I went to the doctor for an MRI on Thursday and then back on Friday for a doctor’s appointment and what I hoped would be a plan. For those of you new here, in 2015 I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. I had surgery and treatment in 2016. Slowly it started coming back. I was on a watch-and-wait plan. In the fall of 2021, it was back and ugly and in my lungs. In January of 2022, we treated it using a redifferentiation protocol and I was doing really well until August of this year. Again, cancer was back only this time it was now in my spine. Specifically my L1 and L5 vertebrae. Since early August I’ve been back and forth to the doctor, fighting insurance and fighting to get timely appointments. It’s been not so fun but okay.
Thursday I went to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, and had a spine MRI. It was not a fun process. I did get some stitching time in though.
I have never “been in the box” (scanner) so long. I’ve had 45 minute scans…no problem but this was 2 hours. I was not a fan. No fun at all. If you’ve had an MRI, you know how annoying the beeping and buzzers are. After 75 minutes they took me out and added contrast then back in I went for 35 more minutes. The whole process took two hours…but hey, I’m not going to let that get me down and I’m going to really try not to think about it until I have to do it again as I’m sure this will be a test that I’ll have to repeat.
On both days I parked in Graham on 4th level. Parking is always an issue at Mayo. I religiously took a picture of where I parked but didn’t on Friday because I was at the same spot as the previous day. HA!
On Friday morning Izzy had a grooming appointment so I took her and stayed at work for an hour to help out. Then Kalissa, my daughter met me there and we took off to Rochester. We got there early…We were going to a new place and weren’t sure just where so we left 15 minutes sooner than we normally would.
Once I got to the desk the gal said something about the appointment–s, as in plural, that I had today. What? No. I only had one appointment. She said no. I had two in the afternoon as well. Hmm. I didn’t know what that was about and asked. She said the doctor had just made them. Okay. Then the thought went through my head that maybe this was all bad and they were going to get me through to treatment right away. Then I looked and saw that one was listed as a spine MRI. WHAT? I just had one yesterday. The receptionist assured me that we’d keep the appointments as we could always cancel them.
We were called back for the appointment ON TIME!! To date, this has never happened at Mayo.
We waited in the office room for about five minutes and a PA arrived. WHAT?? This has never happened.
Already Kalissa and I were impressed with this new doctor and his team. The PA started talking to us and explaining everything and then the doctor himself came in. We LOVED them both. We have never felt so good at any appointments to date.
It was so good that Kalissa and I both before he left, told him how impressed we were…how listened to we felt…and how optimist we felt.
So, here’s the news. I do have lesions on L1 and L5. No other places at this point. They are concerning but not life-changing. They are totally treatmentable and my prognosis is that they will get better with this treatment. In fact, I have a 90% chance of everything going smoothly and this treatment will kill the cancer in my spine. When I told this to Buck, my son, I laughed and said, “But you know, I am pretty good at beating the odds”. So I’m very hopeful.
So what’s my treatment? One big dose of radiation on October 10th and that’s it. I am elated!! I can do that. It’s totally do-able.
There is prep work before that and that is what my new appointments were about.
For my first appointment, they took me back and I laid on a board and they put this shrink wrap kind of stuff around me…Kalissa and I jokingly called it a body bag and then they sucked all of the air out of it. I then conformed to my body shape. When I go back for the radiation, I will lay on that same conformed shape and that will hold me in place so I can get zapped. I had a CT scan and then yet another MRI. The MRI was the second appointment and was really more or less a test of the fake radiation making sure it was targeted correctly.
People…this is all do-able. I do have some follow-up appointments later in October and again in November but I’m feeling really good about this.
As for side effects…
-redness and tenderness at the site
He says other than the cancer, I’m healthy and in good shape so he doesn’t forsee even those to be terrible. We’ll see. Even if they are bad, I’m okay with that. It’s a much easier treatment than most cancer patients endure…and fingers crossed…it’s 90% successful in killing it. YAHOO!!
While talking with the doctor, Kalissa and I both complimented the doctor on his team. We told him previously we haven’t felt awesome about my care while at Mayo. He apologized for that and thanked us for the compliment. It felt so good to feel like he truly cared about me and wanted the best for me. He even apologized that I would have to wait until October 10th for this treatment. Next week he’d be going to California for the work conference. He said he normally takes care of cases like mine right away. WOW! What a difference a good doctor can make!!
So…all is well on the cancer front.
A HUGE thanks to the blog readers who sent me a Chick-fil-A gift card. Kalissa and I used that today (YUM! It hit the spot. We even treated ourselves to shakes with our meal)…and thanks for the gas gift card that was sent by another blog reader. I so appreciate all of the support. We’re kicking this cancer to the curb (this time)
The doctor did say that this could be a recurring thing and cancer could flair somewhere else. I’m okay with that…I’m just happy to know that this will likely buy me a few more years.