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”.