Health, ThyCa, Thyroid Cancer

And so.

*I can’t say I have ever believed in true karma. Too many shitty people get away with too many shitty things. And I’d like to think there is more outside this life, though we may all be just as important as a cockroach in reality.

I can confidently say I have had my go-around with life at only thirty-one years old. I have seen a lot. Done a lot. Been broke. Been stable. Let stress get the best of me. Indulged a little too much when I shouldn’t have. I’ve met some exordinary individuals and found myself under the shoes of others. I cannot say I have a terrible life. In the scheme of it all, it’s been pretty fantastic. But there are bumps and unfortunate times and that is to be expected. Including a cancer diagnosis, no matter to what degree.

 

 

 

My quarterly blood draw was Monday. It’s like my veins were on vacation. The phlebotomist and I couldn’t see a line so he went in blind; sticking only by feel. Luckily, for me, he’s clearly damn good at his job. The task was effortless. Still, it hurts and I continue to hate needles. I bruise quite fiercely. And after all the positive preaching I toss out there I do find it hard to stay calm for myself when I have no control of the outcome.

 

 

Yesterday, all my calendars, digital and written, reminded me of an appointment I had made three months ago with my oncologist, Karen Jacks. 1PM. Those afternoon appointment always interrupt my creative flow. I should know that by now. 12:50PM. Onward to Summerlin. The wait is never long and as I was called back, dreading what the scale would taunt, I was told my appointment was yesterday. I had missed it.

 

What?

 

 

I proceeded to inquire with Dr. Jack’s scheduling assistant and she assured me they were correct. How sad is it that? You get so busy doing everything for everyone that you forget to take care of yourself. I apologized for my forceful, yet inquisitive manor, because surely, I would not have forgotten this appointment. For goodness sakes, Dr. Jack’s is THE only one looking after me since I was cleared by my surgeon. My endocrinologist never even followed up after my last treatment of RAI that she administered. Professional, right?

 

As I was getting up to leave, Jenn with two n’s, (Dr. Jack’s Nurse) walked up. I, like, love this woman. I gave her a hug. She too, last year, underwent a total thyroidectomy due to thyroid cancer. Not quite as invasive and she has had no reoccurrence, (High Five, Nasri!) There’s something about having such an intricate situation in common with another.
A bond, if you will.

 

 

I asked her if, by chance, if she could give me the results of my blood work and she did not hesitate to say yes. We can’t be much different in age. “Everyone has access to their results if you request it.” she commented. Well then. Toss them over, pretty please! The scheduling assistant, already not super fond of me, went ahead and printed them out. Why didn’t she offer that before I went into semi-jerk mode? We could have totally avoided an awkward situation. The sheets crossed the desk and I stared at the numbers.

 

TSH 0.017 (Critical Value, Verified x2, FLAG: Critical Low)
Thyroglobulin 0.2 (Low)

 

 

My mind went blank. Is this good? I should be a master of all this by now.  But the same rule applies as to why I haven’t learned to code websites; I design them. I rather be really good at one particular thing, than half as good at two things. I’d rather spend all my energy and mind on staying positive and strong, rather than learning basic numeric levels that pretty much rule my life. Plus when your head is everywhere than where it should be, it’s hard to concentrate. You don’t read a book while your driving.

 

 

Jenn with two n’s assured me, these were fantastic numbers and to schedule another set of blood work around my one year anniversary for the second surgery I underwent – December 24, 2015. Time. Flies. Roughly four and half months away now.

 

 

As I walked out of the icebox building, into the blazing heat, I wasn’t sure if I wanted cry or run. I was so relieved, yet I have this pessimistic nature inside me saying, ‘don’t get your hopes up.’ I’ve been in this position before.

 

 

For now, and for the next few months, all is well. I feel fine. I can breathe just a bit more. I can attempt to relax. I will start all those personal projects and books that I have been putting off, tomorrow. Ha. Julian and I will take our anniversary trip to Palm Springs, like we always do and I will head to Lake Tahoe in two weeks. I will continue to share my experience and thoughts around it to anyone interested. To anyone who asks or need help.

 

 

 

 

Today, having no relievence to the above, I went to buy film at Wal-Mart because honestly, I have no idea where else to get it and I’m teaching myself to shoot with a 1968 German Leica in hand. No, that’s not a gun. F*ck guns.

