follicular variant of papillary thyroid cancer

for about thirty-six hours now, i have been thyroid-free. i am also one step closer to being cancer-free…

how am i feeling? a little sluggish, but good. the drive home from the hopsital was interesting. it always takes longer than normal for anestheisa to wear-off on me – so, amidst the nausea, dizziness and my husbands driving {everyone who has driven in a car with him knows what i am talking about} i had a somewhat induced case of car sickness with one honey, pull-over i’m going to puke!

other than that moment, i feel ok.

thyroid cancer via seejaneblog

last year, after my second biopsy results confirmed “undetermined” in regards to my thyroid nodule being malignant or benign… i was very apprehensive about what direction to go in. my first reaction was to attack this with a hollistic approach. i just thought, well, it’s time to be healthier. i typically eat good, i will eat better. more hot yoga. more running, more exercise. after a few months of this, i came to discover, both through speaking with my endocrinologist and through conducting all kinds of independent research, as of today in modern medicine there is no diagnostic tool, except surgery, for determining whether these cells are cancerous or not. in the case of surgery, the thyroid gland has to be removed (either half or all, depending on biopsy results on each side), so as to enable doctors to figure out exactly what is going on.

so, even if i would have chosen to fight thyroid cancer in a hollistic way, there would be no way to confirm if one: the nodule and thyroid had cancer to begin with. and two: i would never know after months and possibly years of eating clean, exercising, if the cancer had gone away. the only sure way of knowing that the nodule was malignant, and that it was gone is to have it removed. this is all due in part to the thyroid being so small and in such an area that makes it difficult to test.

i’m sharing this with you because as i’ve finished my second surgery, i’m thrilled to be moving forward and also fighting a feeling of self-disapointment. disappointment that i wasn’t able to overcome this without surgery.

have you ever felt this way? happy with where you are, disappointed in the route you took?

i greatly admire those who have cured themselves from terrible diseases with a natural path to healing. and maybe it’s the unrealistic perfectionist within me that wishes i had done this some other way, but regardless, i keep feeling a slight disappointment that i chose to have surgery. you can also replace “slight disappointment” with guilty, embarrassed, or ashamed. like, i took the easy way out.

on the flip side, again, i am truly thrilled to be moving forward. i started my new hormone meds today and i continue to wait for my super powers to kick in! these past few months left me constantly feeling more fatigued than normal, more lazy, more emotional, my immune system has been dragging, and i have high hopes that my hormone replacements will help cure some of this.

i learned about para-thyroids after surgery. evidently, i had one that collapsed during surgery. each human has four, and they are about the size of a rice grain. tiny. these para-thyroids control the amount of calcium in the blood and within the bones. so, my surgeon tucked the para-thyroid gland that collapsed in a muscle and it will regenerate itself and should start working again. amazing, right? the human body is amazing!!! i am also on a crazy high dose of calcium and will have a blood draw later this week to monitor how i’m doing.

i also have one more final treatment, possibly later this spring or early summer – radioactive iodine. iodine has a magical characteristic of only being attracted to thyroid cells. so, the radioactive iodine will go in and kill any malignant cells that were possibly left behind in surgery, making me completely cancer free. {!!!!!} the only downfall of this is that legally i am considered “radioactive” for three days and can’t be around any other humans. so, it will be a three day isolated hospital stay. obviously, my laptop and i, and a good book or two will be my companions when this takes place. until then, i am almost cancer free

my scar looks better than it did after my first surgery. it’s not as swollen, but it is a tad longer now since it needed to be longer to get into the left side, and i’m a bit more bruised. the bruising was caused by re-cutting the scar, the skin is tougher to cut a second time around. a bit ironic, yes?

all of this, plus the snow falling outside makes me dream of summer and warmer weather – i am connecting the two. 2013 summer means warm days at the beach, baseball games, it means i should be back to feeling like myself, it means all of this will be in the past…

are you ready for spring and summer???

