Diet and Treatment Update

People of the world. I would like to make an announcement. I am finally getting great care from Mayo Clinic…and that is what I am thankful for this week.

If you’ve been following along on the blog for awhile, you know that I am being treated for yet another round of thyroid cancer. This time the concentration is to slow the growing cancer in my lungs. I started this all back in December of 2015 when was first told I had thyroid cancer and have had several setbacks along the way.

During the process, we found out that I am resistant to Radio Active Iodine which is the method they treat thyroid cancer with. Back in 2021, I did what was considered a newer treatment called Redifferientation. Long story short they give patients oral chemo to destabilize the cancer and then they can use Radio Active Iodine as the cancer will then accept it. The redifferentiation doesn’t work for everyone but luckily, last time, it worked for me. Fingers crossed, it will work again.

The first time I did this, they sent me home with the oral chemo and said come back in a month. I was pretty miserable. (That’s a lie) I was very miserable. When I left the office that day they told me I most patients get a bad painful rash on their face and then handed me a long list of other side effects to expect.

About three weeks in, the rash was unbearable and my daughter called in and I got some meds to help with that. I felt very “on my own”. I was not at all impressed with my care…and not impressed with Mayo Clinic.

This time around…I can’t believe the difference. I feel like I am being cared for. I don’t feel like a number. I can’t even begin to tell you how much better I feel.

I started oral chemo on the 3rd. I have had two email messages and two phone calls from my doctor’s nurse to check up on me. I told them I was getting a terribly itchy scalp but other than that, I felt pretty good. More tired than normal but but pretty good.

They put me on meds…an antibiotic to help with the itchy scalp? WHAT? Last time there was nothing like this. The antibiotic is pre-terrible side effects not post-terrible side effects. I couldn’t be happier.

I feel 100% better about my care. That feels great.

In their defense last time the process was pretty new to me…and new to them. I was the 27th patient at Mayo Clinic who went through this procedure. They are learning more as they go and it seems, they are learning how to better care for their patients. YAHOO!! It’s wonderful. I have two more telehealth appointments in the upcoming two weeks.

There is more good news. The diet hasn’t been bad at all. There are more foods for me try and I’ve been more creative with meal prep and that’s a win-win.

Breakfast has been pretty “normal” The bread I often eat doesn’t use iodized salt so I can use it. The jam from Ila is salt free…as are the awesome oranges. I found Country Crock Plant Butter and that’s been a hit too. Not as good as regular butter but and okay substitute.

I’ve discovered more things…Cheerios have non-iodized salt…and I found coconut milk that is approved.

For work, I’ve been making overnight oats with coconut yogurt, oatmeal, and blueberries. I’ve made this in the past only with regular yogurt.

A real life changer for the diet is finding mayo I can eat. Hellmann’s Vegan to the rescue. I made chicken salad and had wrap using mission flour tortillas which are okay to eat. To top it off I had Lay’s BBQ potato chips-also another food I’ve discovered that doesn’t have iodized salt.

Can you see why I’m so happy with the diet this time around??

Another thing I did was modify my Chicken Noodle Soup recipe from Iowa Girl Eats. You can find it HERE. It’s so good with regular ingredients and tasted much the same with with modified ingredients.

I changed the olive oil and butter to vegetable oil. I changed the chicken broth to no salt chicken broth. I added non-iodized salt. Totally legal and totally yummy. I made a big batch so I’ve been enjoying that all week.

I have more good foods coming my way. Our family makes Coney Islands. If you don’t know what that is…it’s a hotdog with sloppy joe (maidrite) meat over the top-all in a hotdog bun. It just so happens that the kids are scheduled to come home this weekend and Kelli offered to bring them.

I initially was happy. I wouldn’t have to cook. Then I remembered, I’d have to fix myself something else I could eat. Then I realized that we can make them…just a few modifications. We could use Manwich, this Ketchup or the mustard you see to make them.

It turns out Kelli found some hotdogs that are okay for me to eat as well. We didn’t come up with a hotdog bun but that’s okay. There are some out there but none we can find locally…so, I’ll just have mine on a slice of bread. I’m totally okay with that!!

As you can see it’s taking some work to eat….but I’m eating good food and have a variety of different foods. This is so good…I can’t find a thing to complain about.

Last week I told you that I’m thankful for the advances in the food industry that make the diet not so bad. Oh my. I’m going to say that again…and also say, I’m impressed with Mayo Clinic and my care team. What a difference two years have made in both the food industry and my care. So much to be thankful for!!

31 thoughts on “Diet and Treatment Update”

  1. So happy for you that things are going better this time. Hoping it continues and also praying that the treatment will be successful again.

  2. So happy to hear that you feel better about your treatment and meals. Mayo Clinic is an amazing place and you are lucky to be close to it. With lots of research and good planning, your food choices have really expanded since your prior treatment. Since it is Thursday, I will say I am thankful for your positivity today and for keeping us updated on your progress.

  3. I’m so grateful to hear that you are hitting it out of the park thi time around, and that your care is too! Really makes me happy! Do you know what “number” patient are you are this time around? #27 the first time seems like it was really new then.

  4. So much to be thankful for in this post for you! Prayers you continue to get excellent care and that the treatment works!

  5. I’m so glad for you that it’s easier than last time. I’ve kept wondering how you are with the treatment. Thank goodness your hospital team are on the ball and keeping an eye on you.

