Thyroid Cancer Update

Thursday was my day to go to the doctor and get a check on my thyroid cancer.

We live about two hours from Rochester…parking can sometimes take a bit of time…and I had to stop in Spring Valley so I was up and driving by 6:45 am.

I was hoping to be in Spring Valley at 8 am.  I made perfect timing.  Seriously perfect.  I had a box of goodies that came from blog readers that I was stopping off at the home of a new charity quilter, Julie.  I saw from another friend that she was doing charity quilting and I contacted her and asked if she could use some of the goodies you all send.  She was thrilled!

After stopping at her house, I was quickly back on the road.  My timing to get to the doctor was right on too.  I’ve been here enough now and am being sent to the same places that everything is getting a little easier for me to navigate.

Our daughter, Kelli, was a little concerned and bothered that I was going alone.  I totally wasn’t.  When I was new at this thyroid cancer thing, and when I had a doctor with a real accent when speaking, I needed someone there.  Nowadays, I actually prefer to go by myself.  It makes it seem more every day.  When the whole entourage’ is with, it seems more serious.

First up was blood work.  No problem.

Then I was off to get a CT chest scan done.  I was able to get in a few stitches before I was called back.  This was my view…In all seriousness, doctor appointments are so much better when I have something to do with my hands.  This was perfect.  I was working on the star line across the piece.

I went in for my chest CT and decided as I was told to lay down that I was going to time how long the scan took.  Well by then I didn’t have my phone so couldn’t check the time.  Darn.

So, this is what I did.  I sang “Oh Holy Night” in my head…and that’s how long the scan took.  The scan is super fast and isn’t invasive at all.  There is no real prep to it.  I say this I want you all to understand how easy a chest CT scan is.  This is done to detect lung cancer…this is the same test that discovered my husband, Kramer’s, lung cancer.  (If you’ve been a smoker please request to get one done!!)  It’s so easy. (sorry about the soap box moment there)

From there I was free for two hours before I was to see my doctor.  I ended up going to Aldi’s to get groceries…and to Chick-fil-A for lunch.  Every time I go to Mayo Clinic for appointments I stop at Chick-fil-A.  My niece Jody, who died from breast cancer used to stop there regularly after her cancer treatments.  It’s silly but stopping there makes me feel like she’s going with me.

So back to the Clinic to find parking.  My normal ramp was full so onto the next ramp which meant a longer walk but I had time.  I always take a picture of my parking level when I park on a ramp.

I was checked in on time.   I was called back quickly…but then I had a 40-minute wait in the doctor’s office.  When she did come, she saw that I was cross-stitching and we had a conversation about cross-stitch.  (Did I tell you how much I love my new doctor??)

Here’s what I found out.

She was okay with me starting limited childcare.  She still wanted me to be cautious and slow with it though.  She told me I should get the COVID shot as soon as it was available.

Then onto my cancer stuff…

My cancer is still slowly growing.  One nodule was slightly bigger but not concerning.  One had disappeared and one appeared.  She said nothing of it was worrisome.  Yes, we need to monitor it but we wouldn’t be doing anything at this point.

I questioned the tests that I had done before but she didn’t do them this time.  She explained to me that everyone who had worked with me before was treating me like a regular thyroid cancer patient.  I have Follicular thyroid cancer.  85% of thyroid cancer patients have Pappilary Thyroid cancer.  There are two other types of thyroid cancer too.  Mine is the second most popular but it’s a different type and reacts differently.

Papillary, the most common, spreads in the neck area.  So these patients have needle biopsies and neck ultrasounds.

Follicular cancer, my type, spreads to the lungs and possibly the bones.

So, it doesn’t make sense for me to have needle biopsies in the neck and neck ultrasounds like I was previously having.

It makes sense for me to have chest CT scans and possible PET scans.

She said with 85% of the thyroid cancer patients being Pappillary, doing the “wrong” or extra tests can often happen.

She told me again and again that this cancer is slow-growing.  She said we might treat it in five years…maybe 10 years….maybe sooner.  She also said that this next treatment is much more serious.  It isn’t as simple as the last radioactive iodine treatment.  It would involve a hospital stay.  She talked to me more about that but it’s nothing we need to worry about now.  We’ll worry about that when the time comes.

