What’s New at the Doctor

I had my doctor’s check-up this week in fact, I just got home.

If you’re a regular blog reader you know I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer back in December of 2015.  I had surgery to remove my thyroid in 2016 and was treated with Radioactive Iodine.

Long story short, the treatment didn’t work.  Over the last few years, the cancer has been gradually growing but we didn’t know where it was.  Test after test, scan after scan, the cancer grew but we didn’t know for sure where it was so we couldn’t try treating it again.   Finally, in the fall of 2021, they figured out that the cancer had moved to my lungs.

The only problem was that my body doesn’t accept the treatment.  So I went through a new procedure to redifferentiate the cancer cells in hopes that they would destabilize enough to accept radioactive iodine as that is the only way to treat thyroid cancer…even thyroid cancer that has moved to the lungs.

It’s a year later and now it’s time for the big test to see if worked.

I was supposed to go for the tests on Thursday and see the doctor on Friday.  The weather threw a wrench into that.  I ended up changing my appointments.  I had the tests on Wednesday instead.

Parking was not the best at all.  I hoped 7 was a lucky number.

I had a blood draw and then it was off to get a CT scan.  Typically I’ve had them without contrast but this time it was with contrast so it took a little bit longer.

Even with the IV in, I was able to cross-stitch.  I didn’t get a lot done but enough to mark the occasion and give this project a start.  See??
This is the project, I picked so I would have something to do fill-in work on as I waited at appointments.  Yep, that house and the bottom border are going to be great for simple waiting room stitching.

It’s a good thing I canceled the Thursday tests and moved them to Wednesday as this is what I woke to Thursday morning.  Previously we had grass showing and everywhere the snow had melted except for on the north side of the house.

Here is Izzy the snow dog.

Wednesday the results of my tests started coming in.  The CT scan showed marked improvements.  It was enough that I was pretty happy about it.  Kalissa was ecstatic.  I don’t was a little less ready to completely hop on the bandwagon.  I loved what showed in the scans but my bloodwork wasn’t in and that is always a crap shoot.

A few hours later that came in and I was right to be a little apprehensive.  That number grew.  I was supposed to get smaller than the 11 it was six months ago…instead, it jumped to 19.  UGH.  This number is the thyroglobulin tumor marker.  If it’s under two, they consider that undetectable and stable.  With mine being 19, it means that I still have cancer and will still be dealing with it.

What that meant together as a prognosis, we didn’t know…and being the tests got moved because of the snow, I had to wait from Wednesday night to Friday morning to see the doctor and hear her opinion.

Kalissa and Anders went with me as my doctor is always a little hard to read and what she tells me is often over my head…So Kalissa asks the questions I don’t know to ask or know how to ask.

Here’s what we found out…
The scans were good and very encouraging.  The tumor marker was okay and something we will need to watch.

The treatment I did is new enough that they don’t know how patients react a few years out.  That means there is no way to predict what happens from here.  Another thing that is confusing is that there are 4+ different types of thyroid cancer with many different mutations.  Mine is follicular with a RAS mutation.  Some of the people who were treated before me don’t have the same kind of cancer so that makes predicting even harder.

Bottom line, I’m not in the clear.  The treatment hit it down but it is likely slowly coming back.  I’m so thankful I got the chance to try the treatment and who knows, maybe we can try it again or maybe they will come up with a new treatment.  It’s very possible.

At this point, my cancer is treatable.  It will not be cured.  I still have active cancer growing in me.

I am scheduled to come back for scans and bloodwork in July.  Maybe we’ll know a little more then?  Who knows.  I’ve been living life like this since 2015 when I was diagnosed and I’m getting somewhat used to the rollercoaster ride this has been.

I’m hoping the treatment bought a little time for me.  At this point, we really don’t know. My cancer is checked every six months or so.  In between, I’m living life and not worrying about cancer.  Who knows.  I might die in a car crash before cancer takes me away.  There is no point in worrying about it.  Every day I get is precious.  Every day is one more day that I get to try to make a difference.  I’m gonna be busy doing my thing and not worrying about it.  I think that’s the best thing I can do.

I will be hosting an auction starting tomorrow on the blog.   I have to do some behind-the-scenes stuff to get it to load and work right.  That means the post will go live later than my normal blog posts do.

32 thoughts on “What’s New at the Doctor”

  1. I was diagnosed in non-hopkins lymphoia follicular on November 1st. I am in stage 1-2 and was told that treatment won’t work until it is in stage3 so I am in the waiting game too. I go every 6 months now for either a CT scan or PET scan. It’s minimal by my spine. It was found in tissue when they took out my gallbladder last October. I am like you trying to live life. I am hoping to make it to see my granddaughter graduate. I was told it is very slow growing cancer and very possible I will see my wish.

  2. Meredith in Cincinnati

    I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer 36 years ago. As you can imagine, I was filled with fear and panic. I had at the time a 7 year old and a 10 month old. I had to find a way to deal with some brutal chemo and real anxiety. I decided, like you, that I had to live my life. Every day that I wasn’t doing chemo was a gift, and I was going to enjoy that day. I was a little like Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With the Wind: I wasn’t going to be fearful and anxious about things over which I had no control. Here I am, 36 years later! I did feel comforted and even uplifted by all the people in my life who prayed for me or held good thoughts for me. I am blessed, and you are, too. Praying for you, Jo.

