Doctor Report: Cancer

Friday I headed to Lacrosse for a doctor check up.  It’s a trip that takes us across the Mississippi River.

It was rainy and the pictures turned out bad.

For those of you who don’t know, I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in March 3rd of 2016.  After radioactive iodine treatment I was given the green light and cleared.  I still needed to go back to the doctor every six months and have a recheck…but technically cleared.

If you’re a long term blog reader you might remember that last fall there was something suspicious in my neck that they decided to check out through a biopsy.  The biopsy came back okay.  It was thought to be scar tissue.

Then this spring I got a bit of a set back.  My blood work came back and levels that aren’t suppose to increase had increased.  I did more testing including a PET scan and nothing was seen.

The doctor was still concerned about the increased numbers in my blood so ordered tests every three months vs every six months.  Well the test I took over the summer showed an even higher number and now a week ago I took a test again and again, the number is rising.  The number got high enough that it was an indication that the cancer likely has returned.

So with that in mind, Kelli, Kalissa and I headed off to Lacrosse to have a chat with the doctor and find out some details and learn what was next.

Before I saw the doctor I had a neck ultrasound done.  I’ve had this done every six months since diagnosed.  After blood work, it’s their next standard test.  Today showed that what was thought to be scar tissue (is now being called a lesion) has grown.  This is both good news and bad news.  Let me explain.

With my number (thyroglobulin tumor marker) on the increase, it’s likely I have returned cancer.

Image result for cancer

We have looked and scanned and can’t find it anywhere.  Now that the lesion grew, they are now beginning to believe that the lesion is the source of the cancer.  If that’s true.  We found the problem.  If it’s not true, we don’t know where the problem is.

So..the next testing I need to do can’t be done at Gundersen in Lacrosse.  They are moving me on to the Mayo Clinic.  In the next few days, Mayo Clinic will call me with an appointment and I start doctoring there for a time.  I don’t know the exact when’s and exact how’s of things but I think it will go something like this:

-in the next month I will meet with a Mayo doctor
-they will likely do a special biopsy that pulls from the lesion and testing will be done to see if there is the thyroglobulin tumor marker in the lesion
-if it is in the lesion, I will be scheduled for surgery and the lesion will be removed
-I’ll have blood work done again.  If the level is back to normal, problem solved.
-I would get released back to my Lacrosse doctor

We really didn’t talk a lot about if it wasn’t the lesion that is causing the issue.  I did get the impression that more and more testing and searching would be done if the lesion isn’t causing the problem.  Ugh no fun.

My doctor did say that she has done this with another patient and all went well.  This is not the usual process, but it isn’t abnormal either.

So before we left the doctor’s office Kalissa said to my doctor, “So we are actually suppose to be hopeful that the cancer returned and it’s in this lesion?  We are suppose to hope for cancer?”  The doctor said yes.  Then it can be easily eliminated and chances of it spreading are slim.

I was told that if the lesion was removed it’s a more in depth process than the thyroid removal was.  That doesn’t scare me as the thyroid removal was a piece of cake surgery.  I had a terrible sore throat for a couple days but that was it.  The rest of the recovery was no problem.

So the big question:  How am I doing with it?
Good, I think.  In the first go around with this I became very self aware.  I know I am not defined by my body and my body and my brain are entirely two different things.  My body is going to do what it’s going to do and my brain can either fight it, becoming worried and anxious, or accept it as what it is…a set back.  Getting upset in my mind is only going to hurt my body so, I’m staying as far away from worry and anxiety as I can.

As a Christian I also believe that to this point, God has given me an amazing life.  Every day more that I get, no matter how many, is a gift.  I plan to open those gifts with gusto and live them to the fullest.  I am so blessed that this has not interfered with my life.  I still feel healthy.  I still feel very happy.

This is not a death sentence.  I really look at it as a learning experience.  It’s made me so much more aware and thankful for life and for the people who are in it.  I count all of you as those people too.

Some people feel uncomfortable talking about it.  I am not that person.  I’ll give you updates here and let you know what is happening.  Thanks for all the thoughts, concerns and prayers you send my way.  It’s needed and so appreciated.   I’ll do my best to keep up with the blog but if there’s a day I miss…no worrying on your part…I’ll be back sortly to check in.  If for some reason I can’t, Kelli will and let you know what’s up…PROMISE.

