Doctor Update

Monday was doctor day for me.  For those of you who don’t know or need a little refresher, I was diagnosed with follicular thyroid cancer in 2016.  It is slowly coming back.  I have evidence of cancer growing in my lungs but was told it was slow-growing and I shouldn’t worry about it.  If you want to read a full story, you can do that HERE.

I was put on a schedule to see the doctor every six months and that is what I have been doing.  I was assured that this will be ongoing and I will likely be dealing with appointments for the rest of my life.

For the most part, I’m not bothered by it all.  My kids joke that they have trouble keeping up with me so if I have to have cancer, at least it is not dampening my day-to-day life.  I am so thankful for that.  Every six months, it does reek havoc on all our thoughts and worries though, as that’s when I have to go back to Mayo Clinic and see how things are doing.

Today…it was Level 3 parking for me…  Level three parking is very unusual except when you have to be at Mayo Clinic at 7 am for a blood test.  I live two hours away so I was up bright and early hoping for a good news day as I made the drive.

The first bit of news…the waiting room for labs got remodeled.  It was much needed.

It was bloodwork, then a chest CT, back to back.  After that, it was time in the waiting room for me.  Happily, I brought cross stitch with me.  I had about four hours to kill.  It was okay and necessary so the doctor could get the test results back.

I got called back and then waited and waited and waited.  I hate that.  I think it’s partly a “leftover of covid”.  They don’t want people sitting in the waiting room….anyway, first I saw the Fellow and later my doctor.  I really like my doctor so was a little disappointed with the Fellow.  He was great and if he was my original doctor, I would be content with him…but I really like my doctor.  She’s really good at explaining things.

She ended up coming in and was great.  I got pretty much the same story as before…My nodes had grown slightly-as in 2-3 millimeters larger.  I didn’t really appear to have more nodes.  There really was no need to worry.  My bloodwork wasn’t back.  She’d see me in 6 months.

That was what I had wanted in all of this.  I’m too realistic to expect things to be magically gone.  This was the best news I thought I could get.  I happily went on my way thinking this was a great visit.

I ended up doing some shopping…then on the way home as I was chatting with Kalissa on the phone another call came in.  I didn’t recognize the number.  I answered it.  It was my doctor.

Well, that bloodwork that hadn’t been back came back. It wasn’t the best news.  My thyroglobulin tumor marker had more than doubled.  That’s an indication that there is more cancer.  She said that follicular thyroid cancer, the kind I have, likes to throw big numbers.  My numbers are high enough that I’ll need to go back and get a PET scan in three months.

I questioned why wait for three months.  She assured me that although the number had taken a bigger than expected jump, it still wasn’t outrageously high…so the urgency isn’t there.

I tried to wiggle around with her and get the PET scan sooner but she was pretty firm in telling me that to do it now wasn’t necessary and that insurance only lets PET scans happen every six months or so we needed to save our chances to have them done.

The doctor again reassured me that this is normal for a return cancer like mine.  She told me not to worry about it and just live life.

She said I am back to having to go to the doctor every three months.  That part, I’m not thrilled about.  I was liking the every six months mode.  It meant not being bothered with doctor appointments as often.

She also said they are going to readjust my thyriod replacement meds.  I am getting too much and that’s throwing me into hyperthyroidism.  In the end, I was glad to learn about that as I’ve been having symptoms, but didn’t know that my thyroid meds were the reason.  It’s great to know that some of the symptoms I’ve been having can easily be corrected with just a change in meds.

So…that’s my doctor news.  It’s the best…it’s not the worst.  I’m content with it and not overly worried.  I’ll  report back in 3 months.

32 thoughts on “Doctor Update”

  1. Christina Coat

    Just to say it’s not the best of neWS but at least it’s ” not get back asap” Will keep you in my prayers , God Bless xx

  2. Glad you’ve got your cross-stitch whilst waiting at the hospital, it’s looking lovely! The three months should pass by in a blur, what with your grandchildren, childcare, gardening, quilting and stitching :)

  3. I’m sorry the numbers are once again high and your back to the doctors more often. Your cross stitch is really coming along, I look forward to seeing it completed.

  4. Thinking of you Jo and praying that the PET scan goes well in three months. I so appreciate you sharing your journey and being open. It’s so needful for cancer patients! Three months to celebrate summer with family, friends, gardening, sewing – it will pass quickly and I can’t wait to see the progress on your quilts! Blessings to you ❤️

  5. Thank you for the update. All of us at your blog have been thinking about and praying for you.
    Your life sounds like a Dickens novel – It was the best of times…and the not so best…(my words of course). We’ll be keeping you in prayer – enjoy your summer with family and friends, sewing time etc. And we’ll be here with whatever comes next.
    Love and prayers

  6. Thanks for the update. There’s a lot of energy going into prayers for you from so many blog readers! We love you even though we’ve never met in person! Thank you for being so open about your journey through this long trial. Enjoy your family and all your other activities and the three months will fly by.

