I thought this would be the easiest way to update people on what’s going on with my thyroid cancer.
Bottom line, I still have it…cancer. It’s hanging out in two areas of my neck. But these spots haven’t changed in the last six months and my blood work shows that my cancer activity is DECREASING. This is good news!
Both of my doctors presented several options:
1. Surgery to remove these cancerous spots
2. Radioactive Iodine to kill these spots
3. Do nothing and wait and see if the cancer cells die on their own
I’ll take you through the options and which one we are doing.
1. Surgery: This at first seemed like the obvious answer. But this would be my FOURTH surgery in a year and a half. And after so many surgeries, there is so much scar tissue and other stuff to work around, finding these super small spots would be tough, and not even guaranteed to get it all. Plus, one of the spots is in my thyroid bed area, where my vocal chordes and other structures are, so to get that spot out would be very difficult and I risk permanent damage to my vocal chordes. I went two months without a voice before, permanent does not sound fun. So, we feel that surgery is NOT the way to go.
2. Radioactive Iodine: I thought for sure this is what they would want me to do…and I cringed thinking about it. Not only would this mean weeks away from my family again, but it increases my likelihood of developing other cancers later in my life. Not to mention puts off having more children for a quite awhile, if not forever. But since my cancer spots are big enough to see on the ultrasound, my doctors feel that radioactive iodine would not necessarily be good enough to knock it out. RAI is best for microscopic disease…something that you can’t see in an ultrasound. My spots are bigger than that. So, this is why RAI is not an option right now. Phew!
3. Do nothing: You’re probably thinking, why is this even an option? Leave the cancer in your neck? And there’s part of me that feels that way, but this is the option we are going with. And here’s why. My cancer spots haven’t changed the last few months – that means they are not growing and not spreading. Also, my blood work shows a decrease in cancer activity. This means that my cancer is stable. My doctors explained that sometimes radioactive iodine will sterilize the cancer cells and they won’t be able to reproduce. Hopefully this is what happened to mine, which means they will slowly die just like any other cell in my body.
The way we think about cancer, especially thyroid cancer, is changing. We no longer focus on knocking it out and getting it all out by any means possible. We have learned that we can manage it, and live normal, healthy lives with a few cancer cells hanging out. As long as I continue to be monitored closely, with scans, blood work and ultrasounds, there’s no reason why I can’t manage my thyroid cancer like someone manages their diabetes, high blood pressure, etc. I must be clear, this is something unique about thyroid cancer, and why this is the “good” cancer to get. There are some cancers you do NOT do this with. Thyroid cancer is something you can “manage.”
Okay, I know this sounds a little crazy, but my doctors are absolute geniuses and Neel and I have the utmost confidence in them.
So, for now, me and my cancer will just be hanging out together, but I’m praying it is slowly making its exit from my neck for good.
I hope this all makes sense. We are doing well with this news. For so long Neel and I have longed for the day where we can celebrate and say “We’re cancer free!” We have now learned that isn’t the day God wants us to wait for to celebrate. He wants us to celebrate now…celebrate everyday that we are here. So that’s what we’re doing.
Please pray that these cancer cells are dying and that they don’t decide to hangout with me for very much longer.