Tag Archives: female

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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Inspirationally Adorable Grave’s Survivor’s Story

My name is Summer, and I am 22 years old. I live in Marietta, Georgia and am female.

About 5 years ago, I began having awful symptoms. My body actually felt like it was shutting down. My heart would race, my hair fell out, I gained weight, my skin got pale and broken out, you name it. 5 long years I suffered thinking my heart was my problem. I went to a cardiologist, the hospital, and doctors SEVERAL times. I used to cry because suffering so greatly and not knowing what is wrong is heart breaking. I had been suffering since 18, and finally as a last resort I went to an endocrinologist.

Immediately, he freaked. My levels were up AND down. I was all over the place. He gave me options but when he said surgery, for some reason I knew I had to have it done. I knew what my life would end up being if I kept the demon in my throat. My grandmother has awful Graves. Yes, it is scary, but dying is much scarier.

So I didn’t give it much more thought and right after my 21st birthday, cut the thing out.

I have to admit, my heart instantly responded. That night, I slept. No heart racing, panic attacks, crying. I didn’t care that it felt like I stuck a cactus full of angry bees down my throat. I am 22 now, and the struggle was so real. I was so tired when I first started taking the hormones.

My advice? Don’t give up! I haven’t lost a whole lot of weight, but I used to be obsessed with working out and hardly ate at all. So really, it’s a chance at a new life. Find what works for you. I CAN lose weight. I CAN EAT PIZZA AND COOKIES. I don’t eat them often, but I don’t focus on my weight. I can climb Kennesaw mountain AND eat doritos.

I love this blog because not every story is sad and I’m so happy to see everyone else so happy! I sleep without my heart racing!
Do what you need to do man, sometimes it can be life or death with that stupid butterfly thing!
Eat well, and you will feel well.
Does it suck sometimes? Of course!
Will you cry while eating an entire pie? I’ve done it!

No journey is easy, but I’m starting to find my motivation. I feel GREAT, and I look smaller despite the number on the scale.
Work hard, sweat, eat well, and let’s beat all of those who don’t believe you can be fine without a thyroid!
So give yourself a facial,
try a new hair color,
try some weird exercise you find on YouTube, make it a game.
Try making pasta out of veggies with the veggetti!(personally I love it),
try lifting weights and body strength exercise (makes you feel like the hulk and very powerful highly recommend) (Pinterest has great home workouts for moms and people strapped for time).

My final thought, if any of you have made it through my long story, is that it can be a very positive thing. After what I read on Google, I was devastated by the horror stories. I didn’t believe it was possible to be happy and healthy without my thyroid. Being so young, I still get bothered by the fact I will have to be mindful of my health the rest of my life, but that will never stop me. I have proved even myself wrong and will continue to live life to the fullest. Salad and Doritos. Workouts and naps. Surgery was a small price to pay compared to fighting for my life, and that is what keeps me going.

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Jennifer evicted her multi-nodular, Hashimoto’s attacked thyroid

I had been struggling with the symptoms for approximately the last three years. I was always cold, experienced unexplained weight gain, severe headaches, digestion problems, losing hair, dry skin, brittle nails, and consistent trouble swallowing. And one of the worst symptoms was the feeling like something was stuck in my throat 24 hours a day. I had to work at even swallowing my own saliva!

About a year and a half ago, I went to my doctor and after an ultrasound they discovered multiple nodules on my thyroid. A FNA biopsy was done and no cancer was found so I was told to follow up in about six months. In the meantime I was told my symptoms could not possibly be contributed to my thyroid.

I had every medical test I could think of to include an Endoscopy, ultrasound, swallow test, blood tests, MRI, and I was even scheduled for a CT scan, but by that point I had given up all hope and didn’t go. I was very discouraged.

My blood tests always came back within the “normal range” so It seemed synthetic thyroid hormones would do me no good.

I finally insisted they test me for antibodies and low and behold I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s. However, even with this diagnosis my blood test came back within the “normal range”, so no medication was prescribed. I was again advised to follow up in a couple of months and I just had to deal with all the symptoms.

For a little while I just gave up and dealt with that until I couldn’t take it anymore and went back to a doctor at a clinic sponsored by my employer. I finally found someone to listen to me and she sent me to a general surgeon. He assured me I wasn’t going crazy and the swallowing issues were in fact likely due to my thyroid nodules. New nodules were also found an a follow-up ultrasound so it was decided I would have a total thyroidectomy on September 28, 2015.

