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.