Expect the Unexpected

As most of you know I had surgery to remove my right thyroid about two weeks ago. Why remove it? It has had a nodule on it for about seven years.The nodule has been growing a small bit with each ultrasound. The last ultrasound showed a speedier growth than the previous ones. With consultations to my Endocrinologist and Surgeon, we decided it was time for it to go.

With three biopsies that showed it was benign, all of us expected the post excision biopsy to be the same. Well guess what? It is not benign, my biopsy shows a papillary cancer, encapsulated and well defined in the nodule. So now what? The plan is to remove the other lobe and be treated with radioactive iodine and become a Synthroid user for the rest of my life.

I am disappointed and sad. I am also a weary of having the C word wander into my vocabulary, again. Everyone reassures me this is different. Thyroid cancers are slow growing. I will probably die of something else first. Yet, I wasn’t expecting this and I am not happy, at the moment.

What about Africa? What about traveling back east? What about the rest of my life? It pisses me off that cancer can stop so much. When I was first diagnosed with breast cancer I was ripping angry. Now I am just confused on how to handle this information.

Both of my doctors tell me it is OK to do Africa for two months. When women are pregnant they wait the full nine months, if they have to, before removing a cancerous thyroid. I get it, I really do, it is slow growing. I also know that when I found the lump in my breast they told me not to worry. “It doesn’t look like cancer.” When They thought it showed up again (it did not), I was told not to worry. I have now trained all the doctors to never tell me not worry.

I also remember Jim’s (my deceased husband) surgeon when they first thought he had metastasis say, “Go to Peru, make memories for you, make memories for her, make memories together. When you return we will get the bone biopsy. Same diagnosis, same treatment, same prognosis.” After the trip to Peru we returned, the biopsy was positive, he went on chemo and five months later he died. Now I know this is not the same but….I need some convincing.

My surgeon says I am experiencing some PTSD and I am sure that this is correct. What do I do with that information? He reminded me that this is a whole different type of cancer. Jim’s was aggressive with a poor prognosis.

I am seeking a second opinion to confirm that it is OK to wait five to six months before the rest of the treatment. I am thankful that the Moores Cancer Center is close.

When I had breast cancer, Jim was here to support me. Now I am alone. I know, I am not alone but I do feel a bit alone. Who do I talk to? Who do I share this news with? What if no one offers to help me out?

I am not alone. My friends have boldly stepped forward to love and help me. I don’t see that changing unless I do something really, really stupid. And even then I think some of them would be here for me. That is what friends are for.

I was hesitant to write this post. As I look back over the years I have pretty much shared everything, why not this? What I need from all my readers and friends is good, positive support. I don’t want to hear the worst stories. Please don’t ask me how I caused this cancer (I got that from a few people when I was diagnosed with breast cancer). All I want is love and support and an occasional ear. Diversion therapy is good.

I will continue to plan my life. Africa is still on, at the moment. I am not sure when I will leave the west coast, that depends on the second opinion appointment. After some quiet contemplation, taking a few days to digest and work through this information, I plan to go back to experiencing life to it’s fullest day by day. As one of my friends said to me “This is just another of life’s big hiccups”.




11 thoughts on “Expect the Unexpected

  1. I use Synthroid to boost my thyroid. Just take it and get on with my day. Think through your situation, but remember you are loved. Judy

  2. Janet
    I will help however I can. I will listen and seeking a 2nd opinion is a good idea. You will make the right decision about your trip. Just sorry about the C word.

  3. So sorry to hear but live your life Janet…to the best ever!! Each day is a gift to each of us and I hope you have many many more years of gifts. Take care. Talk to people. Cry to people. Rage at people. But always look forward and live your life!!

  4. Life is full of bumps in the road. You have this and God will help you make the right choices. Bless you! Faye

  5. Janet,

    Given the subject I’m here and not on FB this time. I’m sorry about the diagnosis….While mine is not cancer, (that I know of) the last eight months have sucked big time. I’m not going to talk about the whoa is me….this is about you….’Life is a beauch and then you die…..’ How many times as a nurse have you heard that. We are too much a like you and I…. Only, I’m old and I’ve just been at this alone thing a lot longer…I haven’t had cancer …YET…..and yes it sucks Big TIME.

    You know you are doing the right thing second opinion on all of it first to make sure one way or the other! You also know ‘life is not promised EVER!’ I’ve told my Hospice patients that for years. ‘Yes, you are terminal, I’m terminal, your spouse is terminal….it is the time between diagnosis and terminal that is important.’ You said it! YOU could die of something else. SO! Get mad, cry! a lot!!! THEN get busy find out for sure, make an informed decision and go for it. Whatever that means….Africa? Its not going anywhere….if you have to do treatment, you can do that and THEN do Africa. And finally, nobody can make this decision for you. The choices are yours and yours alone…all the rest can do is empathize and support. I know that much. Faced with a deteriorating spine and a future full of pain and no solutions on the horizon. Support is everything and you have plenty!

    You and I have to meet….we have to break bread….we have to have a hug and tears …..we have to pop a cork and celebrate what we have had, not mourn what we have not yet lost!

    Prayers will follow and support for your decisions…

    Hugs, my friend…..always around with an ear and shoulder if you need it!



  6. Hysterectomy. It’s a loss and it’s ok to have to process and get used to it. It sucks for sure…doesn’t matter how “ lucky” you are that it’s not something worse. Wishing you speedy recovery mentally and physically!

  7. Gah. So sorry to hear this. I’m sure it is very confusing and maddening and scary. Wishing you the best!! And I do hope you get to Africa. 😊

  8. Janet, I see you enjoying Africa! After the second opinion, I support you to step into living your life moment by moment, day by day, year by year. You have much to do and enjoy. From what I have been reading in your blog, you enjoy the o going and steadfast support of friends and family. We’re all swimming in this soup together. You are strong, you are wise, you are loved.

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