datestampWednesday, October 15, 2008

what happened to your neck???

if you've met me, you may have noticed two beautiful scars on my neck. although i do have to say that they are fading well, there was a time when i felt as though i should have had bolts on either side of my neck and my hair should have stood on end, somewhat like this:

i got those battle scars from a lovely little cancer called Papillary Thyroid Cancer. i've been told by a few doctors how 'lucky' i am to have this cancer. i never felt very lucky in the thick of it. i felt fat, ugly, bloated, a bit crazy....and very, very scared. in addition to my amazing surgeons and the best endocrinologist on the planet.......i found much peace, support, and useful information through THYCA. now i do feel lucky.

i'm lucky and blessed for lots of reasons. in the thyroid department, because papillary thyca is very slow growing: i have had almost 100 lymph nodes removed in 3 surgeries and about 25 had cancer, the BIG one was about the size of a racket ball.....people, we're talking a racket ball in my neck...and you couldn't even tell! i could tell there was a bump on the side of my neck and what i thought was post-pardum depression wasn't getting any better and my baby was 18 months old. i knew that very slowly i was packing on pounds and couldn't ditch them. i knew that i was really mean to my husband, wicked witch mean. i knew i just wasn't myself. i felt like i was being sucked into a black hole...i was unraveling.

then i found a doctor who was rude and told me that none of what i was complaining of had anything to do with my thyroid. OKAY, i didn't know a lot back then and i was so depressed i didn't question it, but i was also feeling very i did get mad. and when the diagnosis came out thyroid cancer, i fired that doctor and told him exactly why. unfortunately, i had already let him cut my neck up. then heavenly father led me to an amazing husband/wife team mentioned above who did the second surgery, which was 10 hours long and very challenging...i just slept the whole time. spanky and i are superstars on their website, check it out.

that amazing duo led me to Dr. Duick, he's a rock star. he's kept my thyroid levels stable, thus returning me to somewhat my old self. he's done ultrasounds on my neck and discovered what another couple of docs missed...more cancer. we got that taken care of with surgery #3 and now my blood tests show that there is only a microscopic amount of it left...nothing that can be operated on. dr. d gave me the thumbs up earlier this year to go for baby #2...i wanted to kiss him for that news. and i'm under no delusions that i wont have to deal with this again, but for now i feel i can breathe and that does a lot for one's peace of mind.

so...blessed not to have had to go the chemo route eventhough the radioactive iodine wasn't too fun, to have been led to the right people to take care of me, to have a family that propped me up and put up with my temporary insanity, blessed to be alive.

another wonderful resource is

check your neck, your skin, your breasts, your everything...if something is out of whack, you don't feel right, whatever...keep asking, demand help and respect. educate yourself and work with your doctor. eradicate things and people in your life that zap your energy and self worth. and hang in there, things get better and the black hole, you'll realize is really a tunnel as you come to see the light.

i realized when i was organizing and cleaning up the blog that i didn't even have a THYCA link, shame on me. they understood what was happening first hand, they made me feel like i wasn't alone. i never wished for breast cancer by a long shot, but i did envy the sisterhood and support of the sea of pink i saw during this time of my life. THYCA helped with that a lot, because having thyroid cancer is very lonely. when you have a RAI treatment you have to be isolated, you have to go off the meds that help you feel normal and you can't eat anything with iodine in it (doesn't sound hard...try not eating anything processed, anything with iodized salt, anything with red food sucks, trust me.) i joined the yahoo groups, participated in live chats and read the website from 'cover to cover.' i still take comfort in the fact that if/when the little bit left behind decides to take center stage again, i have a safety net of people who really understand.

now you know.


Hannah said...

I think you should say it was Vampires when they ask about your neck. :) Then you can segway into a conversation about Twighlight... But seriously thanks for the information about checking yourself. I had no idea that we need to check our neck too.

Burgess said...

Hey Misha! First I want to say I'm sorry (TRULY) for being the worst visiting teacher EVER. Secondly I wanted to say that I read your blog frequently and everything that I read about you makes me like you even more. I seriously want to be just like you. We're going to be friends soon. As soon as I get off my hiney and make things happen!!

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