Category Archives: Thyroid Cancer

Radioactive Iodine NOT always necessary for Papillary Thyroid Cancer

Hi All, Sparky here!

Please note that thanks to extensive research regarding Papillary Thyroid Cancer, radioactive iodine (RODI) is not always necessary unless your doctor clearly states otherwise/it looks like the cancer spread to the surrounding lymph nodes. Studies have shown that Papillary Thyroid Cancer is less likely to spread.

Here are some articles to review, and PLEASE discuss this with your doctor. I have been getting a few stories lately where people are prepping for RODI, and I realized I had not brought this up although my doctor mentioned it two years ago. My endrocrinologist is a UCLA professor and is very in touch with the latest research. I’m always hesitant to mention any type of medical “guidance” but there have been enough studies to conclude that radioactive treatment is not always necessary after a thyroidectomy for Papillary Thyroid Cancer.

After my surgery 7 years ago, I chose to NOT do RODI (before all this research came out). I wanted proof that the cancer had spread before I went and did anything that serious. Again, with my doctor’s approval, we chose to wait and see. Then research came out that papillary thyroid cancer is unlikely to metastasize (spread) (and I had a pretty large tumor, too). I’ve been cleared of any cancer (got my blood tested every year for five years, and it is a very slow growing cancer so I wasn’t worried about any alarming growth) and am confident in my decision.

Again, this was my choice and there is a lot of research out there to consider and talk about with your doctors.
Thank you for reading and thank you for being here. <3 On a side note, I'm 7 years thyroid free and doing damn good. If only I could quit the carbs haha

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Today’s theme is: Stay Off Google

The following story is from Steven who had a thyroidectomy as a result of papillary carcinoma. He had his thyroidectomy a week prior to this story, so he has a journey in front of him. SO happy to have this fantastic first chapter in his story, and we hope Steve keeps us all updated!
Love, Sparky

Hello all,

Today’s theme is: Stay Off Google.

My name is Steven, and I am a 27 year old male from Kansas City. Today marks one week since my total thyroidectomy. While I’m sure there will be changes to come, I at least wanted to share my experience so far in an effort to boost morale for other readers. This website helped my mental quite a bit before surgery, so I felt an obligation to do my part to contribute.

On February 27th, 2018, I went into my physician for a standard checkup/physical, due to the fact my longtime physician was retiring soon, and he wanted to see me before then. I have battled with anxiety and depression most of my life, but was almost excited to go in and see him. This is because I had been feeling FANTASTIC. I was happy with my job, happy with my hobbies, happy with my family, etc. It was the best I’ve felt in years. During the physical, he indicated he felt a small lump on my thyroid. He talked to me about the chances it was nothing, but advocated I go get a sonogram the next day at a referred hospital. I left unsettled, frustrated, felt cheated, etc. I felt ZERO symptoms, and didn’t even know what a thyroid did 🙂 . The mind is funny. I left the physician feeling sick and unhealthy, despite 30 minutes prior feeling outstanding. Crazy right?

I went and got a sonogram the next day and again was told it was probably nothing, and 90% are benign. A few days later, I was called back, and the ENT Doctor explained his concern. The odds were stacked against me a bit. Reason being I am 27 and a male and healthy. The first BAD sign was that he saw some calcification in the sonogram. This is often a bad sign. The chances kept getting worse and worse for a “non-issue” nodule. The next step was an FNA Bioposy. If you are nervous about these, don’t be! It takes 25 minutes, and the worst pain you get is the numbing needle. After that, it just feels weird. Not painful. The sensation of having something inside of your neck is strange, but its over quickly.

This brings me to my first point that I’ll tackle later. The waiting around for the results from the bioposy was 10000x worse than hearing the diagnosis, going through the surgery, and recovering. I’m not exaggerating. That week of waiting was far worse on my psyche than anything. This is something to consider. Please God do not do what I did. I started googling every experience ever since the human body was developed. I surfed every message board ever reading horror stories. I blocked out the good ones, and focused on the bad ones. I convinced myself I had cancer days before I was even told there was a suspicion. It did me no good, and if I could go back in time, I would have handled that anxiety much differently.

Moving along, the reports came back as Suspicious for Papillary Carcinoma, and a TT was recommended. My world came to a stop. I defeated all the good odds. My surgery was scheduled for about 10 days later. I tried so hard to get out of it. I could not come to grips that in 2018 a TT was necessary for something “suspicious”. I sought second opinions, and looked at every method possible to keep my thyroid. But the day came closer, and I was forced to accept it.

But let’s move on to the happy stuff… : )

On March 21st, I had my thyroid removed. I was nervous of course. I was in a full gown, with an IV in my arm, being constantly asked what the doctors were doing and what my name was to protect themselves. The doctor asked “Would you like something sedating to relax you?”… If you are asked this, DO IT. It is amazing. Idk what the hell it is, but it rules. Next thing I know, I gave my dad a fist-bump and my mom a kiss, and was wheeled away.

I don’t remember going “under”. I don’t even think they warned me. BOOM! Hours later, I awoke in a strange room with someone handing me a grape popsicle. It was the best treat I’d ever had. I was in ZERO pain. I was still sleepy but realized what was happening. I was told I was being goofy and making nurses laugh, so hopefully I didn’t say anything dumb : ) But please note, I had ZERO pain. That was great of modern medicine to grant me. Soon, I was hanging out in my own room with a TV and buttons for help where I stayed the night. I got woken up at 12 and 4 for vital checks, but that wasn’t bad. I was discharged the next morning with instructions.

So here I am a week later, expecting my life to be miserable. I expected a scar under my chin that would freak everyone out. I expected to be sleepless in pain. I expected to be called back and told they had to go back in. I expected the scar to get infected. I expected to have bouts of anxiety, depression, sickness, headaches, nausea, hair loss, etc. This is because I googled all of this.

HOWEVER, One week later, I feel exactly the same as I did before. Perhaps a tiny bit more tired, but I blame that on staying up late and the mental fatigue following coming off as anesthesia. I was back to work on Monday and came back to supportive and curious coworkers. I don’t blame them. My scar is so far down my neck that you can’t even see it, and my follow up appointment noted it was healing wonderfully. Are there going to be changes in the future? Probably, but I have the full support of medicine and doctors that monitor this stuff. Will my life change? Probably, but was my experience the same as Google told me it would be? No. Not even close.

Moral of the story is please note the positive stories, and catch yourself before falling down the rabbit hole of horror stories. You have NO idea what other medical issues someone is dealing with on top of having their thyroid removed. You are not them, and they are not you. If you google the symptoms, you will convince yourself you have those symptoms.

It’s 2018. Find a trusted and experienced surgeon, recognize your options and resources, take your medicine, and hopefully your first week experience is as good as mine.

Thank you for letting me share, and hang in there!

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Total Thyroidectomy and Doing Great

My name is Anel; I am a female currently 25 years old.
About two months ago, sometime in August 2017, I went for a regular check up to the doctor and the doctor noticed I had enlarged thyroid glands.
Therefore, I was sent for blood work and a neck ultrasound. My blood work came out normal – the thyroid levels were what they are suppose to be but my ultrasound revealed that I had 4 nodules, two on each thyroid gland.

I was sent to a specialist for a biopsy and turns out I had papillary thyroid cancer. The biopsy came out inconclusive on two of the nodules they tested; only one nodule came out positive for cancer so they couldn’t tell me what stage cancer it was.

I was told I would have to have a complete thyroidectomy. After staying up so many nights watching videos and reading stories about the terrible symptoms people get after surgery, I was super nervous. I read that you gain weight even if you eat right and exercise, have a foggy brain, feel tired, lose hair and loss of energy.

I had surgery to remove my thyroid on September 19; it is now September 29 so I am 10 days post op and I feel GREAT!

I had surgery at 11 am and woke up at 7:30 pm from the anesthesia. I felt good after the surgery, a few hours later I just had a really sore throat from the tube they stick down to breathe. I spent one night at the hospital to make sure my calcium levels were okay. From the day of the surgery till today I have not had to take any pain medication, my neck was just really stiff and tense nothing major.

