biopsy, Health, November, Operation, Surgery, ThyCa, Thyroid Cancer, Thyroids

F*ck You, Calcium

I’m going to keep this short and sweet. Today. 11:30AM. Desert Radiology bound for what I thought was just an ultrasound. Just kidding. Tack on another biopsy. Dr. Mecca was out on vacation but for some reason my surgeon didn’t know that…
I didn’t catch today’s doctors name. He was young. He looked like a dear caught in some headlights when he came in; totally not expecting to be performing this lower sternum biopsy. He even admitted that. Stab. Stab. Stab. The numbing hurt like a mofo. After that it was eight different needles worth of uncomfortable pulsing. One literally felt like it hit the back of my throat. That did me in for a jolt. Two hours later – I’m late for my bloodwork appointment all the way across town. My nurse and I quickly faked a “STAT” signature on all my bloodwork forms, she put in a call to Quest, and away I went. I was 15 minutes late. Not bad. I waited another half hour. 10 tubes of blood and almost 18 hours fasting, I was on my way home. No energy to snag that chest x-ray I still need to complete all my pre-op confirmations.

I get home. Ate. Let the cat outside and then settled back in to finish my work up for the day. (Note, I am STILL working and it’s 7PM my local time.) I receive a phone call at 5PM from my regular physician who was concerned about my dangerously low calcium levels. Weird. I feel fine. And how did she get those results so fast?

She then proceeded to ask for my surgeon’s contact information and endocrinologist’s info so she could relay these findings to them on Monday. Until then, she insisted I pick up a prescription she called into the pharmacy for some sort of Calcium pills and urged if I ever felt numb, tingly, or had any muscle spasms to immediately go to the ER. Wow. Totally not what I was expecting. This was already a long enough day as it was. This better not jack up my surgery date.

On the brink of all this crazy, one really fun thing did find itself at my doorstep this evening. An adorable Fall-o-ween care package from Jim and Peggy Murray! Filled to the brim with the most fun things; from candies and cat toys, to hair product samples and so many more bright and colorful things – You two Wisconsinites sure know how to make a gal feel like a kid again! Oh! And speaking of kids. A childhood friend, whom I’ve known since the dawn of kindergarten will be crashing at Casa De La Murr tonight. So excited to have her and her beau stay for the evening!

Stay cozy everyone.

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Operation, ThyCa, Thyroid Cancer, Thyroids

Operation

November 19, 2015. T-Minus 29 days before I go under the knife for the second time.

I met with my surgeon last Friday afternoon before I cut off to California for a couple days (Much needed!). It was surreal to be back in that office again. The girls up at the front were much nicer this time around. Nasri didn’t seem quite as awful as he did in the past. He gives it to you straight, which is generally terrifying, but I tried to give it right back to him. I questioned if these newly diagnosed lymph nodes were something he missed or if it’s new cell growth. He claims it’s hard to say – He cleaned out about as many of those little bastards as he could in the first surgery and one year ago my blood levels displayed a clear pallet.

90% of thyroid cancer patients are cured with surgery and RAI. I am in that top 10% that didn’t get so lucky. In that 10%, he placed me in the 8% category of having a more aggressive form of PTC, which may or may not, have me jetting off to another state eventually for further testing. We won’t know anything about that until after surgery. The good news is they located these nodes which means the disease isn’t lost somewhere in my body. “That would be really bad.” Nasri states.

My nerves started to get the best of me when he was reading the biopsy report and measuring areas of my neck. The location of the nodes and his ruler were off. I pulled out my phone with the image of the biopsy marks to show him where exactly I was stabbed. He was grateful for the photo – but why am I providing crucial information for surgery mapping? He was surprised that my neck had no source of any tenderness. I swear I am immune to health issue symptoms or maybe I was just raised to be tough? I plan to request the ultrasound images and inquire about another imaging session before surgery to ensure he knows exactly where he is headed.

I will get graced with a new scar since these nodes are located further down the left side, towards my color bone. Ahh well, just a little extra character. This surgery gets a little more complicated due to the fact that we are now going to be digging around near two major arteries in the lower neck. I’m trying not to think about that. I asked if he felt confident in the surgery, to which he replied “Of course, I’m the best there for this job.” And so it goes; my life is once again in Nasri and his team’s hands.

Until then, I’m doing my best to go about things at a normal pace. KIDDING. That’s not at all in my nature. I’m currently balls to the walls in design projects, yard decorating, cat snuggling, doctor appointments, and gearing up for a quick trip to Minneapolis. A possible jaunt to CA or UT before surgery as well. And today, I’m taking a few hours to myself, spa bound, with a book and an eighty minute massage scheduled (Thanks, Claud-O!).

As the days roll closer to the 19th, this whole oh so cool, clam and in control of the situation attitude will fade some – But hell, for now, the world does not stop moving for anyone or anything – Why should I?

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biopsy, ThyCa, Thyroid Cancer, Thyroids

Déjà vu

Bacon

Guilty. I love bacon.

