First, I have to say a HUGE thank you to so many of you who shared encouraging words, sent some awesome books, cards, and care packages – did I sound defeated in my last post? I was a little bit for sure, but wow, each hard day I had, something seemed to arrive in the mail or my inbox that cheered me up. I never want to seem “woe is me” on here, so sometimes I hesitate before writing each post. But so many have shared that they enjoy reading these and it really encourages me to keep this up. Plus writing on here is cheap therapy for me!
I last left off with the decision to watch and wait or do radioactive iodine again. Each step we’ve taken in this journey up until now seemed so clear. The answer to whether or not to do a surgery, treatment, radiation, wait always seemed to be super obvious and “felt right.”
There has been none of that this time. My doctors and those closest to me did a good job at letting me have my space to decide, but they all were in favor of doing RAI. If that was the right decision, why did I not feel like it was right?
It’s been a struggle. I’ve prayed about it a lot and it never helped me feel better about doing RAI. But it’s hard to separate my own personal feelings of just not wanting to go through the huge life disruption that is RAI. Was it that I didn’t want to do the stupid low-iodine diet? figure out how to juggle my four children, work and commitments at home while being gone 10 days? was it the side-effects of the treatment? is it how this effects the number of children we have? or was it something more, was this really not the right step and God was placing this on my heart to say no right now.
I didn’t know – and then a lump in my neck showed up. About two weeks ago, one of the kids brushed up against my neck and I felt the “fullness” that I had felt for the 5 years I had tumors in there. I thought it was just in my head. But it wasn’t. Feeling around and moving around, the fullness was definitely back.
Last January at my scan, I thought it was so awesome to not feel the swollen-ness I had always felt because now the tumors were gone. But it was back now.
I really felt like it was in my head, because I knew thyroid cancer didn’t grow that fast. But was it something else? Was it just new lymph nodes flaring up for completely normal reasons? Or was something going on that needed to be addressed surgically and this is why I didn’t feel good about doing RAI?
After trying to be my own MD, realizing that is quite a waste of time, I called my endocrinologist who said to come in and get scanned.
So yesterday I went to UNMC and saw Dr. Goldner who did a complete scan of my neck by ultrasound. After being showed that one of the lumps I had been feeling was actually my jugular vein (whoops!), she did see another lump that I had been feeling, but it was NOT a lymph node and was not a mass. It appeared to be the way the scar tissue was healing. This is why I did not feel this in January, as scars usually start smooth and then can form a bump. Everything else on the scan looked good. It made us all more confident that the disease that is left is microscopic and RAI is the exact treatment to clear it up.
So, I would say after the appointment I went from feeling 0% good about doing RAI to 75% good (I suppose no one ever feels 100% about a treatment that you can’t eat cheese on!). But I am thankful I went in and saw my doctor and thankful that I feel confident about the decision to do RAI. I prayed for clarity…and I received it.
So today is Day 1 of the low-iodine diet. Yesterday was a sort of “fat tuesday” with lots of creamer in my coffee, runza for lunch, mcflurry for a snack, and Godfather’s pizza for dinner (with a dessert pizza – mmmm, butter! I froze what I couldn’t eat to enjoy when I’m done!). Today begins label reading, meal planning, and making everything from scratch.
I head to Omaha March 22 where I receive an injection for two days, and then receive RAI on March 24. I get rescanned March 31st where they will tell me when I get to come home (depends on how radioactive I am yet).
We are so thankful for family, here at home and in Omaha, that we will rely on a ton to make all this work. This isn’t anything we could on our own. Please pray for my kids (and husband!) as they have to navigate a week and half without mom. They will be in good hands, but it’s still a huge disruption for us.
And please pray that this WORKS! I have to be totally honest that even though I know this is the right next step, I am so cautious to actually let myself think this could be the end of the cancer. I’m praying for that TRUST thing I write about over and over again. I know He is good and will use this to bring about good for all of us, too.
Thank you for reading and I will post again soon – probably when I’m “glowing.”