falling into november…

there are times when i sit down to write a blog-post, and everything comes together so easily. the photos, the words, the theme – thoughts are quickly captured and slide into words for you to easily understand. then, at other times, i spend days thinking and thinking and thinking about how to share what i’m thinking about…

i am stunted by a brain that’s working faster than speech allows, so i just stop. and stutter, and i don’t make any sense.

there’s so much I want to write, and i’m stuttering a bit.

our post-hurricane weather has been calm, sunny skies. yet, our town is a bit of a mess. fallen trees, sagging electrical lines, leaves everywhere… the sun hasn’t shined quite enough to dry-out the deep sogginess left behind…

my brain and body are feeling the same way.

so, dear readers, what i want to talk with you about today — is your thyroid. my thyroid. how many of you KNOW where your thyroid is and what it does? if you know where it is, and what it does, i’m guessing you’ve had challenges with it — because most people i talk to — if they don’t know anything about their thyroid, it’s because they haven’t had any challenges with it. which makes sense, right?

well, right now — let me tell you in case you don’t know. the thyroid gland is more or less shaped like a flat butterfly, just below the adam’s apple, on the neck. you normally can’t feel it {unless there’s a problem}. the main job of the thyroid is to put out thyroid hormones, which are a pair of chemicals that float through the bloodstream and, control metabolism.

{this reference is for the lady readers} just like a self-breast-exam – right now – feel your neck for any “thyroid nodules” you may be unaware of. ย this is just a precaution for you, because i had never checked…

right before we left utah and moved to boston i had a final physical with my doctor there — on this particular day my doctor thought my neck looked faintly swollen and checked it – sure enough he found a nodule, a fairly large nodule — mine measures almost an inch-and-a-half in diameter. my doctor told me nodules were very common and to go forward with my move and find a doctor in Boston asap, and get it checked…

fast forward: 15 months later — i have a new doctor who checked it, she sent me to get an ultra sound – the ultra sound didn’t look good so I went in for biopsy #1, the results were non-determinate. because: the cells were “clustering” which is a sign of cancer cells, but the other tests were not getting enough information to determine if the nodule is cancerous or not. i go to a different doctor/hospital for biopsy #2, same results. i decide to continue eating whole foods + lots and lots of hot yoga + juices cleanses… and after a lot of research, waiting, and deciding to go in for biopsy #3… my endocrinologist tells me straight-up i am too young to have a nodule this size, it does not look good, regardless of what i do, we can’t find out anything else until we take it out.

so, after i have spent months trying to avoid the surgery, my nodule and the right side of my thyroid are being removed in about two weeks. a couple of weeks after that i will find out what happens next.

so, you see, like the storm that hit the east coast – i’m living in this stuttering-messy-zone of “what-if and i-don’t-know.” until the surgery is over…

i have friends who have already had this done, and everything went smoothly. however, i’d love advice – from both sides. it should be known that my surgeon has warned me that everyone and their dog is going to tell me what to put on my scar – and i can’t take any of your recommendations. apologies. my surgeon says i will strictly use what he gives me. so, please give advice on anything else! what should i expect afterwards, what do i eat? any natural methods for healing quicker that don’t apply to the scar – i’d love to hear your thoughts.

by the way, massachusetts is beautiful in november. xoxo.

{photos by me, jane rhodes, taken in my driveway.}

27 responses to “falling into november…

  1. Oh Jane, I don’t have any advice, just wanting to let you know that the reason I LOVE your blog is because to me you live wholeheartedly.

    I always look for opportunities to recommend Brene Brown’s TED talk on the power of vulnerability any time I can. Have you heard of her? Thank you for being brave and sharing what you are going through.

    We are thinking of you. Love, Kelly

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCvmsMzlF7o

  2. I love your blog and how much you share with your readers. I graduated in health education and my focus has always been on mental health. Your positive outlook on life; your enthusiasm; your zest for knowledge will see you through this. Hugs to you!!! Sending you love and a surprise.

