Monday, August 19, 2013

Ten months after a total thyroidectomy

I suppose I should post a cancer update.

My ten monthiversary of my total thyroidectomy was yesterday. I was so busy that I completely forgot about it, which--after these past ten months--feels awesome that I can simply forget about my cancer.


I've been feeling really great since the middle of June. June was a hard month and I found myself almost unable to walk because I was so fatigued. I needed to lean on my loves when I walked anywhere and I couldn't get off of the couch. My heart was racing and palpitating which led to needing to wear a heart monitor to make sure my hypocalcemia wasn't causing my irregular heartbeat. I felt miserable. And then my doctor increased my Synthroid dose from 125 to 150 and I quickly felt a huge improvement. These days I've got enough energy to go running! At one point I was taking 130-something pills a week. Now I am down to 56 measly pills per week!

And my scar is barely noticeable:


Here's a progression of my thyroid scar from six days after surgery, to two months, six months, and today at ten months.


My current plan of action is just to wait. The tumor was removed last October, I did RAI in May, and now my doctor said I don't need to come back until next year for my whole body scan. I don't know, I feel like I should be checking up sooner, a year feels like a really long time to wait especially since my breasts showed a lot of iodine uptake on my last scan. Because of the RAI I have an increased chance of breast cancer and leukemia and because I had just weaned Katie when I had the radiation I have an even higher chance of developing breast cancer. Maybe I'll call my endo in a few more months and request a blood test to check my thyroglobulin levels--if my TG levels are rising the cancer is growing--if anything it would give me peace of mind.

I've been cheating a bit. I'm supposed to take six calcium pills a day and I've only been taking two before bed. So far I am not feeling any tingling or heart palpitations so I'm hopeful that my parathyroid glands are finally recovering. Beating the hypocalcemia would sure make life a bit easier but I'm pretty sure I will always have to take calcium supplements.

The worst part about living day-to-day with cancer is taking my Synthroid. I take it first thing in the morning and cannot eat for 30 minutes after I take it and am not supposed to have calcium--like milk--for four hours afterwards. So when my husband wakes up and makes a nice surprise breakfast for the family I have to take my pill and wait before being able to eat. It's a small price to pay for a long and healthy life, but still it's frustrating to be so hungry and not be able to eat anything.

My endocrinologist says I should keep my stress at a minimum, get plenty of exercise, and eat healthy. Yesterday I ate cookies and milk for breakfast and lunch. I was busy running around, but still, inexcusable. Tasty, but inexcusable. It's hard to realize that I still have cancer when I feel so great. I'm no longer in pain, in isolation, or in the hospital. I'm so thankful that this year is almost over. I was diagnosed with cancer one month to the day after I turned twenty-nine and in two weeks I will be turning thirty. Twenty-nine was the worst year of my life thus far--aside from giving birth to my sweet little girl--and I'm praying for a clear WBS next year.

In the meantime I plan on living.