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79 thoughts on “Doctor Report: Cancer

  1. Bobi

    Your positive attitude is one of the reasons I love your blog. I appreciate your honesty and sharing as well. My Mom has been fighting lymphoma since 2010. Every time she goes to the doctor, we hold our breath. Her cancer returned just after the 5 year mark but she fights on. Cancer touches so many people and your willingness to share your experiences helps more people than you will ever know.

    I’m sorry you have to go through this (again!) and wish you the absolute best possible outcome. Please tell your daughters that I wish them well too. It’s scary when your Mom has health issues and you feel helpless that you can’t fix it. But again thanks for your candidness in sharing such a personal yet universal story with us.

  2. Me

    Just to say you are in our thoughts. Have suffered Thyroid and lung cancer problems and survived.
    All good wished to you and your family
    Luv ans hugs from the UK

  3. Stoney Monte

    Jo-Your positive mind and your strong faith are great assets for this journey. You know there are many people who are supporting you with prayers and positive energy, some of whom are working through this or similar challenges with cancer. I welcome your blog entries every morning, loving your stories and your growing sense of self. You inspire many with your honest sharing and we look forward to hearing what you feel you want to share as you go forward. Thank you!

  4. Elaine

    Jo, your positive attitude and “ it is what it is” carries thru in your blog posts. You make me feel you are my neighbor down the road. All are reasons I have followed your blog for quite a while now. First one I look for every day. You have such a loving and supportive family and I know they are there for you. I’ll be sending prayers and healing vibes your way. I do wonder how this will effect your daycare ,but I’m sure things will work out.

  5. Penny Holliday

    Such a great attitude, Jo! Thank you for sharing your health issues. I think that will help so many. Keeping you & your family in my prayers & sending all of you my wishes of strength & special hugs! Take care!

  6. Debbie Bowmer

    Your positive attitude will carry you through this journey. Thoughts and prayers sent your way. Take care of YOU. Hugs!!!

  7. Jean

    Thank you for keeping us in the loop. We all do care about you even though most of us will never get to meet you in person. Prayers and thoughts and all good wishes.

  8. Kathy MacKie

    With your positive attitude which is in true Jo fashion and the skill of the medical team you’ve begun this journey in the best possible manner, praying for you.

  9. Cindy Dahlgren

    I’m sorry your cancers back, but you’ll be impressed by the care you will get from the staff at Mayo. First, foremost and always you’ll be treated as a human being with intelligence and feelings. They’ll make sure that you understand everything they do, what the results are and what they mean, all treatment options, everything. They’ll do everything they can to make sure you feel comfortable with everything going on. It’s a massive place, you take shuttles from one building to the others. They have volunteers in red jackets to help you when you get lost. Make sure you tell the motel you call that you’re a Mayo patient and you’ll get a discount on the room rate. We pay $86 for a double room. You’ll be in good hands there.

  10. Cindy

    Just wanted to let you know that my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. I also appreciate your honesty and your sharing.

  11. Patti

    Jo, you’re amazing. I’m so sorry you have to go through this. We all love you and will be praying for you! Lots of love from Cape Cod.

  12. Tanya Romero

    I’m a long time lurker but coming out of hiding to say thank you for your openness. I am fearful of even going to the doctor, and appreciate I a matter of fact approach and your explanations. You are helping me. Thank you for sharing your life. Love from Colorado

  13. Gloria

    Jo, your faith, attitude, family, and love are such ideal examples of Christian Decency living! I feel like so many of your blog readers in that we are good friends! I talk about you all the time to my friends and family. I’ll say my little friend in Iowa is a great person, wife, mom, grandma, quilter, cook, and so on. Then some of them ask if we went to school together. No, I say. I’m about 8 years shy of being old enough to be your mother! Know that we’re all praying for you and your family! Hugs!

