maloney6729's Journey with Sporadic, Medullary Thyroid Carcinoma

Patient: Thyroid Cancer > Medullary Thyroid Carcinoma > Sporadic

Patient Info: Newly diagnosed (has not begun treatment), Diagnosed: almost 6 years ago, Male, Age: 53

  1. 1
    over 5 years ago
    maloney6729's Avatar

    Diagnosed

    Oh No

    With no family history other than losing a parent from pancreatic cancer, myself being the youngest of 7 and having a wife and 4 healthy children, it was surreal to find myself questioning how much longer I have. After the FNA showed Hurthle cell Pappilary Thyroid cancer, we were able to digest further the treatment options and the longer term prognosis, which eased our fears. Following surgery, which included a complete thyroidextomy, removal of a tennis ball sized tumor, 12 of 15 lymph nodes, and the juggular vein from the right side of the neck, we found the original diagnosis was incorrect and was instead advanced and aggressive Medullary Thyroid cancer.

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  2. 2
    over 5 years ago
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    Surgery

    Procedure or Surgery

    I severely underestimated the impact of the surgery. While I have received constant praise on my physical recovery, I did not expect the discomfort or the nerve damage that resulted. I think it might have been more of a psychological defense mechanism to help me cope with the entire situation. Dismissing the surgery as something just a bit more than a root canal helped me not to panic about my diagnosis and remain focused on finishing up my work and talking to family and friends about my pending treatment plans.

    Went as Expected: Agree
    Minimal Recovery: Neutral/NA
    Minimal Side Effects: Neutral/NA
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Neutral/NA
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  3. 3
    over 5 years ago
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    Surgery

    Procedure or Surgery

    Early October I had a 2nd surgery to remove a lymph node from my chest that showed up on a CT scan following my 1st surgery. It was recommended that this be removed surgically before radiation treatments began, since removal after radiation would be more risky due to weakened arteries from the radiation therapy. Since I physically rebounded so well from the 1st surgery, again, I under estimated the effects of having a partial sternectomy (?!) and the degradation of my voice. With all of the work done on my neck/throat and no permanent damage to my vocal cords, I completely overlooked the risk of the same from this surgery. Suprisingly, my right vocal cord/s no longer work and my voice and speech patterns are a difficult adjustment. This is not expected to be permanent, but as I have quickly learned, "there are no guarentees", "every case is different", "only time will tell", and "let's wait and see and hope for the best". If only any of us could collect a nickle every time we heard this during our journey, we would be permanetly financially secure! (I am not being bitter or cynical, only trying to inject a little humor and share some of the common medical expressions I have heard repeated from the multitude of docs I have seen).

    Went as Expected: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Recovery: Strongly Disagree
    Minimal Side Effects: Strongly Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Strongly Disagree
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  4. 4
    over 5 years ago
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    External radiation

    Radiation

    This is more of a pre-radiation status at this point, as I am scheduled to begin Nov. 14th. Up to this point, I have had 2 fittings for my mask. This process is entirely painless and any anxiety or difficulties are 100% psychological. I am not a phobic of small spaces, heights, etc...so again, I completely overlooked the psychological effect of having my head secured to a bench with what equates to a fencing (sword fighting) mask over my face and head (only the back is missing). The fitting and CT scan did not take more than 20 minutes of being still, but that was enough for me! For the 2nd fitting and simulation run, I told my radiologist of this and we cut eye holes out of the mask. HUGE improvement to the psyche!! I strongly recommend that being done regardless of whether or not this effects you, so as to prevent any last minute panics on your part. I will update later this month with any radiation side effects, which I have been told may be many.

    Painless Experience: Neutral/NA
    Minimal Side Effects: Neutral/NA
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Neutral/NA
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  5. 5
    over 5 years ago
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    Other

    Side Effects

    External radiation (33 sessions) finished last week. It started out simple and non-eventful, but after the first 2 weeks, as everyone advised, the side effects began to mount. Before they finished, the worst side effects were the sore throat, complete loss of energy, and heavy mucous. More minor side effects included muscle aches, sunburned neck, loss of just 10 lbs., and loss of voice. Unfortunately, midway through, I caught a pretty good seasonal cold, which made the treatments under the mask a challenge – trying not to sneeze or cough during the treatment. The surgical side effects of the chest surgery made sneezing and coughing unbearable, and also simply rolling over in bed. As a result, I slept mostly in the recliner sitting up to limit congestion (and let my wife get a decent night sleep!). Overall, the experience could have been a lot worse. I did not have the dry mouth effect and as long as I avoided a feeding tube, I was happy. I ate as often as I could – scrambled eggs with cheese, pancakes soaked in syrup, finely chopped meats soaked in gravy, soups, applesauce, and gallons of ice cream! Now that the radiation is done, I am trying to be patient in recovery, but I seriously cannot wait for my first giant, juicy cheeseburger! 7 days since my last treatment and I can feel the improvement in my energy level, however, the sore throat and heavy mucous is not going away as quickly as I had hoped. Next up, check-ups and testing to watch for reoccurrences. Here’s to a clean 2012!

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