  6. I am so thankful that you have found such a huge change in the treatment side of the problem and also your food choices now being enhanced. This is not only good for your body but is an excellent improved for your mind. You do sound in a much better place with your journey this time. I am so keeping my thoughts positive for you. Love and best wishes for the trip.

  7. Thank you for the update. So happy you’re having better luck with your food choices and also more attention from Mayo Clinic.

  8. Pamela Meyers Arbour

    That is good news. I remember the last time, so I am glad this is better. I’m sure you had some anxiety having to do this again. Maybe you could make up a little booklet with recipes for future patients. It sounds like you have designed some yummy meals.

  9. I am so grateful to read about your positive experiences this time around. I can’t help but think how fortunate it is that you do enjoy preparing food. I’m not much of a cook so if I was ever in your position I’d likely just starve. Seriously though, we’re all in your corner praying for you!

  10. Jo, so glad to hear it’s going much better. I know you were so miserable the last time. And so glad the Mayo Clinic has really stepped up and given you the help you need. And the food – it’s such a feast! So happy for you.
    Love and continued prayers.

  11. I’m so glad that you are able to have your family come and be with you, and that you can serve them food they will like from your kitchen!! Every day is precious. Best Wishes Jo!!

  12. Wonderful news on the treatment and care that you are getting this time around. I’m so thankful that you continue to blog and keep us all in the loop. My prayers continue for you.

  13. What a wonderful way to start my morning hearing how much better things are going this time! It’s amazing what a difference two years can make. Hopefully things will continue to go well and the treatment will be successful again! Love and prayers.

  14. This is great news. I know how miserable you were last time and I was k8bd of dreading you going through this again. I absolutely love the Mayo Clinic even though I have a different doctor here at home now. They are much better than other doctors. I’m happy for you.

  15. So happy you are feeling better. This is only a suggestion but wondering if you have given any thought to a plant based diet for your cancer. There has been documented success in beating it. If you are interested Dr Neal Barnard on utube is one you can trust. I can’t believe how you manage to get everything done. You are so inspiring.

  16. Susan the Farm Quilter

    Praise the Lord that our prayers were answered on the food front! So glad you have such a variety that is palatable. So glad your medical team has learned and adapted to the needs of their patients during this horrible time…what a blessing to feel cared about! Continuing prayers for the treatment to contain the cancer so you can continue to enjoy the things you love in life!

  17. It is so good to hear that things are going so much better this time round for you. Better food and better care – less symptoms and better meds to handle the symptoms you’re having. Prayers continuing!

  18. Hi Jo, I have been thinking about you a lot, hope you’re feeling the love. Anyway I am making an hourglass quilt after I saw it on your video.I need to make 255 for a charity quilt and I am almost up to 100!! Every time I cut a triangle, or sew them together I think of you and send you a little love. My husband had thyroid cancer and surgery twice, one side at a time. So I know how hard it is to find food without iodized salt. We ended up making our own bread. He has been cancer free for many years now and we are very grateful. You are in my thoughts and I try and read your blog every day because I know you are giving up your precious time to write them so the least I can do is take the time to read. Keep up the great work my friend and can’t wait for when you have time to make more videos.

  19. Barbara Firesheets

    YEA! Happy to hear you are having a much better experience with your treatment this time around. Sending love and lots of prayers your way. ❤️❤️❤️

  20. That is all wonderful news!! You are really doing a great service as well to anyone who might need to follow a different plan like yours as well. I’m glad the Mayo Clinic has been so much better this time. As you said they probably have much more information now. Blessings to you as you go on this journey. I’m praying for you to have good health and be comfortable. Hugs,

  21. I’m so happy that you are having a better experience with the Mayo Clinic. I was a patient there last summer, and had fantastic care, so I was dismayed to hear of all the problems you had. I am so thankful that your care has improved. Best wishes for you.

  22. Oh, Jo – all that is great news! I’m so glad you’re having a good experience with Mayo (I go to Mayo & have always found them to be excellent – caring & on top of things) & am keeping my fingers (& toes) crossed you have a good response to the regimen. Your “new” diet sounds fabulous, too! Yay you all around!

  23. This is such good news, Jo. Good care, good food and a good attitude….triple blessings! Still praying for you and grateful you’re having a more positive experience this time around.

  24. Jo, I am so happy to read you are able to eat better than last time! How awesome is it that Mayo is finally taking good care of you. They were learning as they went last time as you said, so now we’ll cheer them on in their care of you! I don’t usually post comments but felt I had to this time. I’ve been reading your blog for a few years now. Good for you in taking time for you and your stitching and not blogging every day. We will read what you post and enjoy reading about your life! Take good care dear, blog world friend!

  25. Oh Jo! This is great news to hear! Experience has proven to help both you and Mayo Clinic—praying that experience also translates to treatment success!


  26. Beryl in Owatonna

    PTL!! I am so happy to read your report!! I am happy to have found it, the original one was in “code” !!
    It sounds like you will have better results this time. So glad you can be home too!! I have a friend from Northern Minnesota who has a son who will be starting this same treatment the 27th of February. He has many people praying for him also. He will be radioactive for a month after the treatment so has to isolated, I think at home. It seems like you went through that too. Was that different this time? Praying for your recovery.

  27. Wonderful news Jo, so happy to hear that Mayo Clinic is doing a great job this time around. Your mind plays a big part in your health. Prayers of you and any of the other patients that are suffering.

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