So How am I Doing??

I thought I’d pop on and let you all know how I’m doing.   I know it’s something you all want the answer to but no one wants to ask…so here’s what I can tell you.

On the diet front….I am doing great!  The diet has never been better and never been any easier. A little background for anyone new.  I’m on a low-iodine diet for two weeks as part of my test prep for my thyroid cancer testing.

Here are some of the reasons why I’m doing better this time around…
1-I am only cooking for myself.  There are no childcare kiddos here that I have to feed.  There is no husband here that I have to feed.

In the past, I’ve had to cook meals and do the prep for everyone and after all of that was done, I’d have to figure out what I myself was going to eat.  By then I was tired and had just fruit.  I never ended up eating anything that was a real meal.

2-This time around I took time and prepped some food and put it in the freezer in individual servings.  I made a batch of stuffed green peppers, a batch of chicken and noodles, and a batch of spaghetti with my yard sauce that was safe to eat.  I simply grab one and put it in the refrigerator and when I don’t feel like cooking something new, I eat it.  Easy peasy.

3-I found a website and Facebook group that helps people eat a low iodine diet.  This is the Facebook Group…This is the website.  The website isn’t the easiest to navigate but it’s doable and has needed info.

The people from the website food companies and ask them what type of salt they are using.  If they say NON-iodized, then the food is put on a safe list and people on the diet can eat those products.  For example…my favorite bread is on the list.

Previously when I was on the diet it was no bread unless it was homemade.  Now I don’t have to make bread.  I can just have this with peanut butter-no salt peanut butter or course.

4-There are so many more foods available.  I last did this diet in 2019.  Since then the food industry has gone out in full force making more foods that fits what I need.

I adore a little chocolate after a meal.  It is something I’ve missed when I’ve been on the diet.  No more.  I just pop a few of these.  They are totally legal for me to eat.

There are plant-based or coconut-based products that aren’t too bad.

There are so many more options and I’m appreciating them so much.

Anytime a person can go to the refrigerator and have options, it’s a good day.  That’s how it’s been for me!  Do I love the diet?  NO.  But it’s so much easier this time around.  No complaints from me at all on the diet front.

The oral chemo front…I have some complaints… …

We Have a Plan: Cancer Update

Here is the latest update on my cancer journey.  As most of you know all fall I’ve been working on finding out what is making my thyroglobulin tumor marker rise.  It was suspected that my thyroid cancer moved to my lungs and at the beginning of October, it was confirmed that I do have a tumor in my lungs.

On Thursday of last week, I got a call from the company that makes the chemotherapy oral pill.   They decided that they would send me the medication for free.  YAHOO!!!  (Please if any of you have medication that you can’t afford, contact the manufacturer.  There are often programs to help you afford your medication)  They overnighted the medicine to me and I got it on Friday…Here is how it came…

All of that for one bottle of pills.

My doctor warned me I couldn’t start taking it yet.  My appointments had to be scheduled first.

So Thursday afternoon over naptime I messaged my doctor and said the medicine was coming.  They started putting my appointments together.  At pick-up time, my phone rang but thinking it was one of my kids and a grandparent was here to pick up, so I ignored the call.  There was a message from Mayo Clinic.  They had scheduled my appointments.

I went to look and my appointments didn’t make sense at all.  I messaged them and asked for clarification.  The next day I got a message that more appointments were scheduled and I got a call from the nurse managing my case.

Here is what is going to happen… …

News from the Doctor

For those of you new here, I have an ongoing relationship with cancer.  I was diagnosed with Follicular Thyroid Cancer in January of 2016.  I had surgery and went through Radioactive Iodine Treatment at the time and for a year or so I was good.  Then my thyroglobulin tumor markers started to increase so I was put on a watch list.

Being on a watchlist consists of appointments and tests every three months.  Things continued to go bad with the numbers indicating that my cancer was back, but try as they might, the cancer has never been able to be found.

So they have drug me back in every three months to tell me that they can’t find it…they are sure it’s going to pop up…but they can’t find it now.

The numbers got higher in 2016 and my doctor sent me on to Mayo Clinic.  Still, nothing was found.  My numbers have continued to go up.  Still, nothing has been found.

In June, I went to the doctor and my tumor marker went up a lot higher than anticipated.  She wanted me back in three months for a PET scan.  My insurance wouldn’t cover one…we did CT scans instead.  Nothing much different was found on the CT scans but again, my tumor marker jumped much higher than expected.  After a huge runaround, my doctor requested a PET scan, and this time my insurance approved it.

My doctor told me she is pretty confident that something is going to show up this time.  Typically in cases like mine, once the number gets over 1000, mine is 1250 or so, she said something should show up in the scan.  Sadly, thyroid cancer typically spreads to the bone or lungs.

For a long time, they have focused on my lungs but there is little to no change there…some nodes shrink, some grow.  When I say grow that means they go from 5mm to 7mm.

This time, she’s suspicious that we might find something in my bones.  I’ve been having some hip pain on my right side so I wouldn’t be surprised it that is where the cancer moved to.

Thursday was PET scan day.  Friday was the day for me to meet with my doctor.

Here is what I learned… …

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… …

Scroll to Top
%d bloggers like this: