It’s hard to believe it’s been 1 year!

It’s weird how people are effected by situations differently, but as I lay in bed, there is one constant running through my head. Tomorrow is June 26th. Each year, on that day, I will always be reminded to not take anything for granted and to live each day to the fullest!

I remember exactly where I was, what I was doing, and what time it was that the call came in from my doctor, it seems like it was just yesterday. It was shortly after lunch, my doctor had left me a message and as soon as I could I listened. Without even needing to call her back, I remember the feeling of my heart sinking and my head spinning in all different directions. Fear of the unknown took over and I remember thinking to myself, “Am I going to die?” It was hands down, one of the hardest days of my life. I immediately went to the bathroom to try and compose myself because let’s face it, crying at work was the LAST thing I wanted to do. I was doing pretty good until my boss walked in just as I was about to walk out, she saw my red face and puffy eyes that I tried so feverishly to rid myself of…..yep, there was just no holding it together anymore. That was difficult for me because while some people go to work, do their job just to pay the bills, I do not. My Co – workers are like a second family to me and they were so supportive and simply amazing. It’s truly a gift to work with such kind-hearted individuals, they are the ones that got me through the rest of the work day when I didn’t know how I could finish and for that I’m forever thankful. I didn’t know where the diagnosis of cancer would take me from that day forward, but as I write this today, I can say it has made me a stronger person. For once in my life I have taken some time to improve/take care of myself. A year ago, a diagnosis of cancer felt like a death sentence, but not anymore. The experiences, the memories, the uneasiness of each appointment will always remain engraved in my head. And, while I’m sure anxiety will run high again as future tests approach, for now I continue to be grateful for all the wonderful people in my life who have helped me get this far :-)

The days are creeping by….

Well it had been awhile since I have posted, but thought I would share an update. I saw my surgeon this past Wednesday for what wasn’t really a pre scheduled appointment. To make a long story short, my primary physician put me on an antibiotic because I had an over sized lymph node. The goal was that the antibiotic would take care of it and I would be done. The antibiotic helped but didn’t completely take away the problem. I had a scope done this past Wednesday that showed excessive scar tissue. I have also been experiencing a catching sensation when I swallow which has been very irritating. I don’t feel that it has been an issue with eating or drinking but just swallowing in general. So, from there, I have to get a video speech/swallow study done this coming Friday. I don’t really want to do it, but I was told I need to. It’s just very odd that I never had this feeling before and now all the sudden it is driving me nuts. I’ll be curious to see what they say.

 From there, I have my scans and ultra sound on Monday March 31st along with blood work. Then, that Thursday April 3rd, I will go see my endocrinologist for the results of everything. 

It seemed so far away before and now it’s taking forever to get here! It has been on my mind a lot lately and I think I’m just anxious to be done. I’ve thought of what I believe to be all the possible results many many times, not because I want to, but simply because I can’t be blind sided by the news like when I was diagnosed and after my initial scans. I did the “think positive” so much so that when the news wasn’t positive I didn’t know what to do. It took me months to get out of a “funk” as I called it, and while I always tried my best to keep it to myself, it was very difficult. It made me angry at times, I shut people out, I was moody, it was very hard. Running and joining a gym has helped a lot. There is just something about working out that clears your mind and helps take away the stress of the day. 

Anyways, while things have been better, I am finding myself getting a little antsy over the upcoming appointments, but that should be natural right?? Whatever the results, I will never let it define who I am! And to be honest, I will be absolutely overjoyed with good test results, but I will never forget about it. Cancer will be in my mind forever. Everyday I take my medicine is a reminder, or go to do blood work. The weeks leading up to future scans and tests I’m sure will not be easy. This truly is a lifelong process, but not a life sentence!

Love to you all until next time! 

Running Therapy

The title may be misleading, so let me preface this by saying I’m not a runner. I’m not good at running and I’m sure at times, I look like I’m going to die. There is something about it that can’t quite explain though. I started this 30 day Spartan challenge a week ago (thanks Sarah for telling me about it!), and it has been such a positive for me. Basically, you run, walk,  or run/walk 1 mile a day for 30 days in a row. I’ll be honest and as much as I hate to admit it, I had not done a single ounce of exercise since I was diagnosed with cancer back in June. I wanted to get back into something to be active again, but I didn’t know what and my mindset was just not where it needed to be. I decided, hey why not I’ll try this whole mile a day thing.