One thing that she told me was that my cancer really isn’t curable.  It’s treatable and I can live quite a few more years with it but it will never really ever completely go away.  I know some of you are thinking, oh no, this is tragic.  I don’t look at it that way at all.  I’m okay with this.  I know now.  I can deal with this as long as I know.  I’ve lived a pretty good life these last few years…and I can live more the same way.

She said sometimes people with the same condition I have, walk around for a few years with medium-sized nodes before they even treat them.  She told me again and again that each case is uniquely different…but for now she said go home and do the things you love to do.  She said, “Go home and cross-stitch”.

Well by golly.  I think that’s the best news I’ve had from a doctor in some time.  I love this…what doctor ever prescribes cross-stitch??

So with that, she said she’d see me in six months.  In the meantime, I am supposed to live life!  I think I can do that!!  I think I’m going to take her cross-stitch prescription too.

66 thoughts on “Thyroid Cancer Update”

  1. I like your doctor too! So happy you got a good report even though it does have a dark side. Love your doctor’s orders, GO CROSSS STITCH!

  2. Great news, that it can be controlled is wonderful. I’m sure it takes a lot of stress off you and your family. Slow growing is also a blessing. Now you can look forward to them new grand babies coming maybe starting a few day care kids again. Then you still Carver, Georgia and Gannon close to keep you on your toes. Some good news in this 2020 year for a change.
    Merry Christmas Jo to you and your family!

  3. Susan the Farm Quilter

    That is wonderful news!! No more biopsies and iodine treatments (I know how you hate the food restrictions)!! Your doctor is fabulous to prescribe cross-stitching – nothing like being told to do what you enjoy! Live every day to the fullest (rather like you already do), enjoy your kids, grandkids and “part-time” kids, play with fabric, thread and floss!! Merry Christmas to your whole family!!

  4. God Bless! SO good to have a Dr you can talk to who explains it well and not just rush you off and do what all the others do. Great to have a plan and what to expect. Merry Christmas Jo, to you and yours!!

  5. Happy Holidays, Jo! Spending the next 6 months living life the way that brings you joy sounds like a prescription for us all. Thanks for the reminder to live each moment.

  6. I love your blog. I wanted to let you know that in February 2005 I was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins follicular Lymphoma of the neck, thyroid, and mediastinum. I found a nodule in my neck in Sept 2004 and was treated for a goiter before I was diagnosed. I received chemo and Rituxcin, a monoclonal antibody, and, almost 16 years later, I am still kicking! Stay positive and enjoy your cross-stitching!!

  7. You will be like the Tim McGraw song Live Life Like You Were Dying. I love your attitude and hope that you can have many more years. A positive attitude seems to keep people going way past what the doctors thought would happen. Prayers for you.

  8. It is so comforting to have a good Dr. and congratulations. Love your attitude and outlook on life. Have a Blessed weekend.

  9. Wow – so impressed with this doctor. Wish all of them could be like this.
    I love your attitude – you are an amazing woman!
    Love and prayers

  10. Good news from your Mayo Clinic doctor and that you will be monitored. My endocrinologist at Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville sounds just like your doctor. Caring and supportive for thyroid issues/cancer. The medical information and treatment is targeted for your specific medical condition. Much better than so many unnecessary tests and procedures.
    Stay healthy, enjoy each and ever moment in life.

  11. Oh Jo ! This is such good news. Treatable is so much more encouraging than it could have been! Being told to go home and enjoy life, do the things you want to do is great news! So happy for you and what a wonderful Christmas gift.

  12. Thanks for the update! I like your doctor! You got such good information! I hope things just continue to take this slow moving oath and you won’t need treatment for those 10 years she talked about!

  13. Jo,
    Those are doctor orders I know you can follow! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your family! Your great attitude is the best medicine you can take!!

  14. It’s so good to hear the doctor’s explanation and that you can enjoy living your life. I love your ritual of Chick Fil A, I have some too now that I’m flying solo as a widow. They all sound like good prescriptions.