I was given 135 mcg Levothyroxine to take the very next day and now for the rest of my life. I wanted to let anyone who is reading this know that it is not always negative – it can be a positive outcome.

I have not felt any different since my surgery, I started going to the gym just 3 days later, I have been taking it lightly as to not lifting any weights over 10lbs per doctor’s order. I have changed my diet as well; I am following a gluten free diet and I know I can easily make this a lifestyle change and I have felt a difference in my body – I feel healthier in general. I will be doing the radioactive iodine in about a month and will be getting my thyroid levels tested in 2 weeks in case I need any adjustments.

But so far so good no complaints 🙂

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5 Year Thyroidectomy Anniversary!

In celebration of my five year thyroidectomy anniversary, I am captaining a Relay for Life team. If you have found this site helpful, please consider making a small donation towards my fundraiser, which raises money for the American Cancer Society.

What a wild ride it has been. I’d say overall my quality of life is amazing.
Here is a recap from start to present of my thyroidectomy journey:

  • First 6 months after surgery – I have almost no memory of this time. It was like living in a hazy dream. Tired all the time. Tired and hazy.
  • Next year – very difficult to explain but essentially I felt like I had to ‘re-learn’ my body. Not in a ‘bad’ way but… things are different.
  • My short term memory feels severely impacted and I started using an iPad at work to help log notes – this has totally helped!
  • One year anniversary of the thyroidectomy, I completed a triathlon. I felt like a champion.
  • Year Two I learned that a low carb/high fat diet now works best for me to lose weight.
  • I also realize that not only is my short term memory junk, but facial recognition has devolved. I have a difficult time telling humans apart.
  • Year Three and Four I realize that I tire easily – endocrinologist confirms my levels are fine. I’ll chalk this up to age (I am in my late 30s) and lack of thyroid
  • Year Four – three different doctors tell me not to go on Birth Control because it will conflict with my thyroid medications. I do not listen to them. I should have listened to them. What a mistake. Ugh.
  • Year Five – just found out that my form of thyroid cancer was downgraded and is no longer a ‘cancer’! Follicular Papillary malignant mass does not spread outside the tumor and does not require radioactive iodine. I feel happy and justified that I didn’t go the radioactive iodine route.

2016

2016

October 2011

October 2011

Yes, I even put my surgery on my calendar, way back then.

Yes, I even put my surgery on my calendar, way back then.

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Not all thyroid tumors are cancer!

Source article: It’s Not Cancer: Doctors Reclassify a Thyroid Tumor

“An international panel of doctors has decided that a type of tumor that was classified as a cancer is not a cancer at all.

As a result, they have officially downgraded the condition, and thousands of patients will be spared removal of their thyroid, treatment with radioactive iodine and regular checkups for the rest of their lives, all to protect against a tumor that was never a threat.

Their conclusion, and the data that led to it, was reported Thursday in the journal JAMA Oncology. The change is expected to affect about 10,000 of the nearly 65,000 thyroid cancer patients a year in the United States…

The reclassified tumor is a small lump in the thyroid that is completely surrounded by a capsule of fibrous tissue. Its nucleus looks like a cancer but the cells have not broken out of their capsule, and surgery to remove the entire thyroid followed by treatment with radioactive iodine is unnecessary and harmful, the panel said. They have now renamed the tumor. Instead of calling it “encapsulated follicular variant of papillary thyroid carcinoma,” they now call it “noninvasive follicular thyroid neoplasm with papillary-like nuclear features,” or NIFTP. The word “carcinoma” is gone.”

Please read the source article as well as the medical article for more details.
Make sure your doctor is up to date with medical studies, and always get a second opinion from a specialist!

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Medullary Thyroid Cancer Post Surgery Story

I feel compelled to write my story, as this site helped give me some hope before I had my thyroid removed.
I am Glenda, a 48 year old woman from Alaska.

I had a diagnosis of Medullary Thyroid Cancer and had a thyroidectomy in October 2014. Although it’s only been two months, I’m here to testify that I am feeling great and hopeful.

