Friday, February 19, 2010

It ain't "ideal", but it ain't bad....

After a long week of low iodine diet, injections, iodine 123, scanning, and blood work...the results are in. The scan was "clear", but the blood work, as my doctor said, was "not ideal". Apparently, some of the tumor marker, thyroglobulin, was detectable. It was such a minute amount, but, my endocrinologist wants to be "aggressive" with watching it. I'm thankful that there isn't a knee jerk reaction to just empirically treat me with another dose of I 131. I really don't want to have to do any more of that stuff, as it can cause a secondary cancer later on. So, the plan is to recheck my level in another 6 months while on my Levoxyl and TSH is suppressed. Hopefully it will remain undetectable on the medication. If so, then a year from now, another ultrasound, Thyrogen injections, low iodine diet, more I 123, scanning, and blood work will probably be the plan again. I was so hopeful for an "all clear" so that we could maybe loosen up on the follow up and just go with ultrasounds and blood work.

Between issues on mammograms and then my thyroid cancer, for the past 3 years, I've been told, "let's recheck in 6 months". I'm tired of my life feeling like it was on hold or in limbo every 6 months. So, as far as I'm concerned, this exam was negative and we're just rechecking blood in 6 months. I can't sit around worrying about it for the next 6 months. It may not have been "ideal", but it wasn't exactly bad news either. So, I'll take what I can get.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

I'm all up in the low iodine

Day 4 of low iodine. The first few days were filled with anger and resentment of having to go through it again. And, by it, I mean the whole process of thinking about, going through special diets, getting injections, going through scans, and waiting again for results as if I were awaiting my sentencing. I am having a harder time dealing with the fact that this didn't end a year ago as I made myself believe. There's still a huge part of me in denial about the fact that I ever had cancer. I prefer to think of it as there was just something wrong with my thyroid. It was removed. End of story. I guess that's human nature. I'm not sure. Either that or just the nature of a nurse, or anyone else in the medical profession who thinks that illness doesn't really apply to them.

Either way, I'm in it again. I'm currently smack in the middle of this 1 week of low iodine. I am once again finding ThyCa an invaluable resource and friend. Today feels like I have accepted it a little better. And, I'm making the necessary adjustments in my life to plan, prepare, & follow through with the diet and the subsequent week of procedures and tests. Soon, it will be over and I'll have a good report and won't have to look forward to this again until a year or maybe (fingers crossed) more.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Hel-low-iodine, my old friend (or foe)

It's been a year now since my thyroid was removed. It's been almost as long since I've posted on here. I guess I just sort of thought I was finished.

Today was my 1 year follow up with my endocrinologist to do an ultrasound to see how things look. Last we spoke, six months ago, I remembered him saying that I would just have to do an ultrasound, thyrogen injections again to stimulate my TSH and then have thyroglobulin drawn. I specifically recall him saying that I wouldn't have to do low iodine diet to do a scan dose of radioactive iodine and repeat scan. I all but threw out my ThyCa cookbook, I was so excited.

Right after the ultrasound, he informed me that I would need to do low-iodine for a week, get the thyrogen injections, take a scan dose of radioactive iodine, and get another scan. Bummer, I thought. I tried to protest and talk him out of it. I just wanted to stop with what we had for testing. He informed me that since I had lymph nodes involved that my recurrence rate was a little higher and that it was best to rescan.

I walked out of there kind of angry. I wasn't angry with him. I was just angry about being inconvenienced. The truth is that a year ago when I was told this was cancer, I blew it off because I knew there were such worse cancers out there. So, I actually just told myself this was just sort of a one-time event and I wouldn't have to worry about it anymore. They got all of it they could with the surgery, then we ablated the rest with the high dose radioactive iodine, end of story.

When I went to my husband's office later and he told me that thinking was probably pretty unrealistic, I protested that as well, arguing that with this cancer, that was perfectly realistic thinking. It wasn't until much later that I realized he was right.

I'm not sure why I let myself believe that I would never again have anything to worry about in regard to my history of thyroid cancer. I know better than that, I'm a nurse. I guess I just don't want to be put into that category (the one I put people in) when I hear that they have had a cancer recurrence.

So, basically I'm going to suck it up and do my inconvenient low-iodine diet, take the thyrogen injections like a woman, swallow the magic little radioactive iodine pill and get the scan. It will be nice to have real peace of mind instead of my false sense of security. I already feel like there's no need to do the further testing, so doing it will only prove it.

Buck up butter cup.