• Dealing with worry

    Asked by joannwinston on Wednesday, November 28, 2012

    Dealing with worry

    You all seem so kind. I had a hemithyroidectomy 3 years ago, the suspicious nodule was benign but they found an "incidental" 4mm microcarcinoma (papillary). My surgeon, Dr. Thomas Fahey at New York Presbyterian (he's chief of endocrine surgery and has done over 4000 , probably more now, thyoid surgeries, felt very comfortable leaving the other half of my thyroid in, due to the very small microcarcinoma. He's a very knowledgeable surgeon and I trust him. I've been monitored every 6 months for the first 2 years (US, FNA) and then skipped to once a year. I just had an FNA come back positive for papillary on the remaining side. I need to have a completion thyroidectomy. I'm so frightened that it may have spread. This is consuming my mind. I have a wonderful family and I want to be strong but I'm having such a hard time.
    I've never ever been on any kind of site like this as I'm kind of a private person. But I feel so alone and lost. I think there is a lot of wisdom out there and maybe, just

    14 Answers from the Community

    14 answers
    • ticklingcancer's Avatar

      Hey There Joann, it's ok to be scared. This is a normal reaction. The good news is that your cancer has a really good prognosis. I have a friend that had your exact same type of cancer. This was close to 10 years ago. Had her thyroid removed and is still to this day in tip top shape. In another discussion we talked about the "fear of recurrence". Is it the cancer that scares us or the treatment for the cancer? Keep your chin up. We'll do everything we can on here to give you as much positive reinforcement as we can.

      almost 4 years ago
    • Harry's Avatar

      I think worry is completely normal--particularly at this stage. You have just received bad news and don't know what the future holds. Maybe, when you get answers from the thyroidectomy, some of this will go away.

      Do you remember The Legend of Sleepy Hollow film on the Disney show many years ago? I was always terrified as Ichabod made his way through the woods. Once the Headless Horseman appeared it was far less terrifying. :-)

      Our worries are greatest when we don't know what to expect.

      almost 4 years ago
    • SpunkyS's Avatar

      Hi Joann.
      So grateful that you found this site and all the wonderful people resources here.
      Your worry is understandable. Please share that worry with others. It is easier to share it than to keep it inside. Holding you in prayer.

      almost 4 years ago
    • BuckeyeShelby's Avatar

      Hi Joann. Cancer is a scary thing. And, as Spunky said, it's easier to bear the burden by sharing it. That is what's so great about being part of this site. We help each other bear that burden 'cause we've all been there (or will be there). We also whine and tease and make each other laugh. I hope you find the support you need to get through the dark time of not knowing and that you'll get those answers soon.

      almost 4 years ago
    • Tracy's Avatar

      Hi Joann,
      Worry is something that comes with what I call this alternate reality of the big C. I have learned over the years to find any way I can to laugh, I like to go for long walks and to be with friends (I know its old school). I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in high school after I had been sick for about 4 years. By the time they found it I had lumps on my neck from it spreading. I am now 53 so it is no longer something to worry about, but of course I do. We check our partners for odd moles, our kids for odd lumps, its part of the cancer experience. Talk to your Dr about it, you might need meds or if you prefer to go the alternate I have learned meditation that really helps. I am available if you want to talk. Take care, I have been through it, Tracy

      almost 4 years ago
    • SueRae1's Avatar

      First let we welcome you to the site. I know how frightening this most be for you. Ask doctor Fahey about having a bone scan and/or PET scan - these tests can determine if the cancer has spread. New York Presbyterian is a great hospital, that's where I'm being treated, my oncologists were very open to 2nd opinions, why not try and get one, just having another set of eyes on your case will make you feel better.

      almost 4 years ago
    • Peroll's Avatar

      Joann, as others have said worry is normal and acceptable, but we all need to be able to deal with it so it does not consume us. I try and focus on the positive side of the situation. I have managed to hit the 5% probablility 5 times in a row. I expect your odds are much better. I have decided that I will be on the winning side of the probability no matter what the odds and I do my best to keep a positive attitude, even when the news is not what I was hpoing for. If you do the same most of the time you will be just fine and you will win you battle. Good Luck and let us know how it goes.