  3. Hi Jane. I have been where you are – in limbo. At age 33, after 3 years of doctoring, I was finally diagnosed with breast cancer. The hardest part was not knowing. I know that probably sounds crazy, but after I knew, I could move forward with my treatment plan. They treated my disease very aggressively due to my age. I had chemotherapy, a mastectomy, and radiation. Throughout the whole experience, I was surrounded by my wonderful family and friends who were with me every step of the way. I know from reading your wonderful blog that you too have a strong support system. It was very hard for me to discuss my situation as I was going through it because I think that I was in denial then and I applaud you for being able to do so. Please know that you will be in my thoughts and prayers. I wish all of the best to you. You seem to be a very positive person as I am and I know that is so important! I believe that more than half the battle is state of mind… You got this girl!!

  4. jane! i’m praying more these days, with all the awful news going around (it seems that there’s always awful news going around though, so i should really make this a permanent thing…). anyway, i am surely going to add your health and this surgery to the list. and your peace of mind… yes! that too.

    afterwards you are well deserving of a cozy spot next to your already-up christmas tree! and some tea!

  5. Jane-I’m so sorry for all you are going through, you will be in my prayers that all will go well with your surgery.

    Love,
    Mary

  6. Jane – I went through this two years ago, had my surgery Dec ’10! Luckily there was no cancer, but they ended up removing my whole thyroid. No matter what they say, it will take awhile for your hormones to adjust to the new thyroid drugs after your surgery. I am finally feeling like I’ve regulated my levels and can be a human again. Good luck and let me know if you need any advice.

    Amy

  7. Thinking of you! I have had problems with my thyroid, had to have an ultra sound about 2 years ago. The results were fine but my DR was still worried about the size of my thyroid. I haven’t had surgery on my thyroid so I don’t know exactly what you’re going through, but I’m sending good/positive vibes your way! Sorry I don’t have any advice! Thanks for sharing this post though, it has encouraged me to go back to my DR since I’ve been feeling like I should, but have just been lazy about it!

  8. I literally just got off the phone with my doctor who told me the nodule I had aspirated 5 years ago is growing back. Awesome. That darn thyroid! Sending lots of good thoughts, prayers be peace your way. I may very well be in your shoes in the next few years. I’ll know where to look for advice.

  9. Thinking of you, Jane! My mother had her entire thyroid removed due to cancer and originally, she was on a lot of medication to help her body keep up. However, 10 years later she’s cancer free and (I believe) down to merely one pill per day. There are a bunch of foods she still cannot consume but all in all, she has a very typical diet. Also, her scar is not very visible at all. I forget it’s there. However, my cousin did not take such good care of his thyroid scar post-surgery (you can tell he was doing too much with the stitches in and it ended up splitting open slightly) and unfortunately his is much more obvious.

    Best of luck to you; I hope everything turns out okay!

  10. Hi Jane. I follow your blog. I am a long time friend of Becky kimball and that is how I stumbled on your blog. You seem like such a great person. I went thru the same thing last year. After many years of check ups and ultrasounds I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer last may. I had my thyroid removed in June, and did radioactive iodine treatment In july. I too had to go thru many doctors, and 3 biopsys to get an answer. I live in the LA area so i had many resources at my fingertips. At one point saw the head of the UCLA endocrinogy department.If you would like to chat, I would love to offer any advice or comfort! Becky has my contact info or just shoot me an email! you seem like someone who well educates yourself, and that will do nothing but help!!
    xoxo jen

  11. Hi Jane. I’ve had moderate-severe Hoshimoto’s Disease since I was 15. My thyroid has always been enlarged and I’ve had numerous ultrasounds but never any nodules. My thyroid basically doesn’t produce any hormones. I know nothing about cancer and I’m crossing my fingers that removing it prevents that possibility completely for you.

    But I know about hair-loss cause I just lost 90% of my hair due to my thyroid, trauma and who knows. And I will understand and hold your hand if you need to EVER talk about that. And I do know they will put you on thyroid hormone for the rest of your life. I’m super crazy and particular about what Dr tests my thyroid. I strongly recommend a BIO-IDENTICAL hormone replacement. I could talk your ear off for hours about why. I take Armor throid. Synthyroid is a very common synthetic thyroid medication FYI and is the most common one that’s prescribed. Sometimes Docs don’t like or prescribe bio-identicals too. Do your research, cause you will be on it forever and I know you like to be more natural etc.

    xoxo

  12. Hi Jane,

    I love your blog and have loved following you for a while. Your post made my heart speed up because it felt like I was reading my own story all over again. What a roller-coaster you are on. I remember it so well. I was SO sad at first when after many ultra-sounds/biposies the Dr said the nodule was too large and I needed to have it out. Long story short there were MANY nodules they removed along with my entire thyroid (one was the size of a raquet ball and one like a large finger…YIKES). Luckily no cancer!

