A Little More about Thyroid Cancer

Since I’ve shared much on the blog about both mine and Kramer’s cancer journeys, and about life as a widow, I get questions and notes from blog readers all of the time asking questions or leaving comments.  Just this last week, I had three related to my being open about my thyroid cancer.  I get some asking about Kramer’s lung cancer and I get notes from recent widows.  I appreciate getting the notes.  Each note is a confirmation that I did the right thing about being open and sharing.

Sharing isn’t always easy but I am so glad that even though at times, it’s hard, so much benefit still comes from it.  Whenever we can connect with someone who might feel the way we do…have experienced the things we did…have had the same fears and uncertainties, we feel supported.  We can look and say, “She is working her way through widowhood, maybe I can too.”  We can say, “I need someone else who knows what I might be feeling to hear my words and understand.”

I am so touched by the letters, notes, and comments I get asking questions or sharing fears.  I wish I could wipe all the fear and anxiety from you that goes with hard life things but I can’t…so instead, I try to be a sounding board.  I try to be the ear many of you need who can relate to your experience more than your close friend can because she too is dealing with how your circumstances might affect her and doesn’t have the life experience to be that sounding board.

I know that there are MANY more of you dealing with some of the same things I’ve dealt with but you aren’t the type of person that writes or leaves me a note, but still would like the information.  So today, I’m writing a little more about thyroid cancer for those who have asked questions and for those who want to ask…and for those who might have a friend or family member experience it.

The medical quoted info in this is coming from Mayo Clinics site.

Thyroid cancer
First off:
“The increased incidence of thyroid cancer is worldwide. The incidence of thyroid cancer has increased dramatically during the past three decades and it is now the fastest-growing cancer in women. Almost all of this increase is in papillary thyroid cancer.

For unclear reasons thyroid cancers (like almost all diseases of the thyroid) occur about 3 times more often in women than in men. Thyroid cancer can occur at any age, but the risk peaks earlier for women (who are most often in their 40s or 50s when diagnosed) than for men (who are usually in their 60s or 70s).”

I think the first thing I need to tell you is that there are two main types of thyroid cancer.  There are others as well but they are rarer and sadly more aggressive.

Papillary thyroid cancer. The most common form of thyroid cancer, papillary thyroid cancer arises from follicular cells, which produce and store thyroid hormones. Papillary thyroid cancer can occur at any age, but most often it affects people ages 30 to 50. Doctors sometimes refer to papillary thyroid cancer and follicular thyroid cancer together as differentiated thyroid cancer.

Papillary is the most common.  80% of people who get thyroid cancer have this form.  This is often hereditary.

Follicular thyroid cancer. Follicular thyroid cancer also arises from the follicular cells of the thyroid. It usually affects people older than age 50. Hurthle cell cancer is a rare and potentially more aggressive type of follicular thyroid cancer.

Follicular is the next most common.  15% of people who get thyroid cancer have this form.  This is not hereditary.  It is more aggressive and can spread to the lungs and bones.

I have follicular, the second most popular kind, so sometimes, my experience is different than what someone else might have experienced especially if they have papillary.

My cancer was found after… …

Thyroid Cancer Update

Thursday was my day to go to the doctor and get a check on my thyroid cancer.

We live about two hours from Rochester…parking can sometimes take a bit of time…and I had to stop in Spring Valley so I was up and driving by 6:45 am.

I was hoping to be in Spring Valley at 8 am.  I made perfect timing.  Seriously perfect.  I had a box of goodies that came from blog readers that I was stopping off at the home of a new charity quilter, Julie.  I saw from another friend that she was doing charity quilting and I contacted her and asked if she could use some of the goodies you all send.  She was thrilled!

After stopping at her house, I was quickly back on the road.  My timing to get to the doctor was right on too.  I’ve been here enough now and am being sent to the same places that everything is getting a little easier for me to navigate.

Our daughter, Kelli, was a little concerned and bothered that I was going alone.  I totally wasn’t.  When I was new at this thyroid cancer thing, and when I had a doctor with a real accent when speaking, I needed someone there.  Nowadays, I actually prefer to go by myself.  It makes it seem more every day.  When the whole entourage’ is with, it seems more serious.

First up was blood work.  No problem.

Then I was off to get a CT chest scan done.  I was able to get in a few stitches before I was called back.  This was my view… …

The Latest from Today….Trucks and Thyroids

For those of you who are entering this conversation now, here’s a little recap of my thyroid issue:  In December I went to my normal physical with my doctor.  She felt a suspicious lump in my neck.  She sent me on to have an ultrasound.  I was told I had large nodules….from there is was a biopsy.  It was then we found out one nodule was benign the other was undetermined.  Both were quite large.  I had the option to wait it out..go through the biopsy process all in three months again or to have surgery.   If I opted for surgery I could have the undetermined side removed and the good left or have it all taken.

I opted to have it all taken.  Last week on Thursday was the surgery date.  I’ve been recovering nicely.

Today was my trip back back to Lacrosse to check in with my surgeon. I really only expected a formality visit.  They’d take out the stitches…he’d tell I could shower normally and drive.  All good.  In light of that Hubby decided we’d do errands in Lacrosse on the way.  He needed to go to Menards.  I needed groceries and wanted to go to JoAnn’s.  All the way there we chatted about where we were going to eat and when we’d eat.  Hubby had a meeting that he needed to get back for but I was campaigning for the Mexican restaurant on the way home in Waukon.  If we did that we’d need to just grab a sandwich now….so we grabbed something at the convenience store with the expectation of a nice supper out.

We got into Lacrosse and decided there was enough time to hit Menards before the doctor.  I didn’t have phone, I forgot it at home, to GPS directions to Menards but Hubby was sure he could get there….About a mile into town on the way…the truck started acting up.  There was a crazy ping-ping failure alarm going off that said low oil pressure.  We pulled into the closest Kwik Trip and Hubby popped the hood.  He called our mechanic and asked what he thought.  In the end we made the decision to just try to get me to the doctor.  Hubby would deal with the truck while I was in my appointment.

We started out good with no alarms but by the time we got to the clinic the alarm was pinging all over again.  UGH.  I went into my appointment worried about the truck.  We were almost two hours from home.  What were we going to do?  I didn’t have my phone.

I checked into the doctor’s.  They took me back.  It was all I expected.  The nurse took out my stitches.  I waited a bit and the surgeon came in.  He checked my neck and told me I looked good and asked how I felt.  Then he told me the pathology report was back and I have follicular thyroid cancer.

Wow.  I have cancer.

I didn’t expect that.  I didn’t expect that at all. …

The Thyroid News

Yesterday was biopsy day for my thyroid.  If you’re late on coming into this story it goes like this.  In December I went to the doctor for a yearly check.  When the doctor was checking me she felt a lump in my neck.  I had an ultra sound done on it.  Nodules were found on it and I was referred to an endocrinologist for a consult and biopsy.

Hubby took me to Lacrosse and Kelli stayed with my childcare kiddos.  I had a 12:45 appointment.  Here’s what I was told…. …

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