Fast forward to today. I am approximately three weeks out from my surgery and I have zero regrets! There was a fair amount of pain after surgery but nothing compared to what I’ve experienced the last three years. The pain medication took care of it. I was also given levothyroxine immediately after surgery and started it the next day. The surgeon said my thyroid was quite large and had started wrapping around my esophagus and that was why I was having the swallowing issues. He told me with my diseased thyroid out of my body I would begin to feel much better and guess what….

I feel great! feel like I have finally got my life back. I’m able to stay warm, I have energy again, the headaches have decreased drastically, and most importantly I CAN SWALLOW! I am experiencing tightness and swelling in my neck where the incision is, but I have faith that that will soon disappear with time. The scar is minimal and is already starting to fade. I am using silicone strips and they seem to be doing the trick.

I,too, only found horror stories about the surgery and recovery, but I’m happy to share that mine is just the opposite and I have faith I will only continue to improve. I know my medication may need to be adjusted, but right now it seems to be working and I’m very happy with the results.

My only advice is to advocate advocate advocate for yourself. You know your own body and when something feels wrong trust your instincts. I wish I would have pushed to the doctors years ago and not suffered the last couple years but I’m not going to look back I’m just going to look forward and be glad I have been getting my life back.

Thanks for allowing me to share my story and I wish you all the best!

Jennifer

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Filed under AutoImmune, Hashimoto's, Nodules

Grave’s Disease

Hey there!  My name is Laura, I’m a 31 year old female from Missouri.

First of all I want to thank you for starting this blog – I read the stories over and over as my thyroidectomy approached.  It really helped calm my nerves, hearing real stories from people who went through it.

I was diagnosed with Graves disease (hyperactive thyroid) at the age of 25.  I was feeling awful – sweaty, shaky, a constant upset stomach, racing heart rate – I had no idea what was wrong with me.  For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a fast heart rate and super fast metabolism.  My husband always calls me his hummingbird, because I reminded him of one with my sped up body functions and nervousness.  I hadn’t had my thyroid checked in a good 5 years or so (my pediatrician checked this a lot when I was young, as I was always very small), and I didn’t even think about it at the time, because I had no idea what thyroid disease actually meant.  So I went to the doctor and they checked multiple things, thyroid levels being one of them.  They called me with my results of Graves disease, and sent me immediately to an endo.  From that point on I was on different levels of methimazole and beta blockers.  After a year or so, my endo tried to take me off of methimazole to see how my thyroid would do, and it came back even worse than before.  So there we were, I was told I would have graves disease for life. 

In 2013 I became pregnant and immediately stopped the methimazole, at my endo’s request.  Thankfully my levels straightened out during my pregnancy, so I didn’t have to take any medication.  I felt the best I have ever felt when I was pregnant!  July 2014 I had my amazing beautiful baby boy, and continued to feel good.  I actually thought MAYBE my thyroid had corrected itself for good.  I had an appointment with my endo scheduled for 6 weeks post partum, but I felt so great and was so attached to my baby that I cancelled my appointment and made one for 6 weeks later.  Big mistake not going to my original appointment: within 2 weeks my thyroid had spiraled completely out of control, it was so enlarged that I was choking on food when I tried to swallow, and my resting heart rate was 140.  I called my endo the next day, and once again, my thyroid was worse than it had ever been, nearing a storm, and my thyroid was also making me very anemic, almost to the point of needing a blood transfusion.  This is when surgery was highly recommended.  I went for a second opinion, and she also agreed that I am a perfect candidate for a thyroidectomy, and it’d be best to do it as soon as possible.  When I met with the surgeon, he immediately made me feel more confident about this procedure and decision, but I was still super nervous about it.

I was so nervous leading up to surgery, as this was my first time having surgery, plus I was losing a part of my body, a major part – an ORGAN!  This blog really helped me understand the process of surgery and healing, and it was great to have support from others that had gone through this.  My surgery went well, it was about 2 hours, which was longer than expected, because it was much larger than they thought.  I will admit, the pain that first day was rough – I didn’t even want to drink water.  So with the help of drugs, I slept most of the day and ended up staying overnight for observation, although before they saw how big my thyroid was, I was originally expected to go home the day of surgery.  The next morning, they checked my calcium levels and they were way down but they let me go home anyway.  They sent me home with a plethora of meds – 2 different pain meds, anti-nausea pills, synthroid and calcium.  Note: I took the liquid pain meds bc the idea of swallowing a horse pill on this tender throat made me cringe.  Dr said it would only be about half as effective but it was up to me.  I took that risk and did just fine.  Ahhh home sweet home 🙂 My husband showered me with lots of ice packs, ice cream and love. After a long weekend of resting at home, with ice packs and ice cream and soup I was feeling pretty good.  My voice started coming back way faster than I expected, only 2 days of having no voice and then it came back pretty quickly.  I felt good enough to go back to work a week after surgery.  I was tired, and my voice was hoarse, but over all I felt pretty good.  