 

 

In front of me, in line, stood a very fragile girl. Of some Eastern Indian decent. She had to have been my age, maybe a touch younger. She wore no make up and she was beautiful. I worried for her pettiness, as each one of her legs had to have been barely bigger than one of my arms. She dressed cute and natural and I couldn’t help but wonder if she had problems finding clothes her size, like us curvy women do at times.

 

 

She was buying two hand soaps, some q-tips, oranges, and a cheese cake. Her total came to twenty-four dollars and ninty-two cents. She tried her card and it was declined, twice. You could tell in her demeanor she knew it would be, yet she tried anyways. Then she pulled all the money she could find, out of her hazy green pockets. A five, a single dollar and some change. The line was building and she was getting uneasy trying to count. She nervously asked if I would help her count how much money she had as she was still learning U.S. currency. And so I did. She had eight dollars and eighty cents. She gave back the cheesecake, one soap and the q-tips. As she walked away I had this ridiculous feeling. I’ve been in her shoes before. Maybe not to this extent, but I thought of yesterday and I thought of how uneasy I have been since I got back from Wisconsin. I couldn’t help but pay it forward. I did hesitate, but as she walked away, I asked the annoyed clerk to quick ring up her things. She put them in a bag and I ran after her, leaving my purse, my life, at the mercy of the cashier and everyone behind me. I caught up to her, tapped her shoulder. She slightly jumped. I handed her the bag and smiled. She thanked me many times.

 

 

As I got back to the registered the cashier and the few people behind me fawned over what I did. “That’s going to come back to you someday you know! That was so nice!” All I could say was, “I shouldn’t have bought the cheesecake.” (It was $12.95 at WAL-MART!) But who am I to know if it wasn’t for her Grandmother or a special occasion.

 

 

I do not do things, so other things can come back to me. *Reference first paragraph of this post. I don’t always help people when it’s obvious. I am a firm believer that is why rich people are rich. They are either super smart, clever bastards or they simply keep what is theirs, to themselves and their family. No amount of money could fix everything, everywhere, for everyone anyways.  Wealth is what you make of it. It’s a mindset. In this situation, something crawled up into my stomach, danced with my gut instincts and knew I would regret not helping her. And so, que reaction, though there is a 50/50 chance she would walk outside, remember she had just forgotten to transfer money from one account to another, hop into her mercedes, and drive off. I wasn’t about to play investigator to ensure she was legit. If I was wrong to  help, it would ruin my dreams of humanity truly being more lost than it already is.

Cheers to some things just working out sometimes.

 

 


 

 

“The simplest acts of kindness are by far more powerful then a thousand heads bowing in prayer.  “—  Mahatma Gandhi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Standard
Health, las vegas, ThyCa, Thyroid Cancer, Thyroids

Mic Check : One, Two

I realize, I’m not so fantastic at this whole blog thing. I get a vibe going and then I fall off. Which isn’t right. Because not only does this blog exist to represent a plethora of thyroid cancer awareness knowledge, experience, and reach to all my fellows who are lacking a thyroid; my intention is always, to engage, inspire, question, and provoke hope and insight that the days to come will be brighter for all of us. Whoa. Run on sentence. You get the gist of it.

 

This past week’s whirlwind of a surprise trip to Minneapolis, surrounded Julian and I with so much love and family. The energy was intoxicating and the conversations were thick. The perfect recipe for times that are meant to be and never forgotten. We crashed and celebrated a party in leu of a beautiful young woman named Carmela, who has climbed to the top of her nest and is about to hit Chicago this fall only to find herself yet again. Even more than she anticipates. She is amazing.

 

I rested my head softly those two swift nights; in the land of rolling thunderstorms and lush filled days. I couldn’t be happier. The fresh smell of plentiful greens, complimented by my urban instinct of a city dweller; I am home. Surrounded by family, swirling with chatter and positive emotions – It makes one feel whole again. All those voids that have been waiting to be filled are now complete. And as the rain pounded on the roof our last night home, thunder rolling, flashes of natural energy filling the sky; I felt so alive.
Your life and what you put into it, with time,  creates a the perfect personal portrait. The need and willingness to grasp and appreciate it all is crucial. My life, with all the good, the bad, and the ugly, is a beautiful dream that I wish to live over and over again.