Prior to the surgery, all I was reading were stories of people suffering with weight gain, hair loss, skin issues and/or mental fog/problems, among other issues. I felt so good before the surgery, in spite of the cancer, that I was afraid to lose that well-being. I had never taken any kind of
medication consistently and even avoided aspirin and other pain relievers in my day to day goings on. Now I was going to have to take medication every day for the rest of my life; it was worrisome to anticipate. I didn’t know if I’d be one of the “can’t get off the couch, I feel awful all the time, this is a nightmare” stories.

Fast forward two months and I feel almost back to normal. The surgery was difficult as the general anesthetic made me so sick. Regardless, I started on my synthroid and calcium/vitamin D and within a week felt good enough to travel 14 hours back home by plane. Soon after, I started walking on my treadmill and have been doing 2 to 3 miles a day. I have ample energy and am optimistic! I sometimes have had nights where I got 5 hours sleep (not associated with my health) and I’ve had the stamina to get through the day, even choosing not to nap when given the chance.

I’ve had a little issue with blood pressure being high and heart rate increased, a little breathlessness, but that is settling down. I haven’t gained any weight at all, my hair actually seems like it’s thicker and I’m losing less than before the surgery. I’m back to work as a teacher and have the energy to wrangle third graders. At one point, my blood tests showed me hypo-thyroid and my medication was increased from 112mcg to 137mcg. It was funny because I honestly didn’t feel the effects of being hypo. My doctor thinks the under-medication could have been causing my high blood pressure, which is currently much lower.

My doctor also addressed my fears pre-surgery by telling me that many people who have problems may be attributing it to the loss of their thyroid, when really it has more to do with hormonal issues associated with menopause. I’m sure there are people who legitimately experience negative effects but I’m here to say “It doesn’t have to be everyone”. I have a friend who lost her thyroid 30 years ago. She is now in her 60’s, and she looks and feels fabulous. I also was surprised to find out that actress Sofia Vergara doesn’t have a thyroid and is able to work out and maintain a healthy lifestyle and busy schedule.

So if you are facing surgery, keep positive! Those negative stories out there don’t have to be you! Get your exercise, eat right, do a little yoga and/or have some quiet meditative time to quiet your mind. Good luck and blessings to you!

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“Flip or Flop” Host Diagnosed by Fan

Source Article where below originally appears – reposting

HGTV’s Flip or Flop has loads of fans, but one in particular changed host Tarek El Moussa’s life entirely.

Ryan Read, 31, a registered nurse, was watching a marathon day of season one earlier this year when she noticed a lump on El Moussa’s neck.

“She didn’t want to seem like a crazy fan,” says El Moussa’s wife and co-host, Christina. “Instead of writing to us, she Googled and found the production company and sent an email saying, ‘This is not a joke. I’m a registered nurse. I’ve been watching Flip or Flop. I noticed that the host Tarek has a large nodule on his thyroid, and he needs to have it checked out.’ ”

Tarek, 32, knew something was amiss. “I was having a harder time swallowing, and this lump was getting bigger,” he tells PEOPLE. “I actually went to the doctor twice for it, and they said it’s nothing. So, once I saw [the note from Read], I was like, ‘You know what? I need to get a second opinion.’ ”

An ultrasound initially showed a 5 percent chance of the lump being cancerous. But when the doctors conducted a biopsy on June 12, they realized it was cancer, and the lump had to be removed entirely.

“They said they would remove half of it and be done in an hour,” says Tarek. “But it ended up being four hours, it was cancer, and they ended up removing my entire thyroid. … When I woke up, my wife was crying and the first thing I asked was, ‘It’s cancer, isn’t it?’ And she said, ‘Yeah.’ ”

Flip or Flop Host Tarek El Moussa Battling Thyroid Cancer| Health, TV News
Christina El Moussa and Tarek El Moussa and their daughter Taylor
COURTESY CHRISTINA EL MOUSSA
The bad news didn’t end there. The cancer had spread to his lymph nodes, and he had to undergo radioactive iodine therapy, which meant he had to be isolated from his family for their protection.

“It was a nightmare,” he says. “They stay in a different bedroom, and I can’t stay with my daughter for more than a few minutes at a time. She wanted to hug me and watch TV every night and give kisses, and we couldn’t do that.”

