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. Not only does this blog exist to represent a plethora of thyroid cancer knowledge and awareness, it also touches on my experience to all my fellow survivors and recently diagnosed. My intentions are always to engage, inspire, make you laugh, create a blanket of comfort, and to let you know – You are going to be just fine.
This week, I am currently undergoing my yearly cancer screening. This involves thyrogen shots, blood work, a neck ultrasound, a tiny dose of RAI, and of course a full body scan this Friday. I will make sure to write about the whole process. I do have a few really great subjects to touch on next week pertaining to the cost of having a “good kind of cancer” as well as all the pills that have come into my life since being diagnosed.
Stay tuned, Darlings – Keep fighting the good fight!
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.
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.
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.
The people closest to me call me Lace. I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer on February 19, 2014. It’s hard to swallow, that all this crazy started almost a year ago. I decided I would spew my story out into the extended spaces of the internet, in case someone might find some use of it.
Now, before I dive into all the details that more than likely led you to this explanation of unwanted events, more about me. Why? Why not? You may not know me and if you do know me, you may not know me as well as you think you do. I find this to be mildly important in understanding my point of views as I go into my experience and it’s entirety. And then we will eat cake.
OK. Where were we. a/s/l? I’ll start. 29/F/NV. Las Vegas, Nevada to be exact. But I didn’t start here. Not even close. I come from a small little country town called Weyauwega, Wisconsin. Toss that name into a spelling bee for a rise.
Life is good. Growing up was simple, filled with the countrysides of the Midwest, surrounded by four seasons, Fall being my favorite. But there was something to be said and adored about the wide open skies, humid nights, and rolling thunderstorms of the short Summer months.
Weyauwega is a very small town, to this day. One week after I graduated highschool, I found myself completely emerged in the downtown scene of Minneapolis, alone. Talk about a lucid culture shock. In my 18 year old mind, I had two choices. Minneapolis, MN or New London, CT. Staying in Wisconsin was not an option. I decided to turn down collage on the east coast, on a volleyball scholarship (plus I was not going to be a girl playing volleyball in spandex for a team called The Camels…), for a ridiculously expensive art school debt. Sometimes you can’t help but wonder how life would be completely different, if I would have went the other way. But there’s no looking back and I am quite happy with the descions I have made in my life to this point.
Minneapolis is an extraordinary city. It changed my way of life. My views. My opinions. My personality. All for the better. How liberating! This country, this world, is so vast and amazing and beautiful, I don’t understand how one might never just chance life somewhere else.
Alright. Time out. I can totally feel the urge to sit and spill my life story, thoughts, feelings, out on the table like a million puzzle pieces, that I would strategically place together right in front of you until the whole big picture is built, and you got bored, and over it, and then you missed the whole reason I’m even dabbling with writing. I realize, in a time of searching for answers and seeking advice, you don’t always want to read about who somebody was. So let’s Quentin Tarantino this shit.