  14. Christine

    Jo your positive upbeat attitude is why I love to read your blig. I to struggle with thyroud issues. Not cancer but graves disease. i to had mine removed. I am with ya dear friend in the struggle. Prayers coming your way. We r all there for ya. DONT let this control you. YOU control it. Positive thoughts coming your way. Hugs

  15. Lisa

    I love your attitude. I will be praying for healing for you and continued peace for you and your family.

  16. Jan A.

    I love your attitude about this “setback,” Jo. My prayer is that you will continue to have peace in heart and mind throughout whatever comes, trusting in the good Lord, as you do. You are an inspiration!

  17. Ellie

    Your attitude is fabulous and we will all keep you and your family in our prayers. Thanks for keeping us in the loop as to what’s going on. One of the things I enjoy about reading your blog is you are so real and down to earth. Blessings on you!

  18. Jill Klop

    Thanks for the update! You are so good about sharing what you are going through and I know you help others by doing that. I keep you in my prayers!

  19. Arrowhead Gramma

    Jo… I am nearly seven years in remission from Stage III ovarian cancer. I truly believe that I am here today due to the power of prayer and the fact that God wasn’t finished with me yet. Each day I am thankful for the day and being alive. Prayers are with you during this journey. The Mayo Clinic is top-notch so you will be in good hands. Take care.

  20. Betsy Busch

    I got your booth back, girl. If you need, bring in several boxes of stuff and I’ll store it in the garage and keep you restocked. You’re a survivor. As my son would say:”Gaily forward, ‘cuz ain’t nothin’ in life straight.”

  21. Pat Anderson

    I believe that sometimes we have to go through these things because of the witness we are for others. Already you have people wondering how you cope with such news…as a Christian you know that God will give you the strength to go through whatever happens. I don’t know how non-Christians go through these things. Many people (including myself) are praying for you and I have faith that you will be fine! I am glad that you are open an dealing with this because many people “crawl into a hole” and don’t want to talk about it. I think it is much healthier to talk about it. Take care of yourself and know that many prayers are coming your way!

  22. Barb

    Jo, I am a retired oncology RN and you are right to keep good spirits. There are so many new medications, treatments and protocols for all types of cancer becoming available every day that it makes my head spin. Mayo Clinic will take excellent care of you and even if the cancer isn’t in your thyroid but in another part of your body, there very well may be an excellent treatment for it too.

    You are in many peoples thoughts and prayers. Good luck!

  23. Marian

    Jo, I so enjoy your positive attitude! You have so many talents and all your followers appreciate you so much. Going to the Mayo Clinic is the best step to your good health. I wish you well; you are in my thoughts. MS in Rochester.

  24. Robby H.

    Well then, fingers crossed for a problematic lesion that you can part with and return to good health.

  25. Judy In MO

    You have a great attitude and I firmly believe that positive thinking boosts our immune systems. We are all rooting for you to beat this again.

  26. Marilyn

    You are a very strong and courageous person who opens your self to us and shares so much. My God continue to keep you strong on this journey. Prayers and a big hug to you.

  27. Carolyn S

    Bless your heart. Hoping and praying that it all turns out well. Going to the Mayo Clinic is a great move. They see problems like yours often and are equipped to give you great care.

  28. Sandra B

    Jo, I am sending lots of positive thoughts your way…and keeping you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.
    Thank you for letting us go with you on this journey. We are all here to give you our support! Your positive outlook inspires us all!!

  29. Lace Faerie

    Jo, you and your family continue to be in my prayers. May you continue to be blessed with a peaceful countenance and a quick return to full health!

    I look forward to reading your posts every night as part of my reading before going to sleep. I enjoy all your posts, from quilting to your childcare littles and grandchildren! I only wish that I was closer and could attend your quilting retreats!

    Blessings!
    Karen

  30. Cindy in NC

    I’m about two months away from my annual thyroid nodules scan. One was suspicious a few years ago and required a biopsy. I was very fortunate no cancer was found. Your positive attitude about life in general and cancer in particular are inspiring, Jo. You and your family are in my prayers.

  31. Susan the Farm Quilter

    Pat Anderson has the same view point I do. Your Christian witness to all of us who read your blog, as well as everyone you will meet medically along this journey will be seeing your faith in action. Praying for you and your family, as well as the medical team who will be caring for you!

