Thursday, March 24, 2016

Lots of good news and a little bad

        As all my Facebook friends know, I have been dealing with some thyroid issues for a while.  I feel perfectly fine -- excellent, in fact.  But I still have to go for check-ups in Winston-Salem ever since I had thyroid cancer 18 years ago.  Two years ago, I had a recurrence of thyroid cancer in a lymph node in my chest.  How in the world it got there I do not know -- after 16 years of good reports.  So, after a biopsy, I had a massive dose of radioactive iodine to kill it.  All seemed good -- the thyroglobulin (tumor marker) number went way down from 180 to 5 and I thought all would be happily ever after.  But this year the number started creeping up again -- 10 then 26 then 39 -- and it is supposed to be less than 1. So we started the process again -- stop taking my thyroid replacement medicine, go on a low iodine diet -- no dairy, no restaurant food, nothing from the ocean, etc etc.  Mostly ate egg whites, unsalted nuts, cauliflower soup and oatmeal. Yum.  A few days before the scan date, I found out that I could eat oreos, so that changed my attitude a lot!

       My scans were scheduled for this week, I took a tracer dose of radioactive iodine and they scanned everything and found nothing.    
Good and bad news -- good nothing was there, but bad that they didn't find where it was hiding.  So today I went for more scans -- they shot radioactive sugar in my vein for the PET scan and wow! Getting my sugar fix was never like that!! Then they did a ct scan, so I have spent a LOT of time strapped onto a bed with machines taking pictures of me.  And here is the little bit of good and bad news.  Bad is that they found cancer again in the same spot.  Evidently the zap 2 years ago did not completely kill the thyroid cancer, and it has once again started simmering in there. The good news and maybe bad, too -- is that the dr decided not to give me the radioactive iodine again because it did not completely do the trick last time -- and it messes with my salivary glands so I I don't have enough spit these days. (Good news -- I don't drool on my pillow)
       So, since my dr, who TEACHES endocrinology at the medical school, has not seen anything like this before -- I am special!! -- he will make an appointment with a surgeon to see if he wants to biopsy it or try to pluck it out or shoot radiation at it -- or somehow get rid of it.
      Good news -- I can eat whatever I want and don't have to stay away from people or wipe everything down with Lysol.  AND I get to go to church for Easter!! And there is a praline in the freezer with my name on it.! I already stopped at MacDonald's and got a big ol milkshake on the way home.
      But here are the Godwink parts of this.

  • While we were in Florida last month, our cousin Terri gave me a CD with a song called "God is On Your Side" that has been a perfect song for this time.  The words say "You can make it.  Don't quit.  God can handle it. He's on your side." I've been listening to it all month, but it was REAL good as I drove home today.
  • A couple months ago when Sara started her diet, I ordered her a bracelet that said "I will never give up"  It didn't come for a long time, so the company sent another -- then the first one came, too, and they said just keep it.  So I will be wearing it.     
  • I was listening to a sermon by my nephew-in-law, Zach Maddox this week, and he was encouraging church people to share their concerns, and not just keep it to yourself.  So Facebook has been full of an army of prayer warriors.  And my choir.  And my church.  and my chorus. And my school friends. As I was trying to lie still on that cold little table during all those scans, it was a great comfort to know how many people were praying for me.
  • As I was driving home, I was hoping to see my music minister and friend, Jimmy P. but it was 4:30 when I drove through Granite Falls.  I decided to take a chance -- and there was his truck, all alone in the parking lot.  He normally would have left at 2:30, but today he had some things to do and was still there.  I wanted to tell him the news that I would be in the choir Sunday -- no radiocactive iodine -- and also tell him the not so good news.  He is such a comfort -- he prayed for me right there and I left feeling a great peace.                                                                      So, my dr and I are highly optimistic that this thing can be taken care of. I AM NOT WORRIED!!  There will be more tests and doctor visits, but it is just an inconvenience -- the cancer is obviously not very aggressive since it has been stewing for 2 years and it took a ton of scans to even find it. But I thank everyone for praying -- no sad faces -- it will NOT kill me!!             Lets celebrate Easter -- He is alive!!


  1. Ann you are a true inspiration to me. Thank you for letting us know. Love you and can't wait for you to visit. Valmead misses you

    1. I love my Valmead friends and I count it a privilege to be remembered and prayed for!! Thank you, Annette.

  2. From one cancer survivor to another, you will beat this! Hang in there and enjoy your Easter! Thanks for sharing your story with us!

    1. You have been an inspiration to ME! Thank you, Claire -- see you next weekend!!

  3. Praying it's completely gone this time