 


 

 

 

Standard
Health, ThyCa, Thyroid Cancer, Thyroids, Uncategorized

DAY THREE

I drank my first cup of ‪#‎coffee‬ in three days. I made it mildly weak. It was delicious. However, I drink coffee slower than the average bear. I also turn my coffee pot off, once brewed, in fear of burning ‪#‎fresh‬ coffee. Is that possible? Anyway, I had no way to heat up my coffee after I forgot about it today. I get that from my ‪#‎Grandma‬ J. Either I don’t know where I left my cup (usually in the microwave) or I reheat it throughout the day, roughly three times. I love her.

 

I’m finding it rather hard to pry myself away from Parks and Rec. SEASON SEVEN. Ep.3! I thought I would read more literature, but I haven’t touched a single piece of paper in fear of ‪#‎contaminating‬ it. I hate wearing plastic gloves. It’s gross. Andi, you’re a blood drawing queen! 💉👑

 

Over the past 72 hours, my newest, creeping succulent, that I took captive to spend four days with me, has sprouted new growth! “String of Pearls” – Check them out (no dirty jokes, please). I noticed this while I was up, designing away. Felt good to get a nice project push before the weekend and kill a little captivity time.

 

Word is – Remember that ridiculous reality show “My First Home” which was a complete made up story about us and our home buying experience? Yeah, it airs Saturday, April 9th at 12:00pm on TLC. We have made up a drinking game that goes with and 👉🏻 you MUST participate if you watch the episode, no matter where you are in this world. Stay tuned for more Information.

 

Tomorrow I sleep in, and clean like a mad woman. I’m getting out tomorrow. You know, out the joint? Yeah. That super bright and airy space that I have gotten to vedge out in, alone, for four days, poolside, in my safe little plastic wrapped, tv, and starburst filled sanctuary. I think I might do this quartly. A quartly quarantine to rejuvenate. It’s all about perspective. 😘💪🏻

 

xoxo,

 

– The girl in pink pineapple socks

🍍🍍🍍🍍🍍

 

‪#‎RAI‬ ‪#‎whatthyroid‬ ‪#‎thyroidcancer‬ ‪#‎thyroidcancerawareness‬ ‪#‎radioactive‬‪#‎thyca‬

Standard
Health, ThyCa, Thyroid Cancer, Thyroids, Uncategorized

DAY TWO

I almost slept 12 hours! But I also woke up feeling a possible cold coming on. Please no.

 

My brother made it through his surgery and home safe. Chatted with him earlier // Side Note : ‪#‎Wisconsin‬ was on the desert news tonight due to snow. Stay warm, ‪#‎Cheeseheads‬!

 

I’ve almost finished every season of Parks and Rec. I’m addicted. I never watch t.v. and feel like when I finally finished, it’s going to seem like I lost some new friends… Anyone else have that with shows?

 

I pegged a little work in too and @____mshl came over to wave at me through the window. Frank literally tried to shove his face under the door.

 

Tomorrow I’m going to throw myself at an early alarm, a cup of coffee and pile of design. ‪#‎DayGoals‬

 

Saturday can’t come soon enough! Thank You All for your lovely good vibes – Cannot even explain how much I appreciate every ounce. 🙈

 

‪#‎thyca‬ ‪#‎whatthyroid‬ ‪#‎thyroidcancer‬ ‪#‎thyroidcancerawareness‬ ‪#‎radioactive‬‪#‎RAI‬

Standard
November, Operation, Surgery, ThyCa, Thyroid Cancer, Thyroids

A Rainy Wednesday in the Desert

I woke up to the sounds of rain this morning. It’s fall in the desert; temperatures barely gracing the mid-sixties.
Julian and I just got back from a forty-eight hour adventure to Minneapolis for Halloween. It was such a lovely visit.
Pulling myself in every which way possible, I managed to roll out from under the cozy warm blankets and a snuggling cat. My last surgeon appointment was this morning where I signed my life away, once again, to the care of Dr. Nasri. I would have much rather stayed in bed.

Initial here. Initial there. Initials everywhere. I made it though the stack of papers. I read all the descriptions I was initialing the first time, but I decided to skim over most of these this morning due to all the gory details they list out of what could happen. No need to feed my anxiety monster anymore – he’s a bit plump already.

From there back to a room I went. My appointment was at 9:45AM and of course he finally entered around 11:15. Ridiculous. He informed us that he took a second look at the PET scan and spoke with Dr. Mecca who performed my biopsy. Nasri noticed a bit more of a glow in some nodes near my sternum as well. I have a measuring/mapping appointment with Dr. Mecca on Friday. He will perform another ultrasound on my neck to confirm the exact location of the lymph nodes that need to be removed. They upped my surgical procedure from a simple left neck dissection to a left modified radical neck dissection paired with a mediastinal dissection. He plans to clear out various lymph nodes in both areas in attempt to prevent the cancer from spreading into my lungs. He insists I am RAI resistant and that the chance of reoccurrence after this surgery is yet again possible.

