Doctor Day: An Update

Yesterday was Doctor day…Today it’s back to childcare.  I swear, I really don’t think of my whole thyroid cancer much at all until I’m in the car heading towards Lacrosse where my doctor is.

Today, back at childcare, I’m exactly that.  Back at childcare and not thinking of the results from yesterday much.  It’s really the only way I can live life with the looming return of cancer.

The drive over was nice.  The trees were so pretty.

Once to the hospital yesterday, my first stop of the day was to say Hi to Mary Jo, my blog reader friend, who works at the library in the hospital.  She’s super sweet and has been so kind to both Kramer and I.  She says she put in for retirement…it’s a ways out but I’m going to miss her when she’s gone.  I love seeing a smiling face when I come.

Then it was on to get a CT neck scan.  They were trying to find out if the lymph node behind my trachea was growing or not.  Right now, it’s the spot they are suspicious that the cancer might be hiding.

I’ve had plenty of CT scans before but not one with contrast.  That means they start an IV and put contrast in you so they can see better.  Well before she put the contrast in she said that these three things often happen:
-you taste something funny
-you feel warm all over
-you feel like you have to pee

I went in the machine in and out a couple times.  I was thinking look at me.  I had none of the side effects.  Well then she actually put it in.  I thought she already had.  WOW.  Was she ever accurate on the side effects.  I was sure I was peeing my pants.

From there I went to the lobby to wait for the girls.  They had gone and done an errand while I was getting the CT scan done.  From there to the cafeteria to eat…


See Georgia has her quilt that I made her with.  Someone walking by commented on it and I ended up giving her a business card.  How fun.

…and then we met Sally, another blog reader.  She had a bunch of goodies to pass along to me.  We had intended to meet another time but Iowa weather didn’t cooperate so this day we met.  How FUN!!  I’ll have to tell you more about what Sally brought in another blog post.

After that, it was time to see my doctor.  Here’s what we found out…Two doctors are consulting on my case- one is a endocrinologist- the other specializes in neck/ENT surgery.  I’m told my case is “challenging”.  I was actually told that a couple of times.

That lymph node behind my trachea has grown.  It was 7mm.  It is now 13mm.  Another lymph node in my neck has grown as well.  The thought is that it one or both are cancerous.

The problem…it’s deep in my neck, actually about the middle of my neck.  They have tried and tried to do ultrasound guided needle biopsy on it but they are unable.  My surgeon is a little hesitant and wants to make absolutely sure it’s cancerous before removing it as it is a risky surgery…but in the past, they’ve not been able to get to it.  A new needle biopsy guy who studied at John Hopkins is on board now.  He, in the past, has done CT guided needle biopsies.  Well..my doctors are going to talk to him and see if he thinks he can do it.  If not, I’m being sent back to Mayo Clinic in Rochester.

If this is cancerous I’ll be having surgery.  There’s a good chance that might be at Mayo.  There’s a problem with all of that.  My insurance isn’t approved for Mayo.  UGH.  My doctor said not to worry about that and she thought she would get that through and the insurance would cover.

The reason I’d be sent to Mayo is because of the risk.  The nerve that works with the vocal chord is right next to the troublesome node.  There’s a risk my voice could be damaged in the surgery. There’s a risk I could end up with no voice.  Another danger with it…they cut me open, blood pools and in that blood they need to find a 13mm blob.  I can’t imagine doing that.  But the best chance of getting this cancer (if it is cancer) gone, is to have it surgically removed.

If we get this far, then, after I heal, it will be time to go on the low-iodine diet and get the radioactive iodine treatment.

There is a chance that all of this could come back as non-cancerous too.  If that happens, we are back to testing of all sorts to try to figure out where the cancer is.  My tumor marker is high enough that we know there is cancer…it’s still a matter of where it is.

Talking to Buck on the phone last night he said, “Mom, you sound a little sad.  I’m more worried about you than the news”.  It’s true.  I did feel a little sad.  I’m tired of it all.  I’m back to the not knowing.  I can’t hide in my home and pretend I’m normal.  I’m back to taking days off of work with no enjoyment out of it.  I’m back to waiting for test results.  I’m back to worrying about the weather and getting to appointments.  I’m back to waiting for phone calls and email and messages.  Back to filling the gas tank on the truck to make the trips back and forth.  I’m back to being dependent on others to help me…I’m so terrible about it all.  If someone told me this is the plan and I just had to do it, all of it would be so much easier.

But there was good news too.  Karl treated me to supper.

It was a Gigantic pork tenderloin sandwich!!  It was so good.  It was nice to come home and not have to cook.  So the day ended good.  THANKS Karl.

As always, I’ll let you know more when I know more on the cancer front.  In the meantime, prayers and wishes for perseverance are much appreciated.

35 thoughts on “Doctor Day: An Update

  1. june

    Prayers for the drs who will treat you to be guided by The Lord. That wisdom will prevail in all they set forth to do. You’re very brave and your way too kind to be dealing with this. But “C” doesn’t care about how it ruins ones life. Praying that Gods hand will touch you and even the Drs will be amazed by your recovery. Sending hugs and prayers.

  2. Lisa

    I pray for you and yours every day Jo. I’m so sorry you are going through this. I know nothing I can say can alleviate any of this stress or pain but know that I’m thinking of and praying for you every day during my morning prayers. Sending you love from California

  3. Candi

    Jo, I wish there were words of comfort but I know there are none. It’s not the cancer that is the worry wart it’s the unknown and the hurry up and wait. My words of wisdom from experience is to not worry about it. Worry won’t change the outcome. Live every day to the fullest and do what you want. Do what brings you joy. Let others help if you can. Even the simple things like Karl buying you supper. Scream if that is what you feel like. Cry and let the tears wash over you. Know that you aren’t in this journey alone. You have a vast universe out here rooting for you and supporting you.
    Love, hugs and prayers coming your way.