Last Friday, Tarek did get some good news. “I was told that the cancer didn’t spread beyond my neck,” he says. “I’m hopeful now. We’re filming a bunch of episodes and going on with life as best we can.”

Tarek and Christina will discuss their battle with cancer Thursday on an episode of the syndicated talk show The Doctors.

Tarek will find out in the next week if he is cancer free, but he has already learned plenty from the experience. “I’ve always been very work, work, work,” he says. “So, I stepped back and re-evaluated what I wanted, like spending time with my family and all that good stuff.”

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LC’s Story: Rad AND Rad-ioactive – Thyroidectomy and Radioactive Iodine

Sometimes having something so small taken away doesn’t seem like the most extreme thing, until you realize after it’s gone just HOW important it was.linda

It started in December 2010 when what I thought was a cold just wouldn’t go away. From there it turned into a cough that just lingered for months. Every month I was at the doctors, urgent care or ER with the same issue; no amount of antibiotics, cough meds/suppressants, allergy pills or post nasal drips were helping at all.

In May of 2011, after being seen in the ER, the doctor had asked why I haven’t been referred to an ENT at this point. So there was the recommendation (with HMO there’s nothing like waiting). Late May was my first visit to the ENT, who felt a lump in the middle of my throat and asked how long have I had the lump. I don’t really know, I’ve never noticed it before, but the more he made me feel it, the more I wondered just how long has that thing been there?!

In June I was scheduled for an ultrasound that came back not looking so clear and off I went for a biopsy.
Those biopsies, they never tell you just how uncomfortable they’re going to be or how my eyes wouldn’t stop watering afterwards or how my throat would feel like it was a swollen football and I wouldn’t be able to talk.

My ENT doctor, bless his soul, must have been the nicest man when he had to deliver the news; the words will forever be in my head almost like a marriage proposal. “LC, I want to make sure you understand and listen to what I’m about to tell you. You’re biopsy came back and the nodule that has grown on the outside of your thyroid has tested Stage 1 cancer”.

“WHAT?!?!?!?!?!CANCER!!!!!!!” Of course the hysterics hit once you hear those words, it’s like a movie in slow motion “Yoooooouuuuuuuu haaaaaaveeee Caaaaaaaannnnnnccccceeeerrrrrrr”. Right?!

After the water poured out of my eyes and my ears were no longer muffled, I could hear him speaking again. “It’s going to be OKAY! It’s only Stage 1, we’ve caught it in time, these are our options: 1) we go in and remove the nodule and send it for testing, but if it does come back that the cancer has spread to your thyroid then we will have to go back in for another surgery to remove the whole thing or 2) we remove everything, you’re on thyroid meds for the rest of your life and that’s that”. Well those two very wonderful choices left me speechless, powerless and most of all in shock. I asked “Doc, what would YOU do, I mean if it was You or your daughter or your wife, what would you do?!?!”

He had the most gentle voice and understanding spirit “LC, I’d remove the whole thing because I wouldn’t want to take any chances, but it’s not me – it’s you and I need you to go home discuss this with you’re family and call me to let me know what you want to do, I will be doing the surgery either way and no matter what I won’t let you down, You’re going to be just fine“.

Well the options weren’t really options at all; I’ve got a 50/50 so let’s just go all the way and take the whole thing out so I don’t have to deal with it again. Things are explained so differently and understood in a different nature and language when the word Cancer is attached to it. What you hear is it’s just a gland, you don’t really need it, there’s meds for it, it weighs about an ounce and it’s the shape of a butterfly. Huh…who knew. But in reality the meaning of that tiny little one ounce butterfly gland is…Controls your Weight, Skin, Hair, Nails, Mood, Weight (oh did I mention that already), Energy, Metabolism, Weight – Oh YES your WEIGHT! Being female, this weight thing is actually an important factor in life, being a female over 40 it’s a great big factor in life. Don’t be so quick to just fly away there little butterfly, turns out you’re actually a main factor in my equation. But ALL That, I didn’t hear, all you heard was Cancer and at that point I just wanted it all gone.