I am now 7 weeks post surgery and so far I am glad that I had the thyroidectomy.  It is amazing having a normal heart rate, and one of the first things I noticed was that when I take a deep breath in, I can breathe easier!  It’s amazing.  Oh yeah, and I don’t have that massive bulge sticking out of my throat.  My scar looks great, I have been staying out of the sun and putting Vitamin E oil on it morning and night.  I’m very happy with my surgeon and how well he did.  My endo recently upped my synthroid from 75mcg to 100, as my TSH was 19.  I am feeling a bit tired and lightheaded here and there, but otherwise I can’t complain!  I can’t wait until my levels are completely straightened out – but I think we are on our way 🙂 I hope my story continues to be a positive one, and I hope I can encourage or help someone else going through the pain of thyroid disease.

Thanks,
Laura

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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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Filed under Medullary, Thyroid Cancer

A Londoner’s Thyroidectomy Story – Hyperactive and Nodules

What was the reason for your thyroidectomy? – Hyperactive thyroid: thyroid nodule
What age were you when your thyroid was removed? – 34
What is your current age? – 36
What is your gender? – Female

Our London friend’s positive post thyroidectomy story!:

At the age of 17 I discovered a lump in my throat: a thyroid nodule. My thyroid was only a bit hyperactive, but doctors recommended an iodine treatment. What a hell my life was afterwards. I got severe hypo and gained massive weight while hardly eating anything. (That’s not great during puberty…) The swing in thyroid levels made me depressed and not knowing that the depression “wasn’t me but purely hormonal driven” was scary.

With thyroxine (thyroid-hormone) I got my life back on track. After 2-3 years doctors asked me to reduce my Thyroxine as my blood levels showed I was slightly hyper. I responded really badly to lowering my medication! For me personally, it’s a detox period of 3-8 weeks in which I was depressed, tired, cold and am gaining weight. This time I knew, though, it was the thyroid hormones playing tricks with me and I could deal with the feelings of being depressed. Still… wasn’t too thrilled about the weight gain. I was thrilled I was off the thyroid medication after a few months, though, and considered myself cured!

However, my nodule came back. The nodule kept growing and growing and doctors decided to put me on Carbimazole (to lower the thyroid hormone levels) to make sure I did not get hyper. They gave me a bit too much and 2 months before my wedding I gained 7 kilos and could all of a sudden not fit in my wedding dress anymore (the one they ordered in a bit too big as they would make it more fitted later). There were quite a lot of tears. Doctors were very sympathetic, changed meds and on my wedding day I had lost it all and looked radiant. (If only losing the weight that quickly would always be so easy!)

During my first pregnancy (no troubles falling pregnant whatsoever, which is fabulous having learned of other stories from thyroid patients!) I was monitored carefully. I seriously have great doctors. The Carbimazole was increased slowly during my pregnancy up to the highest level acceptable during a pregnancy. We agreed that before a second pregnancy, my thyroid had to be removed as by now I was taking too much Carbimazole for a pregnancy. So we did.

I had my complete thyroidectomy a month before I turned 35. I was scared, but the operation was quick and I recovered quickly. Of course, I gained a few kilos after: that’s part of the game playing with your thyroid. By then I was training with a personal trainer who also helped out with a diet (without being hungry) and without losing any weight, I looked the best I ever had.

4-5 Months after the thyroidectomy I fell pregnant (again without any problems). During my pregnancy I had to increase my Thyroxine to quite a high level, but the baby and I were doing great. Now, 8 months post delivery, we’re again slowly reducing my Thyroxine. I am in the middle of such a detox period, but I know I will get through.

Still: it’s a positive story! (My apologies if I am hiding that part a bit). I am glad the thyroid is out as having a thyroid with a complete life of its own and not listening to my body was so tiring also as doctors were less responsive with medication hoping my thyroid would start to pick up a normal rhythm. Now that I don’t have a thyroid, we know we “just” need to balance it with thyroxine. And I’m realistic: for me, increasing thyroid hormone levels is easy (although being hyper isn’t great), lowering thyroid hormone levels is hard for a few weeks (and being hypo even worse).

It’s a balancing game and you need to make sure you’ve got doctors listening to you (and not just looking at your blood-test-results) to help you. There are certain times in life where you need to find the right level of medication, which make you feel all kind of things you might not want to feel (like feeling a patient!). But most of the time, when set at the right levels, I am just me without an unreliable thyroid.

