Category Archives: cancer

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… Continue reading

Making Plans…NOT!

This is my appointment week for my cancer screening.  It’s the week of the long drives and what I hope will come to some sort of plan.  Our kids have been trying to plan birthday parties and get togethers wondering when I was free or not free.  Scotty’s birthday party is July 19th, and I sure hope to be there…but can I be?  Who knows!

Every time some event comes up I have to go back and explain everything all over again.  I just don’t know what is going to happen.  I think I know one of three plans will happen.  But which one, I have no idea.

Here’s what I think the options are: Continue reading

My Low Iodine Diet

Here I am finished with week one of my low iodine diet.  For those of you who have been following the blog know that as part of having a full body scan. in hopes of finding where my thyroid cancer is, I have to be on a low iodine diet.

I promised I would try not to whine about it so I’m hoping this post sounds factual and possibly will share some frustrations, yet not be too whiny.  An added complication for me is that I am diabetic so although I can make my own bread, muffins and the like, that don’t have salt in them, I can’t eat much of it because of the carbs.  People who aren’t diabetic often think we can’t eat sugar, truthfully, carbs are almost as bad.

While doing the diet, I rarely if ever, eat anything without looking it up on the computer first.  Today breakfast was strawberries and walnuts.  The plainer the food, the better chances are that it’s something I can eat….but that’s not always the case.

I bought bananas without rechecking to see if I can eat them, I can’t.

I’ve grown to love this… Continue reading

The Elephant in the Room

So Kalissa and were out and met someone we both know.  I’ve known the person for 25 years at least.  We aren’t close friends but I know them and consider them to be a very nice person.  Carver was with us.  We were chatting.  Carver was restless so I took him off and helped him and was away from the conversation.

After a short bit Kalissa caught up to me and said, “Oh my, that was awkward.”  I didn’t know what was up, so I asked, and she told me that after I left with Carver, the person asked- “So how’s your mom’s cancer?”  Then following that response she asked, “How’s she doing without your Dad?”

People, STOP!  Please STOP!  I am not mad about this.  It’s human nature.  We all wonder about the widow in the room.  We all wonder about the person with medical issues.  We all want to ask.  We all wonder.  It’s natural.  It’s normal and it’s entirely okay.  But…let’s find a better way to ask about it.

We all have been places and all of us were aware that there was “an elephant in the room”, a topic people wanted to talk about yet didn’t.

So…today I’m writing this to help you all who feel uncomfortable talking about the “elephant”.

Number one thing I want everyone to know:
I don’t mind if anyone talks to me about Kramer (my husband who died in June of 2019).  I don’t mind it a bit.  I love it in fact.  By you talking about him, it lets me know that someone else besides me is missing him.  It also lets me know that you care about me.  Talking about him lightens my load and the grief we bare is shared.  The load is lightened.  That’s awesome.  Yes, I might get a tear in my eye with a shared memory but that tear isn’t hurting me.  It’s helping me.

The problem is…how does one mention “the elephant”?  How do you bring it up in conversation?

Here’s my suggestion: Continue reading