I’m amazed at how just 1 week of getting on the treadmill has totally helped me mentally! It’s in those 15-20 minutes or so that I truly just forget everything that is going on and zone out. For that short time I feel like myself again which I didn’t know how I would get that feeling back. Call it a runners high or whatever you would like, but it gives me the release I need from life everyday. I’ve had a couple days where I just needed to get away where my mind is racing or I just haven’t felt well, and every time, I have ended up on that treadmill. Maybe it is because I can control every aspect of each run; How far, how fast, and how long. There’s not a lot of things we can control in life and I’ve never liked that. In fact, it has been even harder since June because there is absolutely no control over my body. It’s very difficult to sit and wait and hope everything turns out ok in the end. I believe it will and to give my mind a break in the mean time, I will keep running! 

Just quick update while I’m writing. I saw my surgeon last month and he said I have scar tissue forming on my vocal chords, so I need to be careful with the amount of talking I do and I also advised not to scream, shout, or talk loudly. That has been going so so, but I am trying! Blood work is next up on my list of things to do, a week from this Monday, to see if my TSH level is coming down. The doctor wants it at or below a .5 and last check was a 5. something. My dose was increased to 226 from 200 and I’m not sure if I am where I need to be yet. My next scan and ultra sound date has been set for March 31st with the follow up and results visit on April 3rd! Nervous and excited all at the same time, I’ve already been waiting 3 months so what’s a couple more. Those are the immediate next steps and so for now I run, and carry on with my life!

Love to you all until next time! 

Update/stress reliever!!

So again, it’s been awhile, but I’m stuck here not able to sleep as my mind travels to many different places. I was waiting all day to be able to go to sleep and then I get here and the brain kicks into overdrive. I’m not real sure where my thoughts are tonight, but it’s always easier to write them out as opposed to talking them out. 

First off, I don’t know if I’m getting sick or something else is going on. Normally I wouldn’t think twice about it, but I’ll admit it, I’m paranoid. Ever since I found out the cancer is not gone every little thing makes me worry and it’s no fun. For example, for the past couple of weeks, my body gets to a point where it is achy and I feel flu like sick, but it always comes and goes. It’s been tough at work because I’m constantly busy and there are some points where I just have to stop because I feel like I might pass out or vomit. I don’t know what brings it on, but some days are worse than others. My glands in my neck have recently become sore almost like a stiff neck but very sensitive to the touch. I know I have to communicate these things with my doctors, but I haven’t yet. Quite frankly, I just don’t want to schedule more appointments. I know this is bad of me, but again I don’t know if it is me being paranoid or I should be concerned about something. It truly is a tough thing to do, just sit around and wait and how for the best. I’ve been able to stay pretty optimistic for the most part,  but I can’t explain how incredibly incredibly difficult it has been. 

My medication has still been a work in progress as I like to call it. I was on synthroid 175, but I was feeling way outta whack. After blood work came back, my TSH level was at a 27 when my doctors want it around a 0.5. Needless to say have been bumped up to synthroid 200 and also put on 12.5mg of Cytomel twice a day. I have noticed some changes which have been positive, but I still struggle with simple tasks,  such as this morning, instead of putting toothpaste my tooth brush, I put hand soap on instead. No, I didn’t not brush my teeth with it, I realized before I put it in my mouth what I had done. It’s still the point that tasks I do on a daily basis which could be routine are the ones I have the most problems with. 

My vision has been another issue which I would like to resolve itself. Before radiation, I had an ulcer in my right eye that caused me some issues. Well, couple that with the fact the radiation has affected my vision, and I find myself struggling to see. The doctor believes that the sight will come back, but in the meantime I just have to go with what I got which is terrible. I’ve worn my glasses more in the past month than I have in the past 3 years. I’m just thankful that my glasses still work so well!

So, this too shall pass, but with my mind spinning over so many things, you can see why some nights become difficult to fall asleep. Thanks for letting me rant, it really does let me release some stress which is very nice. Next doctor’s appointments,  I have 2 in December 4th and then we see where it goes from there! 

Love to you all, until next time! 

Holy all over the place!