I don’t want to give any advice and am already happy if people enjoy reading my story, but if I am asked to share with you the one thing that made a true difference: After being a thyroid patient for close to 20 years, I have made myself quite knowledgeable about my specific situation, which has given me a sense of control (as much as possible) over my own body, realisation of what’s going on when feeling bad and made me a partner of the doctors when making decisions about my treatment. At the same time, I am trying to keep a good lifestyle with healthy eating and going to the gym to lower the frustration of weight gain when playing with my thyroid. Without all that, the thyroid (or the absence of it) would probably have controlled my life and how I feel too much, which should not be necessary.

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Trina’s TT story – Thyroidectomy due to Autoimmune Issues

We have a fantastic positive post thyroidectomy due to autoimmune issues story today from Trina!!
Thank you, Trina, for sharing your story!!

  • What was the reason for your thyroidectomy? Chronic signs and symptoms that were autoimmune in nature even though all the possible autoimmune disorders ruled out. Plus, thyroid changes on a repeat ultrasound.
  • What age were you when your thyroid was removed? 43—- I am 1 month post-operation.
  • What is your gender? Female

and most importantly of all, here is her positive post thyroidectomy story!

I had dealt with hypothyroidism since 2010 and was on medication for it prior to ever having surgery. However, I continued to be more and more symptomatic. Being a Registered Nurse, I was able to discuss my issues with my primary care physician in great detail and she sent to me to an Endocrine Surgeon. This was ideal because she had the medical experience of an endocrinologist. Based on my history, ultrasound, presenting signs and symptoms she stated that surgery was an acceptable path to take but if I wanted to wait 6 months and get another ultrasound, I could. We discussed everything in detail as well. I made my decision then and there to take it out. After surgery, the surgeon indicated though my blood work never suggested Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis it was obvious my thyroid was inflamed. She said that it could be a form of thyroiditis that has not been discovered yet. My pathology report came back negative for cancer.

I am one month post-op from a Total Thyroidectomy (TT) and I feel wonderful. My long list of symptoms are almost gone. I am warm for the first time, my hands especially, my hair is not falling out like it was, my nails are growing and look healthy, I sleep better, feeling flu like is gone, and puffiness is gone. Best of all the fatigue is gone! I still have some issues left but they will resolve in time. I have not gained any additional weight since surgery.

Many of the forums can sound like doom and gloom that might make you want to back out. Please, do NOT make your decision based on these forums. You have to look at your individual issue and how it is affecting your life. Those who have a TT for hyperthyroidism most likely will experience weight gain after surgery because they have went from a super charged metabolism to all new low metabolism.

Go into your post-op care educated from reputable sources. You have to be mindful of what your body is telling you. It is also important that you educate yourself on your medication. Understand the prescription (Brand name vs Generic) itself and how to take it. You need to avoid doing things that interfere with the drug absorption to get the optimal benefit from your medication. I am hopeful that I will continue to improve every day.

I do not regret having surgery for one second.

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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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Mother of two young girls who had papillary thyroid cancer – doing great!

To the user that sent this to me – the submission form didn’t send me your name/email. Please contact me because I’d love to ensure you get replies to this post and make sure this story is attributed to you!

My journey with Thyroid cancer all started in June 2012 when I was just sitting on the couch feeling my neck (for some strange reason) and I felt a lump. Freaked right out; I had my husband and all my friends during the next few days feel it and everyone agreed it should not be there. Very panicked, I got into my Doctor and right away she could tell by the way I swallowed when she wrapped her hands around my neck it was in fact an enlarged thyroid.

So after an ultra sound and a consult with an ENT doctor it was determined that I did in fact have 2 nodules on my thyroid gland; one water filled and the other was tiny but solid and the ENT wanted me to have a fine needle biopsy! Not thrilled, but reassured thyroid nodules are very normal by him, I proceeded with the fine needle biopsy and it was uncomfortable but not that bad .(Honestly) About 10 days after that the ENT called me and told me to come in to discuss the results which came out inconclusive meaning they could not get a good enough tissue sample and that I’d have to have a partial thyroidectomy to get a good biopsy.

Well, I had surgery and I was scared but I came through it well ( stayed one night). Not alot of pain but hard to sleep for about a week afterwards but I used alot of pillows and basically just vegged (hard to do with little ones but they were so
great to mom).

The results did not come in and my Surgeon kept phoning pathology asking what the hold up was as they said they needed more time to get a good diagnosis.

