Hello, it's me, Dani, or Crochet Critter...whichever you would like to call me. This blog is going to be one that hits close to home for me, several of my family members, and millions of people across the world. Cancer. In my case it is Papillary Thyroid Cancer, and I am on year 4 of my battle. Let's start at the beginning, shall we?
 
            One morning I got up and got ready to go to a post natal appointment, I had just had our second child, Little Ninja, and this was my appointment to make sure everything was ok. The doctor did her usual check up, and then felt my neck.
            "Your thyroid is a little large, have you ever been checked for thyroid problems?"
            "No"
            "I am going to refer you to a doctor over at blah blah blah, this could be nothing, but it could also be very serious."
My heart sank into my stomach, what could be wrong? I just had a baby, please tell me it's nothing serious. Please? I went in for my check up with the doctor she recommended me to, and he did all of the usual doctor tests, with the diagnosis of "enlarged thyroid". Thanks, that's what I needed to hear. But WHY was it enlarged? We decided it would be best to have some blood tests done and a biopsy, to rule anything bad out.
            My blood test came out fine, and we hoped and prayed about the biopsy. It took a whole week to get the results, and it was the most anxious week of my life. I can still remember the day I got the phone call, how cold it was that morning, and how the sun was really bright in the kitchen window. Both of our girls were asleep and so was their dad. It was very early in the morning, but I hadn't been sleeping well and jumping at every phone call.
            *riiinnnnggggg, riiiiiinnngggg*
            "Hello?"
            "Hello, Dani? This is Dr. Blah, we got the results from your biopsy back. I regret to inform you that you have papillary thyroid cancer. We will need to schedule you a surgery and get you in to see an endocrinologist immediately."
            "....."
            "Hello?"
            "Yes, I am still here" I am trying to fight back tears at this time
            "We need to see you ASAP, can you come in this next Monday?"
            "Yes, I can" I am crying now
            "Ok, see you bright and early on Monday"
            Mind you this happened on a Friday morning. That meant I had all weekend to search the internet for information about papillary thyroid cancer, what treatments were available, what I need to prepare myself for, and the scariest part, the mortality rate.
            90% recovery rate, IF it is caught soon. Well, what stage do I have, what is the prognosis on my life expectancy? Will I have to go through chemotherapy? So many questions swarming my brain, all in a two day period. The emotions came later, as they do when you are in shock. And when they came, it was a storm, but that is another blog, so stay tuned. ;)
            After that phone call it was a whirlwind of information, new doctors, diets, blood tests, and other tests. And finally my first surgery. In 2012 I had a total thyroidectomy and they also had to remove part of my vocal nerve, my lymph nodes, and one of my parathyroid glands. After this surgery I went into severe calcium deficiency and needed to be hospitalized in order to become stable again. To this day I take 1200mg of calcium to make sure I am balanced out and to ward off osteoporosis. Why did my calcium drop so low? Good question. Your parathyroids make your calcium, when one of mine were removed, the others went into a type of shock and stopped producing calcium. I needed an IV over night and a heart monitor to make sure that everything would be ok.
            Shortly after this surgery, I needed to endure 10 days of RAI (Radioactive Iodine Therapy) where I would be quarantined. I set up the travel trailer that my husband's grandparent's have in their yard as my quarantine area. This allowed me to be near the home, but also far enough away to not cause others to be radiated. During the time it took me to set up the trailer, I also needed to starve my body of iodine, so that when I took the RAI pill, it would eat it up quickly before trying to reject the radioactivity. This is to kill the cancer in my lymph nodes, the small pieces they can't get out. So to starve your body of iodine, you go on a LID (Low Iodine Diet) which is a very strict diet, that again, I will cover in another blog, complete with recipes.
            The 10 days in quarantine was excruciating. Being away from my girls, Little Princess and Little Ninja, was killing me. They were only 3 months and a little over a year at that time. It was one of the hardest 10 days of my life. After it was all said and done, I had to get a MET scan, it's a two and a half hour nap session in which a machine scans you from head to toe. I get nervous when it is over my face, but other wise, it's quite relaxing. Once the scan is done, one more blood test is done, and then you have to wait for the results. Seems like a lot has been done already, no? We are no where near done yet, we are just in year 2!
            Results come back that I am doing alright, that things seem to be getting smaller and going away, YAY! We will check again in 6 months. In 6 months, I have to take another radioactive pill, this one much less radioactive and I don't have to be quarantined. This is called and "uptake" and then I do another MET scan, to see where there is still cancer. And again after the scan is a blood test. The blood test is for thyroglobulin, which is made when your body is making thyroid cells. The higher the number, the more cells. In my case, the results from this scan showed a lot of cancer in my left neck lymph nodes, and my thryoglobulin levels were really high. So we talked about surgery...again.
            I went back to the same surgeon that did my first surgery, and he told me that he would have to knick my vocal nerve in order to get some of the cancer cells off, but that at UCSF they had the technology not to knick it, but that I had a choice (as if it wasn't obvious). I scheduled my surgery for UCSF and started making arrangements. After three trips down there for biopsies, appointments, and tests, the surgery day was upon us. Mind you, this is surgery #2, for the same cancer that was supposed to be gone after my quarantine.
            This surgery was very different, I woke up and saw that my mom and aunt had come unexpectedly, and that my husband was right there waiting for me to wake up. My whole shoulder was numb and my neck was killing me. As it turns out there was a nerve in my shoulder that was completely severed, so I have no feeling in part of my left shoulder and arm. This comes in handy when Little Ninja practices her Ninja skills on me.
            I had another round of radiation, this time with a 14 day quarantine. It was a much higher dose. I stayed in the trailer again, it's come in handy a lot these last couple of years, haha. A few weeks ago I got done with my "uptake" and my last MET scan and am now waiting for the results, which I will update you with as I know more details.
            For now I wait and I raise awareness, for cancer of every kind, for thyroid disease, for unseen diseases whatever they may be, for autism, and for family togetherness. I hope you enjoy this part of our blog and come back again and again for updates as things change and we grow.

Comments

All the family shares in the anxiety and the hope

Even with a support group behind you, the anxiety, hope and fears play a part in your rehabilitation, you do a great job of keeping a handle on things.

Thanks!

Thank you so much for your support!

Amazing Blog, Dani!

You have done a great job describing your fight against cancer. I hope you share this with all the family. They are so concerned about you and would love to read this and all your updates. Love You, G Ma.

Thank you!

Thanks, you are more than welcome to share with whomever you would like. Just copy and paste the link into your e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, etc and then they can click the link to read the blog.