      almost 4 years ago
    • derbygirl's Avatar

      Hi Joanne and welcome. The fear you have is completely normal. The best way to deal with it is to talk to someone you trust. I know what you mean about being a private person because I am like that to. I have a trusted and caring friend who also happens to be my doctor that I can talk to and who has given me so much support. Also the people on this site are here for you as well and make it so easy to open up about what you are going through. They have been an enormous source of help, support,inspiration, and comfort to me. They made it easy for me to open up about my cancer battle and I know they will help you as well. Take care and stay strong.

      almost 4 years ago
    • jollymon's Avatar

      Hi JoAnn-I had thyroid cancer too. At 58 I chose, with some good research to have my complete thyroid removed. After surgery, pathology found one 9mm papillary carcinoma on the left side and 2 micros on the right. I also chose to have I131radiated iodine therapy. My endo said that the thyroid throws off cells and they can relocate anywhere in the body. I sure didn't know that! So the I131 kills all thyroid cells in your body regardless of where they are. Afterward you will need a thyroid scan. The whole I131 thing is a little difficult, having the take the capsule is not an issue, but the diet before needs to be followed to the letter. My endo said she had never seen anyone drop their iodine levels like I had, and being isolated from family and friends isn't a lot of fun, but necessary. You'll have to do an abbreviated version again before the Thyroid scan, but to know that all thyroid tissue to gone is well worth it. I was 4 years out in September with no problems. Sure there is the fear of cancer, you wouldn't be normal if you weren't frightened, but just get rid of that thyroid and move on. By the way, after the surgery, don't go on Synthroid but Armour instead. I gained a goodly amount of weight on Synthroid, but since switching to Armour I am finally losing it. Best of luck to you JoAnn, you will be just fine.

      almost 4 years ago
    • susie54's Avatar

      My suggestion would be to first discuss your concerns with your doctor and before surgery get a second opinion. I say this regardless of how good your Dr. is. I had 6 positive biopsies (fna) of thyroid cancer and had complete thyroidectomy. One month later I was told by surgeon that there was no evidence of cancer on pathology slides. So I went on complete thyroid replacement. Papillary carcinoma is one of the better types of thyroid cancer in that it is very slow growing. I wished someone would have suggested the second opinion to me at the time. I now have developed neuroendocrine carcinoma which metastisized to my liver (4 years post thyroidectomy). No one has been able to find the primary site. Go figure. I have a decent appreciation of what it is to live with the fear of the unknown. I got numerous medical opinions from different doctors before and after. I always have pathology samples sent out for second opinions now no matter how good the hospital is. I would also ask your surgeon about whether he plans to also remove any nearby lymph nodes and how he will determine that during surgery. One more suggestion..although very unlikely during this type of surgery...sometimes the parathyroid glands can get bruised when the thyroid is removed..(happened to me)..which sent my calcium levels down after I was discharged. Talk in detail with the surgeon about postoperative care. I believe that being informed as much as possible about what can be expected is best step in getting some control. My best wishes to you for complete recovery. Ps..levothyroxine is what I have been taking as hormone replacement and it worked fine for me..so what type of hormone replacement is another topic to discuss with your doctor.

      almost 4 years ago
    • mcecike's Avatar

      Joann; Stay strong, do not give up, I tell everybody to keep busy;
      Try not to worry. you know that you can Email me.♥
      Marie Cecile Trujillo

      almost 4 years ago
    • joannwinston's Avatar

      THank you "tickling"! I appreciate hearing from you. To answer your question, the whole thing scares me! Every bit of it. I feel like a big baby... I know there are worse things.

      almost 4 years ago
    • joannwinston's Avatar

      Thank you Tickling! To answer your question, I'm scared of all of it, every bit! I feel like a big baby.... I know there are worse things
      I really appreciate hearing from you

      almost 4 years ago
    • joannwinston's Avatar

      wow, you guys are so great, I think I love you all....

      almost 4 years ago

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