katiecakes' Journey with Papillary Carcinoma, Thyroid Cancer

Survivor: Thyroid Cancer > Papillary Carcinoma

Patient Info: Finished active treatment less than 5 years ago, Diagnosed: over 6 years ago, Female, Age: 25, Stage III

  1. 1
    • katiecakes
    • Experience with Papillary Carcinoma...
    over 4 years ago
    katiecakes' Avatar

    Diagnosed

    Oh No

    I was only 17 years old, and had graduated less than a month before. It didn't make any sense to me how this would be coming into my life now, especially since i had NO symptoms! My primary doctor felt my throat during a yearly checkup, and suggested i go down to have a lump tested that she could feel. Everyone stressed how unlikely it was that it was cancer, but just to be safe I should double check. The results showed that it was in fact thyroid cancer, and i went to Boston to move on from there.

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  2. 2
    • katiecakes
    • Experience with Papillary Carcinoma...
    over 4 years ago
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    Surgery

    Procedure or Surgery

    I went into Dana Farber Caancer Center in Boston for my thyroidectomy, two days before my 18th birthday. The process happened very fast and felt like a whirlwind around me. The operation was intended to be a one time, take out the entire thyroid. However, with it's positioning too close to my vocal chords, they took out the left half on August 2nd, and the right half August 4th (my birthday!). Because I am a singer, my wonderful doctor took extra precautions, and i was hooked up to a special monitor that warned him when he was too close to my chords.

    Went as Expected: Disagree
    Minimal Recovery: Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Neutral/NA
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  3. 3
    • katiecakes
    • Experience with Papillary Carcinoma...
    over 4 years ago
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    Birthday

    Celebration

    After surgery number 2 on my birthday (August 4th 2010), we had a celebration in my hospital room for my big 18th. My parents came in, as well as my boyfriend and his mom, and two other friends. We had a small cake and talked, and it felt so nice having company. Throughout the day i got deliveries of flowers and balloons from family and friends. That was the best thing about this entire experience, and certainly made up for the sleepless nights being homesick.

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  4. 4
    • katiecakes
    • Experience with Papillary Carcinoma...
    over 4 years ago
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    Levothyroxine

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    Leaving the hospital on August 6th, I was prescribed Levothyroxine (among other pain meds for recovery) that was going to be my thyroid replacement for life. Because I don't have a thyroid, I lost the area that was the center of hormones. My endocrinologist explained how important it was to take this medicine, and if I ever became pregnant, he is the first person to call so my dose can be increased.

    Easy to Do: Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Agree
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  5. 5
    • katiecakes
    • Experience with Papillary Carcinoma...
    over 4 years ago
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    Pain

    Side Effects

    I did get to have sour lemon drops to suck on a couple times a day, which doctors think helps your salivary glands during the RAI. I had some throbbing pain in the salivary glands during the 2nd and 3rd days, but it slowly went away.

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  6. 6
    • katiecakes
    • Experience with Papillary Carcinoma...
    over 4 years ago
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    Internal radiation

    Radiation

    To prepare for RAI, i had to have a strict diet plan the full week before. This was unbelievably difficult while living in my dorm room, but i stocked up on Teddy's Peanut Butter, rice cakes, and almond milk. I met with the head of Berklee's cafeteria, and arranged for them to make me special plates every night of roasted veggies and a small portion of chicken (NO SALT!) I was given Radioactive Iodine on October 10th, a little over 2 months after the surgery. I went into Brigham and Women's and was given the pill to swallow with water. It was a little nerve-wracking having 3 doctors and my parents just staring at me, knowing in a few minutes i'd be radioactive. It was very cool to see how careful they were with the pill bringing it in though, in a heavy lead box wheeling it into the room. I went home and had to be isolated for 3 days (the whole long weekend of Columbus day). I got the entire top floor of the house to myself, but it definitely got lonely by the first night. My mom would bring my meals up and leave them at the door. After the isolation was over, we were instructed to thoroughly clean and disinfect the entire house, and dispose of my toothbrush/plastic utensils/pillow case etc. safely.

    Painless Experience: Disagree
    Minimal Side Effects: Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Disagree
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  7. 7
    • katiecakes
    • Experience with Papillary Carcinoma...
    over 4 years ago
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    Treatment for Granuloma on Vocal Chord

    Other Care

    During this process, I had moved into college between the surgery and RAI. In November, a month after RAI, I developed a very hoarse voice and pain when i tried to sing or speak. I got my chords scoped, and doctors found a granuloma growing on one of them. It was of good size, but decided it was better to try oral steroids than going back under the knife. After a few weeks of the steroid inhaler and two sessions in the Otolaryngology department, I was almost back to my full voice. At the next video scope, the granuloma was practically invisible.

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  8. 8
    • katiecakes
    • Experience with Papillary Carcinoma...
    over 4 years ago
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    Fatigue (tiredness)

    Side Effects

    It took an AWFUL long time to find the correct dosage for me. Already being on anti-depressants for 2 years, I felt complete fatigue and weakness most days. After months of playing with the dose and testing my Thyroglobulin count, I found the right one.

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