jollymon's Journey:

Survivor: Thyroid Cancer

Patient Info: Finished active treatment less than 5 years ago, Diagnosed: about 9 years ago, Female, Age: 66

  1. 1
    • jollymon
    • Experience with Thyroid Cancer
    about 5 years ago
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    Diagnosed

    Oh No

    Why me, I never even tried smoking, while many of my family members did, so why me. I exercised and ate pretty well, a little over weight but pretty healthy all around. Stressed from a divorce, but getting well past that.

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  2. 2
    • jollymon
    • Experience with Thyroid Cancer
    about 5 years ago
    jollymon's Avatar

    Surgery

    Procedure or Surgery

    I was hoarse, so I went to an ENT who found "something" and said go back to your Endo Dr. and have a needle biopsy. I went to her and she refused the needle biopsy, said that the ENT got behind me to feel my thyroid, right? So he wasn't feeling anything. She did an ultrasound and said nothing to biopsy, so drop it. 6 months later I went back to the ENT, he said "so how did the needle biopsy go" I told him she refused and he said very sternly, "Get a needle biopsy done"!! Yes sir! So I went back to the Endo Dr. and she said well okay, but if we find any abnormal cells you'll have to get your thyroid out. I said,"Well I have Hashimotos Thyroiditis anyway, which means my thyroid isn't working and is being attacked by my body, so what's the loss"? The needle biopsy was done and as predicted there were abnormal cells. I interviewed several surgeons because thyroid surgery is tricky, you can lose parathyroid glands which are important and you can also lose your voice if the surgeon doesn't know what he/she is doing. So I decided on an ENT with a speciality of facial plastic surgery as well. I asked all the surgeons how many thyroids they do in a year or month. He was the most experienced. He gave me a choice of losing all or half of my thyroid. I asked him, if I were his mother or sister what would he do, he wouldn't answer, but when I said take it all out, he said good because that's what I would have recommended for my family member. A week later I was in surgery, everything went very well, parathyroids were intact and my voice was a little scratchy, but fine. I did have a 9mm lesion on one side of my thyroid and 2 microlesions on the other. We discussed after care and both agreed that I would do I-131 radiation therapy. So back to my Endo. I was put on a really tough diet so I could starve my body of iodine so when I took the I-131 any remaining thyroid tissue would do a quick uptake of the radiation laden iodine and it would be killed. I didn't know that your thyroid can throw off tissue that can implant anywhere in your body. So now, 4 years and 2 thyroid scans later I am free of all thyroid tissue and doing fine. I will say that I wish someone would have said that I would gain weight VERY easily and not be able to take it off. I have recently gone off Synthroid and gone on Armour and I have lost 14 pounds. I feel much better on Armour as well. It is dessicated pig thyroids, but it works and I am very happy to finally be losing some weight.

    Went as Expected: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Recovery: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Agree
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  3. 3
    • jollymon
    • Experience with Thyroid Cancer
    about 5 years ago
    jollymon's Avatar

    Radiation

    When you do I-131 therapy, you first have to be put on a very stringent diet of avoiding any and all iodine. Did you know potato skins have iodine in them as well as dairy? So for 30 days I starved my body of iodine. There were 2 shots I took and some blood work to determine my iodine levels. The radiated iodine came in a very small pill. I took it and drove home alone because for the first 3 weeks no one could get within 3 feet of me for more that one hour total a day. I had to eat from plastic dishes and utinsels, flush the toilet many times after using it and even my pups had to go to stay with friends. The solitary life was a little hard, but I could talk on the phone and speak to my husband from afar. I had a funny experience. My surgery was done in a military hospital, so when I had to go back for a check up, I set off all the radiation alarms several hundred feet from the main gate! All traffic was stopped and I got out with my letter to let them know I was the culprit!

    Painless Experience: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Disagree
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  4. 4
    • jollymon
    • Experience with Thyroid Cancer
    about 5 years ago
    jollymon's Avatar

    Weight gain

    Side Effects

    I wish someone would have told me to be very careful of my weight, which I have fought with my entire life, because I did gain some weight and it has been very hard to lose it. No exercise or dieting helped. But now I take Armour instead of Synthroid and I am finally losing some weight. My voice is not the same for singing. I find My throat gets very tired while singing in church and I can't sing as well as before, small loss for being free of that cancer.

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  5. 5
    • jollymon
    • Experience with Thyroid Cancer
    about 5 years ago
    jollymon's Avatar

    Other Care

    My daughter insisted that I see an oncologist to be sure everything that could be done to free me of cancer had been done. He said I did two radical things, first getting out my whole thyroid and secondly getting the I-131. I don't agree with him. I felt that I had to do everything possible to be sure that this was erradicated from my body. No future surprises, please. I'm 4 years out this month of September and hope I never have to deal with this disease again!

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