I’m not even sure where to begin writing this one, but as I lay in bed with so many thoughts and emotions running around, I know that I need to get some of it out! I’m not ashamed to admit it to anyone reading that as I’m writing this tears just roll down my face for no reason. It has been happening quite a bit actually and I’m learning that mood swings to the extreme, have been very difficult to deal with. I never know what’s going to bring on which emotion, or when I am going through a tough mood saying, how to get myself through. I know sometimes they are brought on due to my fogginess, if you will, from the medication. At first, I just shook things off like I have always been so good at doing, but every little bit of forgetfulness is driving me nuts. For example, on multiple occasions I get in my car to drive somewhere only to realize I’m not even going in the right direction of where I need to be. Or, sitting with a blank stare knowing I need to be doing something but I can’t for the life of me remember what exactly it is. We also have getting dressed which I seem to mess up more often than not lately. 

All of the above are very frustrating by themselves, let alone the random anger, sadness, happiness, you name it and I guarantee I have been there in the last week alone. People tell me that I just need to try to find a way to control it but how do you control something that has taken over who you are? 

Something will have to change because I don’t like who I am right now with the ups and downs. I want me back 100%. I know it seems difficult to comprehend from the outside looking in, but trust me, it’s no place I would want my worst enemy to be. It takes a toll both physically and mentally and at times I feel like I have to keep moving forward and just keep my head above water enough to make it back to solid land eventually.

Thanks for letting me vent mindlessly and with no direction,  but I really needed to get that out of my head and move on!

Love to you all! 

The scan verdict is in….

Well it’s been a couple weeks and I delayed posting because I wanted my next post to be my happy ending after my scan that am cancer free.  Unfortunately my scans didn’t go according to plan and while I’ve tried to put on a front that everything is fine,  the scans showed that I still have cancerous cells located in the thyroid bed on the residual thyroid tissue. The radiation I did is still working and has isolated the 2 locations where the cells are located and it could take months for the radiation to run is course and (hopefully) kill the remaining cancer cells before they spread anywhere else.  As of right now they have not spread to any other areas which is good news. I will go back in about 6 months to get the scans done again to see if the radiation has worked or I have to do a larger radiation dose.  It has been very frustrating to hold on to the news, but I really wanted everything to just go away and be able to post that everything is good to go, but apparently someone has other plans for me. I try to hide it but it seems like I have had more bad days than good recently. I’m always working on the positive thoughts but mentally and physically it is starting to wear on me. For now, I keep doing what I’m doing and pay that everything turns out ok in the long run. 6 months is a long time to wait and I’m sure it will be filled with many more ups and downs, but I realized that I can always rely on my friends and family as a support system. I also realized that it is ok to tell people how I am really feeling as opposed to just saying “I’m doing good” when that is really not how I feel. 

I see a new endocrinologist the first week of November to do blood work and probably adjust my medication, and I also go back to my surgeon for another follow up at the end of this month to make sure everything with my vocal chords is still good and everything is healing as it should.

The journey continues,  thanks again for the continued support and prayers!

Love to you all!!

Trying to keep it going…… so close!

It’s been awhile now since I’ve wrote anything down but I am currently in day 3 of isolation from my radiation pill that I took this past Monday. Day 1 was ok for the most part until the afternoon when I started feeling really nauseous and sick. My neck was sore, my jaw felt swollen and all I wanted to do was sleep to try to avoid throwing up. Day 2 started exactly how day 1 ended, it was all I could do to not get sick and my mouth started taking on a funny taste and my eyes became really dry, all this on top of the pain in my neck and nauseous feeling. All In all,  a pretty miserable 2 days to start things off. 

