Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Question

I went to my endocronologist today. Am I spelling that right? Because my spell check keeps highlighting it.

Oh well. Who cares.

May I just begin by saying that people with cancer don't necessarily know all there is to know about their particular form of cancer?

People with cancer don't necessarily know all there is to know about their particular form of cancer. There is so much information being thrown at you all at once, and you become very overwhelmed and have a hard time processing everything. Sometimes, you cannot ask certain questions because your brain just won't go there.

I'm a little confused, but I think I may have learned a lot more about my cancer today.

1.) Because it is in my lymph nodes, it has most likely spread to other areas, as well.

2.) It is highly likely that I will have to have another surgery and a second radioactive iodine treatment after the first one. This is because they will do a full body scan after the first iodine treatment to see where the iodine goes. If it just goes to my neck, all is well; that is where it is supposed to go. If it goes anywhere else, such as the other side of my neck, lungs, bones, etc, they will have to surgically remove that tissue and do another round of radioactive iodine.

3.) If that does not take care of the cancer, I will have to have chemotherapy. That is highly unlikely though. So much so that chemo for thyroid cancer is still an experimental treatment. I would have to go to the Mayo clinic in Rochester if that became necessary.

4.) I finally asked a question that I have not wanted to ask until now.

"Am I going to die?"

The doctor paused for a second and then said, "It is highly unlikely, but yes, there is a chance you could die. Probably one in thirty people die from thyroid cancer. The younger you are, the better the prognosis."

When your daughter has died from something that affects one in a thousand, one in thirty sounds kind of high-risk. Statistics say that you won't be a statistic more than once, though. Good thing for statistics, huh?

They will start my radioactive iodine the week of Labor Day. That is, if my iodine levels are low enough. I have to go on a special low iodine diet starting now. This means I cannot eat fish, iodized salt, chocolate, dairy products, and a host of other things. Well, I guess I'll lose weight out of this whole ordeal after all. Whoo hoo!!

I will also have to go off my thyroid medicine for several days before the radioactive iodine is injected. There are a few things we are trying to figure out regarding what our insurance will and won't cover, and that will determine the exact approach they will take. If my insurance doesn't cover a certain procedure, I will have to go off my medicine for three weeks. If it does cover the procedure, it will only be a few days. I put my vote in for a few days, but we will see if the insurance company takes that into consideration.

He told me not to change any plans or put anything on hold in regard to the distant future. He doesn't foresee that there will be any huge problems. "Huge problems" is a euphamism for death.

Good thing he said that because our adoption case worker did our home study today. Everything went well. She said we can start looking at children's profiles online, and our official file will go online for all the social workers to access by August 10th. This is the official matching process, so once there is a match, we proceed from there. After 2 years, it seems almost too good to be true. I'm not even sure it's really happening yet.

I feel like this is such a sketchy post, but I must be off to school now, so I'll keep you posted in more detail as we go.

I must say, if you've never had cancer, it's a whole new world.


  1. Tanager, I beleive Endocrinologists has a crin rather than cron :). So glad the home study went well. That is just so super exciting!! To think you are about to have your next child.
    My sister Martha had radioactive iodine tx this winter you should check with her for good meal ideas. you are so limited for the next 3 weeks on what is ok to eat when you cut out all iodine!
    I reall enjoy reading your blog. Sorry you are having to go through all this stuff.~ Anna

  2. Hey, sweetie, thanks for the phone call. Sorry we weren't here. We'd gone to Castleton for a concert on the green - 5 men and a girl playing all kinds of groovy music. Yes, endocrinologist is "crin" as Anna said. Wow, you and Van and Allika sure are going through a lot of STUFF. I sure don't know even what to say or think. It all sure sounds so much more complicated than end-stage kidney disease.
    All I know is we are ready to step in and help if you need us to do something besides pray.
    We will understand all of this so much more clearly 10-20 years down the road. I was going to suggest getting in touch with Martha, too, to ask her about things she didn't know before that she knows better now that she's been through it. Love, Mom

  3. "Cancer" is a big club. All my best thoughts and prayers to you as you wade through all these procedures, AND my best to Van, too. If he ever feels like emailing me, that would be fine with me. The Cancer Auxiliary is also a big club!

  4. The one thing your Doctor didn't factor into the statistics is prayer and that one of God's names means healer or Great Physician. So although we don't know the path that God has laid out for you, you have an Abba who is a healer. The kids next door in the Community that I live by call their fathers, Abba. He has promised to be with you always. I'm going to be talking to Him about you. Love, Lynette

  5. Tanny:

    Just look at it this way...YOU HAVE OPTIONS.
    You can die from the common cold (turning into
    pneumonia). You could probably have a better
    chance of dieing driving an automobile. Forget the dieing thing...it is beyond ANYONE'S control, anyway.
    You know that mom and I have been (and still
    are) praying for you.
    Start making plans for that new addition in
    your home. I think that this whole thing is
    stupendous!! What's Allika think?
    It really sounds as though everyone is doing
    the best thing by you and you also have God
    on your side. If He wills it you could live
    through ANY kind of cancer. Greater is He
    that is IN you than anything satan can hurl
    your way.
    We love you and will keep on praying.

    P.S. This thing of posting is so crazy. Why
    do we have to be anonymous to make a comment?

  6. Hi.
    I am so sorry that the cancer is in your lymph nodes!
    How did you find out that you had a problem in the beginning?
    check out; http://www.thyca.org/Cookbook.pdf
    This cook book was VERY helpful when I had to have the low iodine diet.
    I am very excited for you about adoption!!!
    You will get through this hard time with cancer and each step of the way you can be amazed at the way God carries you through the troubles.
    Love and prayers, Martha Jane

  7. I wish I were closer so I could give you a great big hug!!! I am so sorry you are having to go through all of this and then to find out some more scary news. Your dad is right - God is in CONTROL!!! You show your faith in Him too - I love that! You encourage me even when you are going through such a rough time. I love you! Venessa

  8. Wow! I came home today to all these wonderful comments and encouragements. What a blessing!! Thanks for the spelling corrections. Now I can spell it right since I will be writing it a lot. Thanks for the website, Martha. That will be so helpful! I'm sure Van would love to talk with you, Aunt Mary. He has been so amazing through all of this. Someday, I will have to write a series of posts about him. And you all are right when you say that God is in control, and he is good. Thank you for the time you take to bring my situation before his throne.
    Dad and Mom, I love you both so much. Thanks for the support you have been to me. You are wrong about kidney failure, Mom. You've definitely been through way more than I have and have always been a positive example of shining in the midst of suffering.
    I love you, too, Venessa. We will have to be satisfied with cyber-hugs for now. =)
    I feel hugged by God through the blessing each one of you has been to me. Thank you so much.