Tuesday night as I laid in bed, unable to sleep at the thought of yesterday morning’s verdict, I predicted to Julian “Tomorrow, the doctor is going to say, ‘All your scans did come back clear, however through further testing with the ultrasound guided biopsy, it looks as though both suspicious lymph nodes did come back positive for cancer.'” I was spot on.

Iodine scan – Clear.
PET/CT – Clear outside of a small glow in my lower left neck.
Ultrasound Biopsy – Both enlarged nodes tested positive for PTC spread in my lower left neck

I inquired, if these were missed during my first surgery or gradually grew? Due to my blood work track record, I was clear after my RAI treatment for a solid year. However, at some point, a few nasty, microscopic cells threw a party and here we are again. My endo is also currently assuming that I am non-avid or resistant to the RAI, which will possibly require further testing after my next surgery at a research facility. I have an appointment scheduled with my surgeon tomorrow afternoon. Dr. Sina Nasri will be performing the procedure once again. They have a terrible website, so maybe we can trade services? I am also being proactive in the sense of scheduling an appointment with my oncologist on Monday to get a second opinion on what I should contemplate after this next surgery, considering my situation is getting a bit more complicated with the reoccurrence.

This has all been a blow to the positivity train I’ve been riding. I feel weird. I’m frustrated. I’m nervous. Why wouldn’t my endo notice my thyroglobulin levels rising way back in March? It’s even obvious to me after sifting through a years worth of blood work results that tumor marker levels were on the rise. I feel like I am starting all over – to an extent. It’s very hard to concentrate on my every day life. There is a new form of numbness to my emotions that I hate. I don’t want to lose my passion. I’m scared, yes. Will this forever keep popping up at the most random times? Totally possible. Thyroid cancer ain’t nothin’ to f*ck with.

Onward.

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Health, Thyroid Cancer, Thyroids

Here We Go Again

Life is so … interesting. Most of the time it makes no sense. Why are we here? What is the point? Are we just some maddening experiment, or just a bunch of cells that got tossed together and now here we are as these complex beings, with emotions that run wild and on top of it all; bodies that are vulnerable to so many different things. Yet at the same time, these brains of ours, so complicated and formative. So intriguing and personality based, with such character and grace. Is it all by accident or is there really some greater beings out there controlling and watching and guiding us all through life’s crazy circumstances, most that don’t even make sense.

I’ve recently been going through some major soul searching. Searching for absolutely anything to make a sense out of certain situations. In this case, my battle with thyroid cancer. Just hearing the word cancer is a body deafening sound. No matter the severity of it – it’s something I wish upon no one. And even though, the word was first brought into my life over a year ago, and I’ve been well aware it’s something that I could battle forever, it never seizes to be so emotionally impactful.

If you’ve read this far into my story, things have been going rather smoothly. Updates from my doctors and everything in between have been on the up and up until the other day.

I had my first yearly iodine scan. Four months late, mind you, because my endocrinologist insisted I receive Thyrogen shots but neglected to tell me my insurance has never covered them in the first place. I was on and off the phone with so many people, trying to figure out how to get these shots so I could stay on my thyroid medications. In the last year since my surgery and RAI treatment I’ve been feeling great. I didn’t want to fuck all that up now, but in the end, it still happened and it set everything back, complimented by some bad news. As I was off my thyroid meds for four weeks, and though my Iodine scans came back clear, which I thought was a positive prognosis, come to find out, my blood work proves otherwise, with off the chart thyroglobulin levels at 72 when they should be lower than 1, signaling possible residing cancer cells left in my body.

Numerous testing has started again to pin point where these cells might be. I endured a PET/CT scan today. My best friend Andi came with me at 6AM this morning, just to be sent home because they planned to inject me with MORE radioactive regiments which are not suggested to be around pregnant women. That totally sucked; to lose my favorite cheerleader and all her amazing positivity by my side. Not to mention, how much radio active shit that has been flushed through my body in the last year, am I going to ever have issues with fertility if I decide to have children someday? All theseTHINGS! It’s so overwhelming.

My main man Keith, who administered my iodine scan just a week ago was on my PET/CT scan case today which was cool. I really like him. Unfortunately he was the one having the rough time nailing a vein for the catheter, so another girl came in and snagged it away. My arms look like I am a recovering heroin addict at this point though. Rough.

From these tests – Worst case scenario: Thyroid cancer cells have metastasized to my spine, other lymph nodes, or my lungs. Best case scenario: There is some residual thyroid cells, cancerous or not, left in my neck bed and they will be removed with another round of surgery. The RAI treatment I went through last May didn’t seem to work, so my body may be rejecting it. Lame. It’s already been a hell of a year, I’m really in need of some good news.

Next up: Neck Ultrasound with possible biopsies of anything funky looking. This will take place Thursday morning at 10AM.
I have an appointment scheduled with my endocrinologist October 14th to declare the results of all testing and what’s next. I also decided to be proactive and contact an oncologist I was seeing in the beginning of my initial diagnosis, almost two years ago, just in case something unexpected claims dues on my health.

So now, it’s hurry up and wait. Story of my life.
Here are a few pictures from today as I got poked, waited and felt defeated at the fact that I am in this position again so soon.

IMG_7404  IMG_7409

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