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Monday, February 17, 2014

Thyroid Cancer

So... I've never really talked about my Thyroid cancer.  Funny.  Most people do.  I've been a never been shy about saying I had it but actually talking about the whole experience in one go.  That, I've never done.  So here it goes.  My cousin was diagnosed first.  She had the familial type which meant that the entire family was supposed to go and get tested.  You may think you know what's coming next but wait for it.  I was told that my thyroid function was a little bit off but no sign of cancer.  I had to see an endocrinologist once a month but that was it.  My cousin had her thyroid(half anyway) removed.  I figured I was lucky.  It continued that way for about a year.  I started having issues swallowing.  My endocrinologist insisted that there was nothing wrong.  I insisted that she was wrong and that I wanted a ultrasound.  She refused.  I went to my GP and insisted.  I had a nodule.  She called me and wanted to a biopsy.  I told her politely to go screw herself and called the University of Pennsylvania.  You always have a friend in Pennsylvania.  When I got the endocrinologist, I had a biopsy that was cleared but a had to keep coming back for tests and my medication was increased significantly.  I figured that was it.  About two years later at a routine visit I was do for regular biopsy.  My dad was in the hospital recovering from a quadruple bypass and valve replacement.  It had even been suggested that I skip this appointment but I knew that I had to keep it.  When the doctor came back in the room he told me that unlike the previous biopsies this one had come back positive.  I said okay what's next.  He asked if I was okay, and said that I had the weirdest reaction that he had ever seen.  He had been a doctor for a long time.  I was immediately set up for surgery. I ended up with the head of surgical oncology because the doctors take it in rotation.  When I came to, I found out that I had three tumors. Three different strains of thyroid cancer.  None of which were the type my cousin had.  I also had involvement in my lymph nodes.  This meant that I had to had radioactive iodine.  I was my usual stellar self with the nurses in recovery.(this is sarcasm) Then I found out the diet I had to follow for the the RAI. Two weeks of horrid food, followed by banishment to a room where no one can touch you and everything has to washed thoroughly after you touch it.  It makes you feel like a leaper.  But finally it was over.  I'll be on medication the rest of my life and have to have ultrasounds periodically to check for regrowth.  I made it past five years.  That's considered the benchmark.  My cousin has since had the rest of her thyroid removed.  Sometimes I get preachy or loud on somethings but maybe that's a delayed reaction.  I was utterly calm and cool throughout my treatment.  I never screamed or yelled or freaked out.  So if I get upset with people that do stupid things, maybe I'm just upset that I didn't get to choose what happened to me.  I couldn't change my circumstances and they choose to do something stupid on purpose.  I also get upset that I got the only cancer that make you GAIN weight.  Sorry, I know that sounds stupid but it's true.  It's sometimes said that if you have to get cancer, thyroid is the one you want.  Let me tell you, NO ONE wants to have cancer.  I have had it, trust me.