I have been looking forward to day 3 ever since I went on Monday because while I still have to be in isolation, I can go back to eating whatever I want and start taking my medicine again! Win win situation is what I was thinking!  It has been to an extent, but It’s also frustrating. Let’s start with the good, I ate what was quite possibly the best sandwich I’ve ever eaten earlier. Not saying the contents of the sandwich made it the best ever, (I mean it was bologna and Swiss cheese with dijon mustard on wheat and oats bread) nothing fancy, but I have not been able to have any of those items for the last 16 days and it just was so good to be able to eat something with flavor and substance again! I definitely want to keep some of the meals I cooked from the diet for the future, but spices and flavor will definitely be added. For the most part my lunches consisted of a baked potato (skinless), a small cut up tomato, an avocado, 2 hard boiled eggs (whites only,  no yolk), and then 1\2 cup of grapes and 1\2 cup of blue berries. It wasn’t so bad just got repetitive and boring but I found it to be really easy to take to work and prepare. My dinners usually consisted of half a cup of noodles with either 6 oz of ground chicken breast or ground turkey with onions, mushrooms, and sometimes green peppers sautéed in olive oil and a little unsalted butter. Not bad but very very bland for the most part. Anyways, as you can see the food aspect for regaining flavors is very exciting! Not so exciting, and I know I need patience, is the overall weakness in my body. When they did my blood work last week my TSH level was at a 127 which is exactly what they wanted for me to begin radiation, to be completely hypo as they call it. A normal TSH test you typically want under 3.5 or 3.8 and my number was clearly through the roof. This unfortunately has been a big struggle for me which I think is part of the reason I didn’t post how the last couple of weeks have gone. The last days were definitely the toughest. With no salt intake, my body was constantly cramping and every muscle would ache with simple actions of just trying to get out of bed in the morning. I felt weak, and still feel very weak like my body is working in survival mode. I know it is going to take time for the medicine to kick fully back to the point where I start to feel like myself again, but I truly hate this feeling. I’ve always been, what I consider, a strong, active person, but a simple task of putting some clothes on some hangers and hanging them in the closet left my arms and legs shaking, my back pulsating with pain, and me so completely out of breath I had to lay down because it felt like I just ran a marathon. I can’t explain it, I don’t think I ever will be able to “explain” it, but I equate it to almost feeling helpless, it’s just a very frustrating feeling.

Needless to say today has been of highs and lows and I’m trying to keep things perspective, but I miss me. I don’t know where I have gone, but I to work my way up to feeling like me again, strong, confident, active with just a little bit of perfectionism thrown in as well. I’ll get back there,  one step at a time! Until then, here’s to hoping each day gets a better!

Love to you all!!

Just keep swimming, just keep swimming…

Today I took my next step further in the process. I met with my radiation oncologist and my official start date to the radioactive iodine treatment is September 23rd. Once again, lots of information given that was both helpful and nerve wracking.

This next step of the journey will actually begin on September 9th when I will have to go off my thyroid medication until after radiation is complete. The doctor basically said that during this time it will feel like I have the flu because the medicine controls my body’s metabolism and by not having it in my system they are purposefully putting me into hypothyroidism which apparently is a lot of fun (NOT). I will also have to go on an iodine restricted diet for that time as well. I’ve read over the foods allowed and foods not allowed list and while it will be challenging, I can definitely do it, which is a good thing I guess because I don’t really have a choice in the matter! There will be some tough parts to it though, for example, no dairy and no seafood. Those will be the toughest but there are a bunch of other restrictions too, like no more than 1, 6oz serving of meat a day or 2, 3oz servings,  then there is only 2 servings of bread a day which equals 2 pieces of bread total, no egg yoke only egg whites, no frozen vegetables, only fresh, same with fruit. It has some other quirks but that is the jist of the diet, and when in doubt don’t eat it. 

While going through the first 2 weeks I will still be working and I know it is going to be physically and mentally trying, but I will get through knowing that I will be on my way to being cancer free! The only other thing I will have to do before the actual radiation is blood work on the 18th of September to make sure my levels are completely out of whack so they can then proceed with radiation on the 23rd.

On the 23rd, I will have to drive out to Evanston,  take a pill,  wait around there and go over things for about an hour, then I can head home to my bedroom for 8 days of quarantine. It will be boring and I’m already talking suggestions of how to keep entertained. Not sure how this part will go, but I’ll trade in the 8 days as opposed to the rest of my life.

I know it has been a while since I last posted, I was just trying to get situated with work starting back up. It’s been going ok for the most part. I have had some bad days, some good days, and some bad parts of otherwise good days. I know it will take time, but let’s face it I’m impatient. I want to be back to normal ready to go and while I may put on a good face and try my best, I’m not quite to where I want to be yet. That is kind of how I feel about my scar as well, people think it looks great and it’s just not where I would like it to be right now. Just gotta be patient though, that’s what I am told and I am trying very best!

Thanks for the continued support and prayers, I know that next month could be a very trying time for me, but I’m gonna go at it had on and hope for the best! I’ve never been one to back down from a fight and I don’t see that changing anytime soon :-)

Love to you all, until tomorrow! 

Slowly but surely

It had been a couple days so I figured an update was in order! Things have been going pretty well so far. After my last rant, I realized there really isn’t anything I can do about the situation until I see my doctors on Wednesday anyways, so there is nothing that can be done about it until then. 