  4. Cindy F

    I wish there were things I could say to make you feel better but I understand your thoughts on the entirety of everything happening, what needs to happen, the logistics, the weather, etc, etc. But….there is a quasi plan in place even though it’s not firmed up yet. The insurance part will get settled. Most high level hospitals are used to working with other insurance companies to get approval. The weather, well…can’t control that but spring is coming. You have an army of people out there who would be happy to help you. You are such a blessing to people, especially in your community and this may be an opportunity for them to receive blessings in helping you. We, who can’t be there in person to help, will be holding you up in prayer.

  5. Brenda Fiedler

    Jo,
    You and your family are always in my morning and evening prayers. You have this. Just keep doing what you are doing and enjoying life the best you can. Let others help you and enjoy the time with them. I send big hugs and love from South Carolina.

  6. Debbie B

    Hugs and prayers for you and the family. The unknown is awful and I feel so bad that you have to go through this. I wish I was closer so I could pitch in to make things easier for you. Keep up the great attitude. You wear it well. Hugs!!!

  7. DENISE BRIESE

    Jo Your positive outlook and your staying busy and never stopping…keep moving forward. These things will get you through and all will be well. Its those everyday minutes of joy that will keep the positive vibes flowing through you! Be well my friend.

  8. Susan V

    Jo, I am wishing you the best of luck with your health. I used to work for Mayo Clinic and I know that’s the place to be when your local physicians can’t do the extraordinary for you. Good to know that you have that option.

  9. Mary Ann Mettler

    One step at a time. Praying for guidance for the Doctors too. It sounds like a challenge all around. Sending love to you and appreciate your perseverance and also peace.

  10. Cheryl

    I find myself waiting on your news like a relative or someone close that I know. I mention your blog a lot to friends. Your news is important to us and we (your readers) look for your column twice a day. I’m sure I could never understand what you are going through, but know there are readers who support you and think of you every day. Be Kramer Strong! And know you are cared about every day!

  11. Donna

    Dearest Jo… I know waiting is the hardest part. I know that it’s incredibly frustrating that you go in and there are no answers. Just more questions, tests, etc. But please know that through it all, we are praying for you, for your spirits to remain high, for the doctors and nurses who will be treating you. We’re fighting hard for you!
    Love and prayers

  12. Victoria Anderson

    How do i send you cloth? I believe in what you do and have lots of nice cottons to send. I just have to have the address. My thoughts and prayers are with you in your path. Been there done that, several times over and i am still going strong. Seeing and giving quilts away keeps me going, truly.

  13. The Joyful Quilter

    Oh, Jo!! My heart hurts for you. The waiting and wondering is the absolute worst!! (Knowing sometimes isn’t much better, but oh, the waiting.) Hopefully, quiting and the kids can distract you and ear your frustration!

  14. Phyllis Dayhoff

    Praying for you. Not having answers is worst then knowing. Take one day at a time. You have a wonderful family that will help you.

  15. Karen P

    Know that you are in my prayers each and every day. Positive thoughts that they will find out just where that cancer is hiding and eradicate it.

  16. Kaylee Stewart

    Your in my thoughts and prayers. I hope your journey gets better. And thats one heck of a burger :) looks delicious

  17. Marie

    My thoughts and prayers are with you during this journey. I understand your frustration, I hate waiting no matter what it is but waiting for test results has to be the worse. You are the bravest person I know you will get through this.

  18. Janet R

    You’re always in my prayers, but I’ll add prayers for surgery if that happens. I pray for answers, for the medical staff, etc. I have no words to fix it or make it better. Just know you are in my thoughts and prayers.

    Sending love and hugs.

  19. Gloria Gleason

    Oh, my Jo! Prayers, good thoughts, and all the comments from our blog friends & family make for a congregation of strength, courage, comfort, healing, and power from our Great Physician.
    As you feel the love & support just smile and keep on! You are great!
    Love & prayers, Gloria. from NE, CO, & TX

  20. Sandra Davidson

    Jo I set and prayed for you when I finished reading all about it. I am so sorry that you have gone through so much in the last two years. Please keep strong and we your readers and friends will pray for you always. You are such a sweet wonderful person just hand onto all of those wonderful grand babies you have and more to come. Hugs and Blessings from your friend Sandra from Canada

  21. Shirley

    Praying that you have some answers soon about your cancer. I am reminded of a line from the the hymn I Know Who Holds My Hand – Many things about tomorrow I don’t seem to understand but I know who holds tomorrow and I know who holds my hand. May God bless you!

  22. Felicia Hamlin

    Jo, know that I pray for you and baby Gannon every night. That has to be tough, not to know. However, remember that “His eye is on the sparrow “. Let others help you, there is nothing wrong in accepting help.. Sending prayers and hugs.

  23. Kim LeMere

    I wish there was something we could do to make this all go away for you. Prayers Jo and thank you to Karl for making the day end on a happy note.

  24. Nancy A

    You have every reason to be tired of it all. You have been through a lot already. I will add you to my prayer list. I will share a blessing we have had. My husband had stage 3 very aggressive prostate cancer about 3 years. He had the surgery, but the cancer had escaped, so he went through radiation and hormone treatment. Now he has a blood test every 6 months. He had a blood test yesterday, so I hope you will rejoice with me that he is still cancer free at this time.

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