Yesterday I went to my doctor appointment in Rochester to the Mayo Clinic. If you’ve been following my saga, you know I have returned thyroid cancer and have been referred onto the Mayo Clinic. I had a miserable time with the endocrinologist I was seeing and asked to be seen by someone else. They referred me on to Doctor Ryder and I’m so very happy as she is everything my previous doctor wasn’t. Best of all she is an oncologist AND and endocrinologist…which in reality is really who I need to be seeing.
Parking was a little more than it typically is but not terrible. I’ve learned that now when I go to appointments on my own, I always take a picture of my level with my camera so I don’t forget where I parked….silly I know but it’s one of the quirky things about me.
So for my appointment, I got in fine by my wait time in the doctor’s office was long. It was okay and totally worth it though. I felt like all the questions I’ve had over the last 4 years of dealing with this were finally answered. I left feeling so much better.
So here are some of the things I’m learning. Although some people can be cured if they get to the point I am, it’s also very normal for people to deal with this chronically…meaning, I never get cured and this going back and forth to appointments never really ends. The good news though, this is typically slow growing…like years to grow, so she really only wants to see me every six months and even then, I won’t have to go through as many tests as I’ve had to do lately. That was good news for me to hear. The testing and diet gets to be a lot.
The other news is even if they find the specific source of where the cancer is at, it doesn’t mean I’ll get treated right away. With my kind of cancer they watch and wait as the treatment can often be harder on the patient than having the slow growing cancer.
One of the problems that arises for people with return thyroid cancer is that often the new cancer becomes resistant to radioactive iodine and radioactive iodine is the treatment for thyroid cancer. So, for me, …once the cancer is found for sure, there is a drug I can take that might make my body do a better job with accepting the radioactive iodine…at least that is the hope.
She said that at the point my tumor marker (it’s 117 now) is when the cancer typically shows itself so she is hopeful that when I return in December, we’ll know where it is. No guarantee, as I was told again and again, that each patient is different.
I felt confident in what I was told. I felt listened to. I felt she cared about me. I didn’t feel dismissed. I felt she was very competent and at the top of her field. All of that, is what is most important to me. I left the doctor’s office feeling good. I felt like I understood what was happening to my body…and I felt like I was seeing a doctor who actually knew what they were doing. That is so much better than I felt two weeks ago when I went.
So on my way home, all masked up, I did something I haven’t done before…can you guess what it is? Continue reading