 I think I am finally getting used to the medicine which is a GREAT thing. I still get some of the side effects, but the intensity has decreased which is a positive. The sudden hot flashes and clammy skin I can’t stand, but I’m hoping that improves eventually as well. I think they might be changing my medicine on Wednesday though for 4 weeks if they stick to the original plan, but I’m not 100% on that. It will just be more adjusting if they do. 

Other than that I try to do a little bit more each day which goes well, but lands me in bed typically before 9pm every night. I’m still waiting for my voice to feel the same as it used to though which I hear can take some time. For the most part,  I think it sounds ok, but it gets tired and sore fast and I find myself pretty hoarse by the end of each day and into the next morning.  I also accidentally yelled/tried to yell something and it was terribly painful. Won’t be doing that again anytime soon! Other than that, I just keep trekking along and take things day by day. 

Love to you all, until tomorrow! 

Frustrated :-\

I’ll get to the title in a minute, but figured I’d go through my day first since I’m going to go on a rant here in a minute. I messed up a little today with my medication which I guess I will still have to get used to. I’m supposed to take my medicine first thing when I wake up in the morning with lots of water and then I’m not supposed to eat anything for an hour after. Especially nothing with high calcium or iron content as it can negate the synthroid from working properly. Well got up, took my little purple pill, let Bandit outside, and not even thinking grabbed a yogurt. It didn’t quite hit me until about 1.5-2 hours later when I went through all the side effects at one time, the heart racing, dizziness, blurry vision, hot flashes, it’s a terrible feeling to all happen at once. I had started to do a little better with the medicine where I would only get maybe one side effect at a time and they lasted for a shorter period of time, so I’m hoping my little slip up today doesn’t change any of my progress come tomorrow. 

While that little mishap knocked me down a little this morning, I was able to do a little more today and stay awake for longer periods of time. This was awesome, but I sure am feeling it now. I’ve done more talking today than in previous days and I can tell you my voice HURTS. Yes my voice, not my throat. It’s a weird feeling that I don’t know how to describe, but definitely different than a sore throat. Like I said though, I think it’s a good thing to be doing more, but I think I will have to scale back the talking a little bit still. I also had couple people tell me today that they can’t believe how great my scar looks for only being 6 days out of surgery. I don’t like it, I think it is gross and looks disgusting because it is so raised, but I do have to admit it is healing faster than any of my knee scars ever did! I feel a little self conscience about it though as I find myself trying to hide it if I’m talking with someone. As weird as it is and as many scars as I have on my body, I’m just not on with this one yet.

Wow that was actually a long little update before my rant, so I will try to keep the rant short, but the mind is running on overdrive right now so I need to get it out. The pathology report… Where do I begin. I guess there is always some kind of hope that it will come back and say Oh by the way it was not a cancerous tumor, but no sadly that didn’t happen. The question and the frustration now turns to the radiation. My surgeon has deferred to my endo doctor as to whether or not we will proceed to radiation. This is the part am having trouble with. It was made known before surgery that even though they take the tumor and the thyroid out, there is still the possibility that cancerous cells could remain that are not noticeable so they do the radiation to make sure they get anything that could be left behind. Now the surgeon is letting the endo figure out if they should or shouldn’t do radiation based on him saying “everything looked pretty good, now we just watch it and see”. NO! Let’s not go back and forth on the original plan because my plan from the get go is go in, get it out, zap it with radiation, and never have to worry about it again. I will take a week of physical hell over months of mental stress, wondering and waiting for test results when I get checked again. I want to be done with it, I want to make sure it is completely out never to come back. It’s taken enough of a mental toll on me already just having to know I will always check the damn cancer box on health history forms. I don’t need the worry, hassle, or anything else that comes with this right now. Ughhhhhhh!

I think I am done with my frustration for now, thank you for listening! I just want to be done, I just need it to be done and getting so many doctors opinions on this and that is just hard because it is my body, it will always be my body, and I want you to be able to tell me my body is for a fact 100% cancer free, and the only way we get to that point is to go through with the radiation and do a scan, then at that point will be able to sleep and maybe feel a little at ease, but until you can tell me for sure that I am 100% cancer free (which no one had said those words to me), then I am going to remain frustrated! 

Love to you all, until tomorrow! 

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