so all in all, it could be a whole lot worse.

The doctor hasn't discussed it with me yet but from what I've researched the course of treatment will be to completely remove the whole thyroid gland. Yay!! This thing is annoying and bulky and it's cutting off the blood flow to my brain. (and those things alone justify surgery to remove it as it should have been two years ago) I've had to deal with all that for a long time so getting this bulky thing out of me so I can breathe easier and feel better is something to look forward to.

After the surgery there is a six week period with no thyroid suppliments to try to get as much of the hormone out of my system as possible and then a mega dose of radioactive iodine. Since only thyroid cells absorb iodine that's the best way to get the radiation to the source. And that's it. No chemo or anything else. I'll be tested frequently and if it comes back, they'll do another round of the radioactive iodine.

Pretty cut and dried as I see it. That's best case scenario of course, but "best case" is what I'm counting on. The good news is that the microcalcifications only showed up in the one nodule and that means that it should be pretty well contained. I'm thinking positive that this is the way it's going to go and that I'll be cancer free so fast that I won't even remember that I had cancer in the first place.

I have to admit that all this on top of everything else is a little overwhelming, but I'll deal with it. I still don't know about the rheumatoid arthritis for sure. My rhuematologist and my hand surgeon are arguing about it. I wish they'd leave me out of their issues with each other. The hand surgeon says yes, the rheumatologist says no and my internist says she can't really help. She agrees that my hands look like I do but if the blood work says not, then the tissue biopsy is the only other way to know for sure because the blood tests don't always show it. Hmmmmmmm. I wonder if they can get a tissue biopsy when they're doing the thyroid surgery? Multi-tasking is a good thing! LOL! I'll have to ask them and see.  But in the meantime, I'm going to go on doing what I do.  I might slow down a little bit but then again, maybe not.  I'm not going to worry about it tho..........every day is a mini-day and I'll keep doing what I always do. 

Anyway, that's where we are right now. I probably gave y'all more information than you wanted but I'm trying to be very open with everyone about it. I'm not going to candy coat anything and I'll probably be telling a lot of bad jokes because even a dark sense of humor is good medicine.

It's gonna be alright.


  1. Sad to hear but I have learned noe and Im a fan you my friend.You should think possitive.Pls dont worry .Im supporting you when you feel bad you should write and we should share .Loves and with my best wishes.Every day we are waiting Miniday.

  2. Deb, sending all our best positive thoughts to you! Keep well and good luck with the treatment. Good you dont have to have chemo, and you sound very practical and positive so good for you!! take care, Kate xx

  3. Thanks so much for sharing your story. I will be praying for you each and every step of the way.
    It IS good news that the cancer can be surgically removed and with the radiation treatment you will be cured. I wish you all the best and hope you will continue to let us know how you're doing.

  4. Deb, it is very important to have the support of friends. I am sorry that you have to go through this, but all of your friends in blogland are backing you up with good thoughts and prayers for a speedy recovery. You have the best attitude for dealing with all of this! Keep it up!
    Hugs, Casey

  5. Oh Kathi! Thank-you for being so 'open' with us! That's what makes all of us so close! Whenever you need us, we'll be here! Both my Mom and my sister have had Thyroid Mom had 9 nodules that were making it hard to breathe...but neither were Cancerous. Dad still jokes about the 'Darth Vader' voice they had, I agree how the jokes can help. Laughter is the best medicine! And thank-you for saying what I've never had the guts to say, but it's sooooo true! (talking about the whole 3rd paragraph here!) What a great way to look at it! Keep your chin up hun....and remember one mini-day at a time:)

  6. I'm so sorry to hear about this! Take good care of yourself, and let us know how things develop. I'm keeping you in my thoughts :)

  7. I am sad to hear this, but I think your attitude about it is the best ever. My family has a lot of cancer history and we say that above all else, you have to stay positive and not let the cancer win. I hope they are able to get that biopsy when they do the surgery- it would be nice to have some answers to other health concerns too.
    I'll be keeping you in my thoughts too!

  8. I am a huge fan of your attitude and how you always have a positive and pragmatic outlook on hurdles in your life. But like everyone says, we are all here if you need.

  9. It is essential to be positive, it is true that thyroid cancer is one with the best percentage of cure.
    You have the best attitude. Er are with you.
    Take care!! And huge, huge hug