  7. We’re right there with you Jo! I appreciate you are your own health advocate. That’s what it takes.

  8. Joy in NW Iowa

    Thanks for the update! Those cancer rechecks are always so stressful. We know so do understand your relief and bummer … then to get that call! Thoughts and prayers. Do you ever go to Chesters for lunch? They have an awesome salmon salad! Yum! Love your crossstitch!

  9. Sitting in Radiology waiting for my needle bit of my thyroid. I know the feeling. Been here done that. Can’t we just take it out???

  10. Keeping you in my prayers. I know the feeling –that waiting to hear what exactly that lab work said to the Doctors! And boy, that picture of waiting room looks very familiar, what I could see. The thoughts we don’t always choose to “let out” can be very stressful, but am thankful you have such a supportive family, as well as friends and fans, Thank heaven, for the grandkids and childcare kids that help keep your mind occupied! Healing Prayers!

  11. I love the Mayo Clinic and we usually stay in our RV for about 3-4 days. I love the Salvation Army store and the Greek restaurant in town. I’m glad you are not too bothered by the medical report, next time will be better. Life is too short to let you this news bring you down, you have all those grandchildren to be with.

  12. Great to have the best of news. I so admire your outlook on your health and this precious life time you have. A friend of mine always said ‘we are not promised tomorrow’. Hugs to you :-)

  13. Gayle Shumaker

    Jo glad to hear your best of news. Living with a serious medical condition can cause some people to live with a pessimistic view of life. I know I chose to be happy and live as normal of a life as possible, I’m happy you share my philosophy. Hugs to you.

  14. Diana in Des Moines

    So sorry your numbers have increased. Sounds like you have a great Dr. My husband had surgery at Mayo 34 years ago and I also waited with a cross stitch sampler. Great way to pass the time and keep your mind occupied. Prayers for Patience as you wait.

  15. Glad you got some time to cross stitch, even if not the best reason for it. I like your attitude about all of it. Positive thoughts can go a long way.

    Meanwhile, good thoughts and prayers continue until the next update.

  16. Thank you for the update. I am not sure I could be as public as you are. The whole thing has to be very hard. I had a sudden heart attack 3 years ago and almost did not make it, except for prayer and volts of electricity. Every day is precious. I hate waiting rooms, they are all the same.

  17. Dear Jo,
    First time commenter.
    All I can say to you is that I’m sending you my best wishes from downunder.
    I love your blog. Your family and quilting and even the pantry clean out posts .
    It looks like you have a wonderful loving family which is such a blessing.
    You look such a nice person. Keep doing the things that bring you joy.
    Best wishes Janine.

  18. So sorry for the more frequent tests. I had Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, follicular type, which was in the thyroid, both sides of the neck and chest before I was diagnosed. That was in 2005 and I am in remission due in part to Rituxcimab, a monoclonal antibody (and chemo). Is that in your future? Wonderful drug. Positive attitude and prayers helped. And I still get nervous when I have to go for bloodwork. Sounds like you have great doctors.

  19. I so admire the positive attitude you have, such a great example for those battling chronic diseases. Prayer for comfort, sustaining your health.

  20. I just read your story and want to tell you that I will be keeping you in my thoughts and prayers. I have had Hashimoto’s thyroiditis for years and am due for my ultra-sound in a couple of weeks. My nodes have grown a bit but they’re watching them closely. I know how hard it is to have to “wait and see”. I have many other health issues going on as well. My recently fired (by me) GP took me off of a medication I’d taken for years but took me off too quickly and it threw me into Hyperthyroidism. I’d been hypo which was so much easier to manage. Now I’m on a changed dose of thyroid meds too trying to get things straightened out. It didn’t help that the one thyroid med that was helping me so much was recalled. You may have gone through that too. Hang in there the best you can. It sounds like you have a great family to help you. Hugs and prayers!!

  21. Jill Rutter Schwieger

    Well, I’ve only just “discovered” you this evening, Jo, and already I feel as if you are my friend. I’ve so very much enjoyed browsing through your quilt patterns, etc! What a beautiful variety of projects you’ve created. Thank you for sharing them! I’m sorry to read about your health issues, and I’ve already been to prayer for you. I’ve asked God to hold you close and to let you feel His love and His presence. I plan to be here again, so I’ll be checking in on you! Blessings…..Jill

  22. It’s always good and bad. I wish it was only good for you so your mind wouldn’t have that tiny reminder in it. You are always in my prayers. Those babies need you and so do the rest of us for inspiration.

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