{past posts about my thyroid cancer here, and here.}

13 responses to “follicular variant of papillary thyroid cancer”

  1. Thankfully the surgeries are now behind you and you have overcome this.
    I had half my thyroid removed after a “inconclusive result” in August 2010, my daughter was 3 months old. I had the surgery and thankfully there was no cancer. I kept breastfeeding at the hospital and after i got home and until she was nearly 3 years old. I felt a little disappointed too that I had not seeked out an alternative route but that is the only way technology and medicine can tell if the thyroid has cancerous cells or not. My other half thyroid is still in me, it always a bit swollen as I think throughout both my pregnancies my thyroids nodules have grown and because perhaps I did not have enough iodine during my pregnancy. I may have to have it out eventually too. 🙁

    Glad to hear your parathyroids will fix themselves because you do not want to be taking calcium supplements for ever. However if you do need to increase calcium in your diet you can increase the amount you have by eating things like chia seeds and sesame seeds and green leafy vegetables. But I guess you should always consult a doctor or dietician. It is all very intrinsically connected the thyroid hormones, iodine and calcium.
    My mother also had radioactive iodine treatment while in Australia (she never had surgeries) and her thyroids just shrunk away. Now she takes thryoid medication for life but she is always full of energy and a very active grandmother.
    Good luck and summer is around the corner (here winter is around the corner booo) I will keep reading about your beautiful family.

  2. My mom went through this exact same procedure years ago and she’s fine now! She’s limited on the salt she can eat, among other things (soy, I believe?) but as far as what she can do… there’s no difference. In my mind, the approach you took was the smartest one. I think things can be cured naturally, but not things like cancer. Why risk it spreading? Good luck in your recovery!

  3. Thanks for sharing. I know you will feel great really soon, give yourself time maybe even a year, be patient with your little perfectionist self even though it’s difficult. I always go through a mini depression when I run into health problems and I think it’s normal. Don’t be afraid to try different thyroid medication brands. I find sometimes they work for 3 months but then I feel sluggish again (I recommend Armour Throid or Natur Thyroid). Happy healing and hugs!

  4. this is kind of lame, but i really love the parable of the laborers in the field. i like that the message basically is…it doesn’t matter how you got there, even if it was at the last minute. as long as you show up.” it makes people like me who are kind of slow feel better, but in your case, perhaps it will just give you a new perspective. so glad i found you on instagram…you are totally inspiring, and i wish you all the best in your new cancer-free life!! xx

  5. I adore you Jane! I hope your recovery kicks into normal and you enjoy life without thinking about this all soon. I do have one suggestion if you have not looked into it. Bioidentical Hormones. Suzanne Sommers book The Sexy Years is an excellent start to researching this. Good luck! xoxo

  6. keep up the positive attitude jane and things will be alright. just came across your site as for some reason I thought of ‘kuya dusty’randomly (‘kuya’ means big brother in Fil.). and of course i can also clearly remember your photos on the wedding invite we got back then. my family met him and kuya mitch when they were serving as missionaries in the southern part of the phils. time flies and truly it is inspiring to know you have a solid and loving family – i remember dusty being so warm and friendly and that aura is also in your kids’ eyes and smiles on the photos you have posted. do take care and God bless the whole family. regards to kuya dusty!

  7. Dear Jane…you are amazing…as always you have inspired and delighted me with your adventures. I pray that your health is restored and you find your energetic,healthy and happy self and you and your beautiful family enjoy a warm and adventurous summer.
    Life is precious and full of miracles and I’m thankful for the blessings you have been given. HUGS

  8. My mom had thyroid cancer 2 years ago and is cancer free as well. Congratulations! We learn the most about ourselves and how precious life is in trying times.

  9. Hi Jane (er … Franny!)

    I found you via Instagram. I just wanted to offer my email if you ever had any questions before you do the Low Iodine Diet and the radioactive iodine treatment. I had my thyroid out for cancer when I was pregnant went through the treatment when my daughter was 2 months old and am about to have a scan. Anyway! I’ve figured out some easy snacks for the diet so you don’t starve or die of boredom.

    Regardless — I’ll be praying for you! Solidarity.

    Your blog is gorgeous!

  10. Such a good choice to have it removed. You are so healthy and dedicated and I have no doubt that you could have been diligent with the holistic approach but you could never be confident with the results it would have yielded. You have such a beautiful family – it would never be worth the risk of living with cancer and the possible side effects.

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