Proceeding all this nerve wrecking info, this office has a special procedure they perform in preparation for surgery where they check your vocal cords. They numb your nose and shove a little tube with a light on the end down each nostril. Totally. Torture. As well, you are required to pay additional $ that is not covered by insurance for a nerve and vocal cord monitoring. Better safe than sorry, but all these little things just add to the total dramatic experience.

As always, a time has not yet been assigned for the day of surgery – I’ll know 24 in advance. Nasri said this particular procedure should take 2-3 hours instead of 5-6 like the first round. I’ll take that as pretty much the only win so far in this repeat horror story.

Tomorrow I head to my regular physicians office for a slew of blood work, EKG, and chest x-rays for pre-op purposes.
Friday the mapping ultrasound, and from there we are headed into the final countdown.

I’m feeling confident, but that comes and goes. I sometimes still can’t believe this is my life. That I am dealing with such a resilient disease. I’ve never once said “why me” because really, why not me? Why not anyone? It’s just frusterating. Life is such a gamble that no one is in control of.

Standard
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.

Standard
biopsy, Health, Thyroid Cancer, Thyroids

“LUCY! You have some explainin’ to do!”

Biopsy yesterday morning has left me looking like Dracula swooped in for a quick little snack. Pretty sore. Nothing found on the right side. Two suspicious nodes on the left which they stabbed the sh*t out of and that was that. Results  – October 14th. I am happy to say I will have Claud the Broad and Todd in town for the big reveal. I plan to have my Mum-in-Law come to the appointment with me so we can drill this doctor for every piece of information she is worth.

fuck_cancer

Standard
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

IMG_7405

Standard
Health, Thyroid Cancer, Thyroids

SEPTEMBER – Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month

I’m a little late. A whole month to be exact. And what a month to be late for! September is Thyroid Cancer Awareness month. I’ve been doing my very best to spread as much information, support, and mindfulness pertaining to all that effects current fighters, like myself, cancer free survivors, and everyone that helps support us all as we endure this quite terrifying and unpredictable experience.

I started the campaign below last year after my first surgery and RAI treatment. As a designer, I wanted to create something eye catching yet blunt to get people interested and get them aware in another way outside a butterfly, that Thyroid Cancer is a major life changing event and is on the rise. My goal is to continue to move this WhatThyroid? campaign forward with a website and some collateral in the up-coming year to help support individuals in financial need, that get diagnosed with Thyroid Cancer.

It’s been very impressive to find how many people, including myself before diagnosis, that do not embrace the slightest bit of knowledge about what a thyroid is or what it does for our bodies. Though in most cases, Thyroid Cancer is treatable, there are many ups and downs, mentally and physically that go along with this scandalous disease. More people need to start taking an annual neck check seriously. I recall back to how naive I was the first time they even discovered a nodule in my neck. I waited FIVE years to even do anything about it because I was scared. It set me up for a more severe circumstance later in my life.

When officially diagnosed with Thyroid Cancer at the top of 2014 – Completing numerous biopsies, x-rays, scans, a totally thyroidectomy, a double dose of RAI, and uncountable blood work session since, at the young age of 30, complications have now arose. I felt the need to take a minute and start the month of October with a huge shout out to everyone that has or is fighting this same battle – You are not alone! I urge anyone and everyone to please not take something that you might think of as a simple organ or check up, for granted. CHECK YOUR NECK!

More from me on my developments soon. Positive vibes are greatly needed. xo

tumblr_nbyj6aaQ9k1tcyic1o1_1280

Standard
Health, Thyroid Cancer, Thyroids

Two Hours – Post Op

tumblr_nbygb0qNWO1tcyic1o1_1280

Julian took this photo when I finally made it to my room. He was shocked at the size of the incision and wanted to show me.

Prior to surgery, when Nasri came in with his assistant and had colored my neck up with their black pen maps, I been told they intended to do a left lateral incision, up side side of my neck and then a smaller center incision across my throat. This would leave me with a nice, large hockey stick style scar.

Well, it looked as if they had changed their mind. At some point before the  slicing and dicing started, Nasri’s black line art ended in a glue and tape project, leaving behind this little beauty scratch.

Standard