  32. shoshana

    we’re all praying for you Jo, and thumbs up for your choice to let today be good, the best. any other way just makes today already bad, but it takes a strong decision to keep it going, good for you.

  33. Donna T

    Prayers and hugs Jo. You have a great attitude; a wonderful support system and you will get through this.

  34. Paulette Voit

    Jo I was so surprised to read about your cancer returning. My prayers to you and your family that your treatment goes smoothly and you are back on your feet to enjoy Carver and your new grand baby. God is awesome and He will be by your side. I pray that He gives strength to your family also to help you handle what is to come. God Bless!

  35. Elizabeth V K

    You, family and medical staff are in my prayers. Looking forward to good news and more of your sharing on your blog.

  36. D. Weeks (aka Momma Llama)

    I am an Endocrinology patient at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville FL since 2016. My care, appointments and visits are stellar. Mayo Clinic had instant results for my blood work and biopsy. This is the most amazing relief to know, on the spot, what is going on. Praying that you have a successful visit/treatment. Donna Weeks (aka Momma Llama)

  37. Carolyn in Tx

    Jo, you are so very blessed with family and friends. God listens to all our prayers and takes care of the need. You have touched so many of us in such wonderfully positive ways and now we circle you with our prayers for your comfort and healing. You are a shining example for so very many. Gentle hugs and loving prayers.

  38. Ronda

    A positive attitude like you have helps a great deal with your recovery. Keeping you in my prayers!

  39. Bonnie Irby

    Prayers and hugs. Your attitude is so exceptional and that’s so important.
    I always love your posts.

  40. Janine Baker

    I am so sorry you are dealing with this again. You have to know how many of us are saying our prayers with you added to our family section. You have such a positive outlook that I am sure you will be victorious again with this session. Please take care of yourself-I know your girls will be sure to. Hugs to all of you, Janine

  41. Verna Groger

    I’ve enjoyed following your blog for the past year or more and will be remembering you in my prayers for this challenging time. My husband has liver cancer and received some very effective treatments that significantly prolonged his life at Mayo in Jacksonville, Fl. I’m glad you will be going to Mayo, they are some of the best. The Lord’s peace and blessing to you, Jo!

  42. Barbara F

    Sorry to hear about your “set back” but glad you are keeping a positive attitude. Please know that you will be in my prayers and I’ll be sending lots of positive thoughts and well wishes your way. Love reading your blog posts and seeing your beautiful quilts. Keep the faith that all will turn out well. *** Big hugs ***

  43. ShirlR

    I just finished offering up a prayer for you, ,Jo,, and I will continue keep you and your family in my prayers. You are so dear to all of us. Your great attitude, the Mayo Clinic and God’s healing Hands are all there for a completely successful recovery. God Bless,

  44. Sandra Davidson

    You are such a wonderful positive person Jo, that if it is cancer you will beat it. God is on your side keep praying and your spirits up. Get some frankincense oil and rub on your neck around thyroid. I read that it is excellent for Tumours. I just finished watching a docoseries on Cancer on line and. It was so interesting and I learnt a lot. I have had breast cancer and I wished I had known a lot of what I learnt I would do things differently. Bless you and I will keep you in my prayers.

  45. Linda

    Hugs and prayers…..I was so saddened to read this post…Mayo saved my life once and I have great faith in them to help you….God Bless….

  46. Kim LeMere

    Jo, thank you for your honesty and wiliness to share your medical situation with us all. I will keep you in my prayers.

  47. Paula Jo

    Praying for a good outcome for you! I read your blog every morning and evening and feel like you are a friend. Thank you for letting all of us into your life.

  48. Colleen

    Sorry to learn of this bump in your road, hopefully the outcome will be as your doctor expects.
    You have been on my prayer list

  49. Becky

    Jo you are so right. Your positive outlook/attitude will make a huge difference. Praying for your complete healing!

  50. Arline

    I am so sorry to read of this situation, I only recently found your blog and enjoy reading each and every post, mostly the ones about your family and thrifting. Your faith and family, including your followers, will help you get through this difficult time. God be with you and yours.

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