It is quite difficult for me to write this and am not even sure if I should be blogging about it. I asked Brian and he said, "I'm not sure about the public-ness, but if you feel comfortable, then go for it." I asked Ami ( blogging fanatic!) and even she wasn't sure! So what to do? Blog about it. I figure you are all my friends, I love you all and want you to be in loop. I'm sure by now you are dying to know what is going on so let's start at the beginning.
In January I went to see my mid-wife for my annual "womanly" exam. Karen, midwife, was out that day so they had me see a substitute midwife, Abigail. Nice girl, about my age pregnant with her 3rd baby. She starts off by feeling my neck and throat.
"Oh. Hmm. Have you ever noticed a little lump here?"
Not exactly what you want to hear when you are in a doctor's office.
"No not really. Do I have something there?"
"Yes, why don't you feel it."
So I feel. Sure enough a pretty good sized little lump.
"I'll be right back. I'm going to consult with the doctor and see what he says."
She leaves and I am left in the exam room wondering what the heck is wrong with me. She comes back and tells me I have to make an appointment with a general surgeon so that he can check it out. A surgeon?!?! Am I going to be cut open because I am not okay with that!
Fast forward to the end of January. I have an appointment with Dr. Coffman, the general surgeon recommended to me. Now, Dr. Coffman is fairly young and quite the looker!
Now it is February and I am at Lovelace Westside Hospital. I feel a little nostalgic as I walk into this building because this is where I went for all of my pre-natal appointments. Funnily enough once I get there I am led to the same room where I found out that Jaxon was Jaxon and not Nadia or Emma. :)
It's a Boy!
For my thyroid ultrasound I was lying in this very room. Thankfully I am skinnier now!
On Monday, March 9 I go in for my Fine Needle Aspiration. Let me tell you, there is nothing FINE about this! I lie on a bed with my shoulders on a pillow and my head tilted back. The doctor (not Dr. Handsome) pokes a needle in my throat and literally stabs me repeatedly! It was not pleasant. Picture someone punching you in your throat, that's how it felt. He had to poke at stab about 7-10 times. At the end he says, "Well, I'm not sure I got enough samples. The nodule is very hard and the needle kept slipping off. You may have to come back!" SERIOUSLY!?!?! I will tell you this, I will not be coming back! That hurt and I didn't get a cute baby to take home! All this gave me was a nice bruised neck that is still sore! It hurts to cough, yawn and swallow.
So now I just wait until March 19 when I get the results. WRONG! On Thursday March 12 Dr. Coffman himself calls. Uh Oh. That is never a good sign. While I was in Pilates I might add, so I had to not only suffer through pilates itself, but also think about the following conversation.
"Yes, this is she."
"This is Dr. Coffman. Can you come to my office today?"
"Today? What time?"
"Okay, I'll be there."
That's it. That is the extent of my conversation. I call Ami right away, she is my resident doctor expert. I tell her what happens and she yells at me! Well, not really, but she did reprimand me for not asking what was wrong and why I had to go in today. I believe she said, "Anabelle, I want you to pull up your cahones (sp), call that doctor back and demand he tell you what's wrong!" Which I replied with, "I have no cahones, I don't want to know what's wrong!"
Brian cancels his trip to Santa Fe so that he can go with me. We wait around all morning just wondering what on earth it could be. We do a little research on the Internet. Prepare for the worst, hope for the best.
It is now 2:00pm and we are sitting in Dr. Coffman's office with Jaxon. Dr Coffman walks in. Shakes our hands. Sits down, looks at Brian, looks at me and says,
"You have Thyroid Cancer. We have to remove your thyroid."
Tears immediately start flowing. I have cancer. This can't be happening. I'm only 30, I have a beautiful little boy to take care of, I can't be sick. I'm not sick. I feel fine. This just isn't fair!!!!Needless to say, the next half an hour was quite a blur, literally since I couldn't stop crying. Brian, God bless him, is being so strong and asking all kinds of questions. I can't think of one thing to say. Except, "I'm sorry" to the doctor because I'm crying!
Here is the low down on Thyroid Cancer:
It has a 95% cure rate.
If you have to "choose" a cancer to have, this is the one. Lucky me, I chose correctly.
There is no chemo or radiation. So no hair lose, vomiting, etc.
The treatment includes one radioactive iodine capsule. That's it.
The Thyroidectomy (removal of entire thyroid) will be in April, after Easter. There is a 2 week recovery period.
Sometime after the surgery I will go on a low iodine diet. That means no dairy products, no salt, no seafood, no chocolate, no eggs, no commerical bakery products, no beans. Limited amounts of meats, cereals, grains and rices. I can have fruits, vegetables, unsalted nuts, soda & the best one of all.... WINE!!!
I will be on this diet for 2-4 weeks.
Then I take the radioactive iodine capsule. For the week that follows I will have to be in isolation. This means I have to stay 6 feet away from everybody. Jaxon will be going to Tucson during this week. I have to use my own bathroom, flush 2-3 times each time I use the bathroom, rinse the sink well after I wash my hands, use disposable utensils, etc.
During this time they will also make me hypothyroid, which means I will be puffy, bloated, and fatigued. Yippee! The Endocrinologist did say I probably won't gain weight because of the strict diet I will be on
That is about it. I did meet with an Endocrinologist (sp) on Friday, Dr. Edwards. He was very nice and informative. He explained everything to me in "normal" people terms. Again, though, I wasn't paying too much attention because after he said "isolation" I was thinking about what to do with Jaxon. Brian, was the one to absorb everything and ask all questions.
As of right now, I feel positive about what is going to happen. I feel angry, sad, nervous, scared, etc. Who wouldn't? I don't want a pity party, I just want to go on like normal. I may want a pity party when I am recovering from surgery, during the diet, and the isolation. But right now I am good. If you don't feel like calling or writing me it's ok. I now that it can be awkward, and really, what do you say to someone who has cancer? I understand. I know that you are thinking and praying for me. That is what is most important (did I just sound conceited? Oh well)
Thank you for your support and hangin' on to this extremely long blog. If you are interested on learning more about thyroid cancer check out http://www.thyca.org/. This is the only website Dr. Edwards is allowing us to go on!