  15. Great news on your cancer update, and the “prescription to cross-stitch” makes me smile. My father had a lot of health issues and loved to travel. He would always ask the Dr. for a prescription for a vacation or plane ticket! Last year I had a minor procedure on a finger and was knitting while waiting to be taken to surgery. The surgeon purposely changed the type of dressing usually used after such procedure so I could still knit. I love a good Dr. and sounds like you found one,

  16. In my previous comment, I forgot to add that it was great to meet up with one of your new charity quilters. It is always good to meet up with fellow quilters and share our love of quilting.

  17. Great News! Prayers are a wonderful thing-I’m so glad we’ve had them aimed in your direction! Let’s keep up the good work and take your perscription!! Hugs,

  18. I suppose this could sound cruel, but your cancer news is good news. It could have been so much worse! I understand your attitude. Enjoy your life!

  19. That is great news, Jo. Just wanted you to know that I pray for you every morning when I have my devotions. It may not ever go away, but God could also heal you, too. Enjoy for Christmas with your family, and keep cross stitching!!

  20. Great news Jo. I couldn’t miss noticing that you said your doctor was “she”. It’s great to hear of a woman being blessed with skills to become a physician. From what it sounds she’s a talented one as well. With God, your family, your doctor and all of us quilts friends you are in caring hands. Merry Christmas!

  21. Jo I absolutely love that you are sharing all of this with everyone online!!!! So many people are sure cancer always causes death but most of the time it doesn’t. It’s important to follow the doctors advice if a person wants to live as long as possible without complications. A big part of that is making the best choices that cause a person to have positive thoughts and less stress. Writing and sharing feels can also be therapeutic for the person sharing the story.

  22. That is great news. Please continue to take care of yourself and follow the doctors orders. Have a blessed holiday with your family. Ginny

  23. I’ve been saying all year we should live our lives. This is good news Jo. Sounds like a great doctor! Its interesting about the different types of thyroid cancer! Did not know that. Like prostate cancer in men, it grows slowly. Enjoy your holiday and your grandkids and family!

  24. Happy to hear your good news, Jo.
    And I love any doctor who can be fun and light and not always serious, especially when talking about serious things.
    A few years ago, when my husband was in the DRs office discussing an upcoming surgery and the recuperation period at home, he wrote out several prescriptions to be filled when he left the hospital, then wrote another and handed it to me. It said: “One glass of wine, red or white, as needed, for irritability. (His, not yours!)” He was right on!

  25. Good news that no treatment is needed for awhile. Happy you are able to start up day care.
    That will certainly keep you busy. :>) Sounds like you have a great doctor at Mayo.
    I am happy to hear there is a Chick-Fil-A in Rochester. My sister and brother-in-law who don’t usually eat fast food raved about the Chick-Fil-A on their vacation in Florida. It might be time for a road trip – if the weather will cooperate. How are you liking the new sewing room – loved the pictures and the way you setup the center island.

  26. So happy for you that you found a sensible doctor. And one who knows what she is talking about. You now have an answer and a plan so enjoy life to the fullest.

  27. Such a caring doctor with a wonderful prescription! And knowing more about your cancer is great news – knowing is better than our scary imagination. I love your attitude! Please take care of yourself – you are loved by so many of us!

  28. Great news! When I went to the Mayo I always stopped in to eat at the Greek restaurant and some of the thrift stores. Sure made my stay there so much better. I believe our attitudes make such a difference in how we live our lives. Go on and enjoy living.

  29. What great news! And I love the way your Dr. speaks to you. She’s a keeper! You are already living the way she suggested you to live, so easy peasy. Keep up the good work and know I love following your journey. Hugs!!!

  30. I’m so happy for your good news and thankful they can distinguish different types of treatment. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

  31. Good news! I know a lot of people want their cancer cured but knowing it’s treatable is good too. My father had multiple myeloma and it progressed very slowly, so slowly that he never had to have treatments for it. He ended up dying of something else which is what his doctor told me would likely happen on the last visit he had. He died at age 84….an age he thought he’d never see. Sounds like you finally found the right doctor!

  32. So happy that your doctor news was good. Your recently finished cross stitch piece was awesome and your current piece is looking like it will be the same. You are giving me the urge to cross stitch again. Instead if I’m going to do hand workI should finish a wool quilt that was a BOM from a few years ago. Jo, I wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year.