September 2011 I had a total thyroidectomy, a lot of ice cream, my venti iced nonfat vanilla latte the day after surgery and a crazy amount of rest. Two weeks after surgery my follow up and removal of stitches came so there I went to my wonderful Doctor/Surgeon just waiting to have my bandages off and get back to my life again. As my sister watched in awe as the doctor snipped and clipped, I just couldn’t wait to move my neck around and see my scar. Then he sat back and said how beautiful it was going to be, it was not going to be noticeable at all and there was some things in my chart he wanted to go over.

Then it all began like this “LC, I received the results back from what was taken and it seems that the cancer has spread to your left lymph node“. Again ——————- WHAT?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

I don’t really know what he said after that, since my ears muffled and my eyes wouldn’t stop watering, so it was left to my sister to hear everything that was going on through her own tears. After sometime all I heard was we are going to treat this with Radioactive Iodine (RAI) and do a body scan. I’m going to be “Radio Active”?!?!?!?!

With the conversation going “it’s only 3 days and do you have a beach house to stay in perhaps?” A beach house?!?! Really?!?! No I don’t. Because I’m going to have to stay somewhere isolated for 3 days and it’s going to require some extra measures on my part.

There was a time that came that I really “Lost It” – the Biohazard Ward at the hospital when they explained all the details that involved the RAI treatment, like being contaminated and isolated for 8 days. EIGHT DAYS?!?!?!?! WTH! What happened to 3?! Well, the 3 is when you’re completely and ridiculously radioactive; the other 5 are when it’s leaving your system and extra precaution. That’s when the time came that I just got up, walked out and said “Forget it – I’m NOT doing this!” Leaving my parents there to apologize that their daughter is delirious and under a lot of stress. Two weeks later we tried it again, this time my parents called for backup and made my sister go with us, to be the watch guard. No contact for 8 days…

November 2011 was the day I actually became my super hero alter ego “Wonder Woman”, becoming radioactive, but no – my pee didn’t light up or become a beacon in the night, I was just an average person calling in for Starbucks orders to be left at my door and magazines to be dropped off when my sister took her lunch break. It was the longest 8 days I can remember…My kids brought my dog to wave to me from the car as I looked out the window and my boyfriend would stay on the phone with me when he was outside to try and make me laugh. But it finally ended the day before Thanksgiving and at Thanksgiving dinner my sister got the scissors out and cut off my hospital wrist band.

Mid 2012 I tattooed the biohazard symbol, the exact one from that wristband, on the inside of my right wrist as a symbol of strength, growth and never giving up. It reminds me everyday that no matter what I thought I’d never get through, I did. It reminds me that I am a Wonder Woman and I will always fight the fight.

There have been bumps in the road: weight gain, hair and nails are thinner, my metabolism is wacky, my crazy isn’t always in check and no matter what dosage of thyroid meds you’re on it just isn’t the same as that little butterfly gland some of us didn’t know was so important. I’ve fought through weight gain AND it has been a struggle, I can say that after gaining 40 pounds from my RAI and unbalanced meds, I’ve lost 18 and have been able to keep that off. I still have watchful eyes for another 3 years, but I don’t mind as long as nothing spreads or grows. It’s been a tough road but you finally realize it’s your battle and the only one that can be persistent enough to win it is — YOU!

Don’t Ever give Up and no matter what the doctors say, listen to your body it tells you things ONLY you can hear. If I wasn’t so persistent in going back and forth and fighting for what I knew was wrong, my cancer would have never been detected or would have been caught and Lord only knows what stage it would have landed me in or other damage it would have wreaked havoc on. I didn’t take anything less and I changed my life, you can too.

If you want to read more about (and by) LC, please check out her blog at EZBlu.blogspot.com.

For some of us our little butterfly has left, but it doesn’t mean we can’t grow our own wings and fly.

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My Two Year Check In

So it’s been almost two years now. Got my cancer marker blood results back the other week and the doctor said they looked great, albeit iron and Vitamin D deficient. As my Dad says, who isn’t deficient in those?

My thyroid hormone levels are also super high but as my poor endocrinologist has found out, if we drop them I turn into a crazy, suicidal, depressed wacko. So between my high meds and my low carb diet, I’m doing pretty well mentally.