    Being in my late 20s and the thought of taking a pill EVERY SINGLE DAY for the rest of my life was daunting…but not as daunting as the thought of walking around with cancer and not knowing. It has taken a while to regulate everything but to be honest I have had very few side effects even when my levels were off.

    My scar is still red and somewhat noticeable (1 year later) but it really does not bother me. My surgeon did say to massage it as it was healing to try and keep it loose…I didn’t do great at this as it king of grossed me out and when I swallow you can notice it..maybe this would have helped?

    Recovery for me was not bad. I was surprised at how sore my throat was when I woke up and will warn you and any visitors the drain is a little nasty (if you have one). I took it easy for the weekend and then eased back into my regular routine (I had a 2 yr old and 6 week old baby when I had the surgery). My throat felt tight for a while (especially when drinking) and I didn’t feel like I could project my voice for quite a while but in time it all went back to normal.

    Anyway, it is so nice to have people to talk to that have been through this so if you have any questions, feel free to email ๐Ÿ™‚ You will do great and it will be such a relief to be done with all the guessing!!!

  13. I always love reading your blog (I don’t even have kids and I’m 22! – not really your avg audience) – it’s always a fun mix of crafts, photos, recipes, and thoughts. I read this post just the other day and was so surprise because my mother, who is in her early 50’s, is going through the exact same things (it’s weirdly very common apparently). She does not know all of her test results but will be getting her thyroid out as well as her parathyroid (sp?) out after Thanksgiving. It all is very scary, but luckily these things tend to turn out well, and it’s always better to err on the safe side.

    Wishing you well with your surgery and I’m happy you have a wonderful family to be there for you!

    Suddenly City

  14. Lots of prayers your way, we love you and your family. You are such great, kind, loving friends. Good luck we wish you a speedy recovery.

  15. Hi Jane
    I hope all went well. I love your photos and your creativity.
    I also had to have the right side of my thyroid removed due to large nodules that were atypical. Thankfully all is well and there was nothing really wrong. I am not on any medication either as the left side is working for me. Are you on medication. My surgery was in August 2010, I had a three year old boy, and my daughter was 3 months and obviously breastfeeding. Thankfully my parents were visiting from Argentina (we were in Australia). I think my growth in my thyroid had to do with limited iodine during pregnancy.
    Now we are in Patagonia, Argentina and we just moved here a few months ago. Love your blog. By the way I did a very similar advent calender for my kids here like yours and I just realised this as I just stumbled on your blog.

  16. i’ve been to your blog before and have loved it, and was reminded to visit again via design mom and as i was scrolling through to catch up when i saw this post and thought i should at least do the shoulder-to-shoulder solidarity thing. well, there is not much to say other than ditto to all the above. but that you should always feel free to reach out and ask any questions or your follow up becomes complicated. i’ve been through nodule-to-cancer-to-spread everywhere and treated with everything traditional and holisitic and if you ever need any sort of advice or ideas – even from a perfect stranger – i am available. just email me. best wishes and best of luck getting your hormones balanced. ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. Jane,
    I haven’t been on any blogs for EVER. I am just catching up on yours and with tear filled eyes I want you to know that you are in my thoughts and prayers. I love your little guts.
    -Jesicca

  18. Hi Jane,
    I just found your blog after doing an internet search since i have a surgery scheduled for July 3. I am in the same position you were–not knowing if my nodule is PTC or not. I am feeling better about all the unknowns from reading about how people like you have overcome this disease. Thank you for sharing.

  19. I just got diagnosed with this yesterday. my sister has been reading your blog and told me to look it up…thank you for posting this, reading your experience has made me feel better. right now i’m freaked but hopeful….any other words of wisdom you have i would welcome!
    hilari

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