  33. All I can offer is hugs. It sounds like you have the rest covered. I enjoy reading your blog. You have shown strength through some pretty rough times. I hope the coming year is filled with joy.

  34. Sounds like the best possible not-perfect news for you today. Yea for a wonderful prescription for life! I love your Dr too. :-)

    Wishing you an amazing fabulous Friday with Grandkids and your select other childcare kiddos.

  35. Great news, do what you like to do. Make every day count. Wishing you and yours a Very Merry Christmas and a Safe and Happy New Year.

  36. This is wonderful news! I really like your doctor and it sounds like she is patient and is great at explaining things. I never knew there were different kinds of thyroid cancer. Love your prescription – live life doing what you love and go cross stitch! Best prescription ever. Enjoy you kids and grandkids Jo – you are loved and many healing thoughts are sent your way by your readers every day.

  37. Such need thank. God for your Doctor who really checks things out. Good to know the facts about thyroids. So love your Dr.’s prescription. May all your family have a blessed Merry Christmas.
    Praying will continue.

  38. I’m so glad you have such a good connection with your doctor and her prescriptions sounds easy enough to swallow. Cross stitch and live life! Wonderful news for sure. Merry Christmas Jo

  39. Jo, I am so glad to hear of your almost-good prognosis and the doctor’s prescription. I’m an ex-smoker and about five years after quitting a spot was found on one lung after an x-ray during an emergency room visit. For the past five years, every six months, I had a CT scan done. It was a scary time, not knowing what would show up in each scan. This past May I would have had another, but with COVID-19 my pulmonary doctor said it was OK to pass on it because the spot had not shown up in the last scan. She’ll revisit it early next year. (You’re correct in saying there’s nothing to the scan — probably under ten minutes!)

    Thanks for your great blog, which I thoroughly enjoy, including your free patterns and family stories.

    1. Evie. Thanks so much for your support of saying the scan is no big deal. Sometimes people see medical shows and they talk about scans like they are a big deal and really aren’t. I want people to know it’s okay to be proactive about their health! Best wishes for more clean scans!!

  40. Jo, I’m so happy the news is good. As you’ve said, we can live for a long time with conditions that simply need monitoring. When it gets to the treatment stage, then you’ll have decisions to make. Right now, living life, cross stitching, and quilting sounds great!

    CT and MRIs aren’t bad at all. I’ve had each done for my back and foot issues. For my back, the worst part is laying on my back because that hurts.
    Otherwise, the test is pretty easy.

    Love and hugs

  41. Jo, I love your positive attitude. You have been an encouragement to me as I dealt with an aggressive breast cancer and papillary thyroid cancer this year. Bless you!
    I see there is another Maureen, so I’m adding my initials to my name.
    May your family have a wonderfully happy and blessed Christmas!

  42. Sending prayers. Sounds like your Dr is grand! Your cross stitching is absolutely beautiful! Enjoy the holidays! ❤ You are super strong. (And talented :-))

  43. That’s good news in that nothing needs to be done for a good long time. My prayers are that it will a very long time!

    Cross stitch is excellent prescription! Enjoy it often! I keep thinking I will get into it again. Maybe I will try linen this go round. I only used Aida cloth in the 80’s as it was most affordable and very easy to find.

  44. YAY! That’s good news in that nothing needs to be done for a good long time. My prayers are that it will a very long time!

    Cross stitch is excellent prescription! Enjoy it often! I keep thinking I will get into it again. Maybe I will try linen this go round. I only used Aida cloth in the 80’s as it was most affordable and very easy to find.

  45. I like how your doc talks to you. Calm, clear, and real. I feel the same about how you talk to us. Calm, clear, and real. You convey that we all have challenges and we need to make the best of life. I pray for your cancer to continue at a slow pace and not take over your life. Blessings to you at Christmas and always. Thanks for being you.

  46. I am so glad you changed doctors! This one actually listens to you and discusses the whole situation with you. I am sorry it isn’t curable but glad it is treatable. Her advise seems right on — enjoy life!

  47. I am so happy you have a wonderful doctor to guide you on your journey. I am a breast cancer survivor and know how important a supportive doctor is. Blessings to you. Have a wonderful 2021.

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