Got the ultrasound yesterday. Now, it’s not as bad as needles but I am still sensitive about things being near my neck, and a half hour (or was it a billion hours?) of lying on my back with someone pressing hard against my neck was pretty rough. The technician let me have several breather breaks to get through it.

Doctor gets back to me and says my ultrasound results are “reassuring”. REASSURING? WHAT?? Sigh. Oh well, better than NOT reassuring, right? I asked for some more information on what ‘reassuring’ means, but I feel pretty ‘reassured’ between the ultrasound and the blood results.

Yeah, two years in, three more years of check ups to go!

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A Chaplain’s Thyroidectomy – First Chapter in his Journey

I am still in the middle of this. I am a 50 year-old male who is active, competing in 5K and 10K races over the past twenty years or so. I participated in a Sprint Triathlon in April 2013. I plan to do another in 2014. I tell people that the thyroid thing has pretty much been a non-event for me, an inconvenience at most. My wife disagrees. But, it is really how I feel. It has taken three days from me and forced me to take a week off of work; because my boss pretty much insisted.

I am a corporate chaplain for four companies and see approximately 500 people per week. My hours are somewhat flexible and I love what I do. I look forward to going to work every day. I love to see the folks I get to serve. Currently, I only have one early morning per week (get up at 4:00 AM on site by 6:00AM); the rest of the week I don’t start until 9:00 AM. One night, I work until 10:00 PM. I have not shared my diagnosis or surgery with any of them because it is my job to serve them and help them through these types of things. If I start to share, it becomes about me. I am sure there will come a time that sharing my story with someone will be helpful to them; but that hasn’t happened yet. I have been able to hide my scar with high neck crew t-shirts (a big jump after 30 years of low v-necks). I usually wear button down collars; so, often the t-shirt doesn’t even show.

My thyroid was partially removed for nodules 7/12/2013. The doc removed the isthmus and most of the right side. First surgery was a breeze. Surgery started at 6:00 pm; out by 9:00 PM; home by 10:00 pm; back to work on Monday. Pain killers on Saturday and Sunday and at night before bed on Monday and Tuesday.

I had the rest of the thyroid removed due to papillary carcinoma on Friday, 8/23/2013. The second surgery had some complications due to a lot of lymph nodes. I needed a drain in my neck and had to stay in the hospital until Sunday, 8/25, due to calcium levels. I took pain killers in the hospital over the weekend and one on Monday. The attending physician only prescribed half the dose of pain killers as the first time. They took the edge off and I was OK.

If not for the drain, I could have gone back to work on Monday. I am still doing everything I can, work-wise, from home. I walked the quater-mile to the grocery store and back on Monday. My 68 year-old mother cut my grass on Monday because the doc said light duty for two weeks.

I went to the doc on Wednesday, 8/28, to have the drain out. The doc had received the pathology – no cancer in the left side, 3 out of 21 lymph nodes malignant. He pulled the drain and released me to cut the grass next week. My energy levels are as good or better than before the surgery.

I saw the endocrinologist yesterday. That was a blessing. I received a call from the scheduler at 1:30. She explained that she was just given instructions to set me up with the endocrinologist and when she looked at the schedule, there was an appointment that just opened up at 2:00. She asked if I could make it. Of course I could. The doc was surprised too. She said she had looked at her schedule and didn’t have any openings until November. She looked at my chart, made some calculations and upped my Synthroid dose, which I went on in the hospital. We also set up the RAI treatment plan – which starts when I get back from a vacation I have planned in September.

My treatment for RAI will be:
Week 1 – Go off Synthroid, go on Cytomel
Week 2 – Low iodine diet starts
Week 3 – Stop Cytomel
Week 4 – Start getting labs done
When TSH is above 30 call for treatment which will be administered 1.5 days later
2 Days after dose – stop Low iodine diet, resume Synthroid and Cytomel (for two weeks only)
7-10 Days after dose – Thyroid Whole Body Scan

I should be done before Thanksgiving.

I hope this was helpful and that your experience is as good or better than mine.

Blessings,
Bill C.
Chaplain

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