Alarm bells started going off as I didn’t like how long things were taking but again being reassured it was probably nothing. Now we’re almost a month and a half past my surgery and FINALLY I get a call to come in and see my Surgeon/ENT. He very directly told me I had papillary thyroid cancer but it was found ( thanks to me acting so fast) very quickly and I would need a total thyroidectomy. I was not really scared or upset at the cancer diagnosis as he reassured me nobody dies of this but I was more upset that I’d have to have another surgery and live without a thyroid (that really scared me and
pissed me off.)

So I had the surgery quite quickly after the diagnosis about another month and that went even better. No pain when I woke up and no nausea (stayed one night) but I think I was more mentally prepared and not as scared.

Healing again was not bad, very little pain and I got on synthroid right away as my Oncologist said I did not need to have the RAI with such an early diagnosis (YAY). Most people have to wait 6 weeks to see what there body is going to do without a thyroid (I hear) so I was lucky. Just to note I have had remarkable support through all of this.

Minus a boss who let me go over it (JERK) but I do have two beautiful little girls I’ve had to be strong for (4 years and 6) and of course my husband was very supportive. I went back to work a month after my final surgery (found a nicer boss) and I’m doing great.

I have to go for blood tests every 6 weeks and the goal is to get me to an almost hyperthyroid state to suppress cancer cells so my docs up my dose every 6 weeks and I feel better each time they do. As far as I’m aware I’ll have to get checked for recurrence every 6 months for three to five years but my doctor said my nodule was so tiny that there was no spreading to lymph nodes and most likely I’m in the clear. 🙂

April 2013

A year later – April 2013

DON’T listen to all the negativity out there about being soooo tired for the rest of your life and gaining 90 pounds cause that is crap unless you let it be your reality. You WILL be tired at first till they get your dose mostly right, mine they’re still tinkering with but I feel mostly great and yes, you may put on a few pounds just from all the recovering time but I’m currently doing the blood type diet and buying a treadmill.

MY REALITY… I will have to be watching my diet and exercise program the rest of my life now that I have no metabolism, basically. But hey, I’m alive and survived two surgeries, I have two young girls who need me every day and a full time job and I just take it day by day.

Don’t let THY CA scare you; research it, get good docs and be positive. It pisses a lot of people off when said it’s the good cancer to get as NO cancer is good but hey, I’ll take it over some of the other diseases out there. 🙂

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The Pros of Having Cancer

So after disclosing that I have Teh Cancerz, people kept saying I could pull “the cancer card”. So while visiting my dad the other day, we had the following conversation:

Me: Daaad. I have cancer. Will you buy me a new bike??
Dad: Sure. What do bikes cost these days? A few hundred dollars?
Me: Uhhh the bike I want is around twelve grand…
Dad: WHAT? NO WAY.
Me: But I have caaaaancer
Dad: No. Go buy me a car.

What a fail!! So I got to thinking, what are the PROS of having thyroid cancer?

  • Post Op: Weight Loss– Unknown. Weight lost after surgery will most likely come back
  • Post Op: Cool Scar– Nope – scar will be barely noticeable and will probably just look like another neck wrinkle
  • Thyroid: Weight Loss– Nope – as I will be taking meds to simulate current thyroid levels, which are OK, no weight loss should ensue
  • Thyroid: No Depression– Nope – same as above. Nothing should change there, either
  • Radioactive Iodine: Special Powers– I very likely will NOT have go to on RadioIodine, but even if I do, you don’t get any cool special powers! No spidey sense. No X-ray vision. Psh
  • RadioIodine: Cool Glow – Nope, no cool glow either
  • RadioIodine: Isolation– Yup, can’t be around humans or even my pets. Wait, this isn’t a pro. It’s a partial pro, if I don’t LIKE the humans, but my cats can’t sleep on my bed with me?? Although being radioactive DOES sound kinda cool…
  • Sympathetic pity– Nope, since it’s such a curable cancer, I am not getting much in the sympathy department
  • Dates – No, in fact, dating life has dramatically decreased from zero to negative zero. Also, I DID try to use the ‘wanna palpate my tumor’ line on a date recently and was met with an emphatic NO. So yeah. Not a good pick up line.
  • Thinner neck – OK, I think this is the first PRO I have come across. Ironically, I was wondering if my neck was getting fat earlier this year. Well, YAY. My neck ISN’T getting fat! It’s just a tumor! asdlfkj oh morbid humor, how I love thee!

Anyways, my friend suggested I come up with a list of “Pros of Beating Cancer”, which surely will have more.. pros…? So far there seems to be very little difference of not having cancer, having cancer, then beating cancer, except the loss of my thyroid gland and a lot of money.

Oh wait, I forgot another pro about having cancer – it’s a fun topic to make jokes about!

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