  3. Jo, We are glad for you positive attitude to just carry on. That is most important. So glad you are able to do what you want to do when you want to do it. Love your family, dogs, quilting and cross stitch. Izzy is so cute. Guess she doesn’t mind the snow. Anders is really turning into a little boy instead of a baby. Keep on blogging.

  4. Cynthia from Nebraska

    Hmmm…mixed news, but you have lots of followers praying for you! Thank you for sharing your journey with us. Your attitude is inspiring.

  5. I’ll take the news as good and count the blessings with you! You have a wonderful attitude and I know that makes a world of difference. Keep on living each minute as fully as you can. You’re in the prayers of many!

  6. I just love your attitude Jo. I’m sorry that you have this nagging at you but you sure are handling it well. You are an inspiration! You go girl!!!!

  7. Susan the Farm Quilter

    Well, that was a 50-50 split with the test results…not what we hoped and prayed for, but not the worst with both of the results being sideways. Your attitude is exactly what you need – heck, it’s what we all need every day, because tomorrow is never promised. I love the way you seize each day, create and share with us, love on your family and just pack as much as possible into every day. We all need to do that! Prayers continuing!!

  8. I’m so glad for you that Kalissa has the Nursing background to ask the questions that give you the information you need. Sounds like a “could be worse, could be better” discussion.

    Your outlook on your Thyroid Cancer is admirable. I’m glad for you and your family that you live each day to its fullest to wring the joy out of every single day. We should all take the lesson from you to take no day for granted.

    Hugs to you :-)

  9. Thanks for the update, Jo. While the results are mixed, your positive attitude remains and no one can take that away. So happy you appreciate everything you have and thoroughly enjoy your family and life. Prayers will continue. ❤️

  10. You wrote a beautiful post earlier that talked about the fact that all of us are going to have to say goodbye to a loved one, or we may be the ones leaving. I saved that because it was so well written. I recently read a quote that said we don’t have any control over when we die, but we are in charge of how we live. The best thing we can do is enjoy every day we have and make sure the people we love know how we feel about them. My Mother lived with us for 12 years and had a bunch of big medical crises. We said goodbye several times. She didn’t spend much energy on the things she couldn’t do anything about. She was diabetic, and if there was a really big crisis, she would ask if we could go to McDonald’s and get an ice cream cone. Ice cream can make a lot of things better. I keep you in my prayers. You are a tough cookie, like she was!

  11. Glad you moved your appointment up a day. We got snow on ice Wednesdsy, also. I stayed in yesterday and left the travel to people who needed to be somewhere.

    A mixed bag of results and your perspective is perfect. Live your life, enjoy each day, and continue on. Uncertainty is always hard, but as you said, life is uncertain for any of us.

    Continuing to pray for you and your family. ❤️❤️

  12. Well, that was mixed results but love your attitude. I am going through chemo every 28 days and count each day a blessing. As you said, we could be hit by a bus tomorrow. Taking it one day at a time! Glad Kalissa and Anders were with you. Blessings to you, Jo!

  13. Jo I love how you take each day as it comes. You are such an inspiration to all of us.

    You are so lucky you have a loving family to be there for you.

    Praying for you

  14. Sharon Traughber

    I am impressed at your ability to live and share your courage with us readers. Prayers for you to live your best life. If we don’t fill ours days with the little joys, I’ve even started to enjoy seam ripping. it’s like a second chance to get it right.

  15. Dear Jo, you have an amazing attitude through all this. We get through life one day at a time and it can be our choice how we deal with it. Kids, grand babies, sewing, stitching, caring for others- you are rockin’ it girl. God bless. Praying you have thousands more days to share your love.

  16. I admire your attitude! I so thankful for Kalissa. Anders seems to be growing up so fast. Continuing my prayers for you!

  17. I’m currently experiencing some medical issues and your attitude is so inspiring. Thank you for sharing your cancer journey. Living one day at a time has become my mantra. Continued prayers for you.

  18. Thanks for sharing with us, Jo. I’ve been thinking of you the past few days. You have a great attitude to it all. I’m going to take your words with me, “ Every day I get is precious. Every day is one more day that I get to try to make a difference. I’m gonna be busy doing my thing and not worrying about it.”

  19. Jo, you are so precious to us – we’re so thankful for you – I know your family is more so.
    Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers.
    Thank you for all that you do for us.
    Love an prayers

  20. Continued prayers for you and your family. Your great attitude and always looking and planning ahead helps so very much! Take care Jo!

  21. I’ve come to believe that the key to happiness is our attitude. I wish your tests had been glowing but they are still OK. Your attitude towards these results are what keeps you happy. I’m going blind in my left eye due to severe glaucoma and my husband has Alzheimer’s. Friends ask what will I do when ……. My answer is to live in today and not get upset. I will deal with issues as they arrive. I’m content with my life and I treat each day as a gift. Keeping on quilting and showing us your beautiful quilts. Keep on with your stitching and cooking and baking. Life moves on and we have a choice if we are going to be happy or sad.

  22. Several years ago I worked at a cancer center. The doctor there always said that half the battle for a patient’s recovery was their mental attitude. If they were positive that their treatment was going to be successful, it made a world of difference in their recovery. Keep up the positive attitude. You have so many people praying for you and God hears our prayers. (((HUGS))).

  23. thanks for letting us know. Honestly disappointed it was not 100 percent improvement. Will continue with the prayers for God’s best for your situation.

  24. You are a great role model for how to live and how to give. Thank you for that. Continued blessings to you each day for many many days ahead.

  25. God bless and heal you Jo, in Jesus precious name! Stay positive and move forward. Do what you can and God will do the rest.

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