Thursday, July 08, 2010

Endocrinologist Appointment and the Plan

Yesterday I went to my endocrinologist's office for my 2 week post op appointment in order for him to get updated on my condition and for us to lay out a plan as to where to go from here.
What he said was that he was pretty surprised that my condition turned out to be cancer because it was so atypical. I really had no symptoms from the cancer other than the lymph node issue and most of my symptoms were stemming from my thyroid being so hyperactive. However, he did tell me that there was a lesion (cancer) on half of my thyroid so I'm wondering if that may have been what started the hyperthyroid symptoms to begin. I'm in the process of researching that one. My doctor did seem a little miffed about the fact that there were 24 lymph nodes in all that were removed and only 1 tested positive for cancer. My response to this was what you would probably expect me to say. I told him, in no uncertain terms, that I had a positive diagnosis of cancer and that I wanted to be sure that I didn't have to repeat this surgery and have all the cancer removed. He just looked at me and finally agreed that I was probably right. Hm.
Anyway, my endocrinologist said that he felt that I was probably "cured" (his word, not mine) but if I wanted to do the radiation treatment with the radioactive iodine then we would do it. I told him that I wanted to do it and do it as soon as possible. Since we are going to go ahead with this. The plan is as follows:
  • On the 23rd of July, I will take my last pill that is basically giving me the thyroid hormone that my body needs. This is the part that I am dreading the most because even if someone has a diagnosis of hypothyroidism, they still have some native tissue that is secreting the thyroid hormone that they need, but I have none. So, once I stop the medication I'm afraid that I will be a lump. The best part? I will be off this medication for nearly 3 weeks. Great.
  • The 30th of July, I will go back to the endocrinologist's office where I will have blood drawn (by the way the word endocrinologist must mean vampire in some long ago language) and have basic blood panels checked as well as a pregnancy test performed.
  • August 2nd, I will check in as an outpatient into Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas where I will be given a rather largish dose of radioactive iodine in pill form. I will simply swallow the pill, be evaluated for a little while and leave. The kicker with this part of the treatment is that I have to be in complete isolation from my children. My doctor told me that I could go home but I would have to be completely isolated from Caleb and Piper, meaning that they couldn't even be in the house with me. Seeing as it would be much more difficult to move them out than to move me, I'll be getting a hotel room where I will be staying for 48 hours, only leaving to get food and go to work.
  • On the 6th of August I will go back to my doctor's office to have my total body scan. This is where they will determine if the cancer has spread to any other part of my body. This would normally be a scary part of the test except for the fact that whatever cells take up the iodine will immediately die and I will excrete them in my urine. So, basically if the cancer has gone anywhere else the pill will take care of it. Once again, this leaves me wondering why they haven't come up with a treatment like this for other cancers...
  • The morning of the 7th, I will take my first Synthroid, the synthetic thyroid hormone that I will be on for the rest of my life.

So, that's the plan unless there is some snafu that happens, but we're hoping it doesn't. I was so hoping that we were going to be able to do this sooner, but the earliest that this treatment can be done after surgery is 5 weeks and the 2nd would be right at 5 weeks post op. We are just praying for correct timing on this and some other things that are happening in our lives that I can't really elaborate on here quite yet. If the timing is thrown off then we are looking at some expenses that we really don't need nor are we prepared for. I think that all of us are just ready for this to be done and over.


Shannon Glass said...

We are praying for you and your family. Praise God for such an awesome group of doctors and nurses who are treating you!

Michele Vaughn said...

I'm an Internet stranger (and fellow papillary thyroid cancer patient) who stumbled upon your blog while doing some research. It sounds like you have already had quite an experience and are staying strong through it all -- congratulations. If you need more support as you prepare for the RAI treatment (going hypo, doing the low-iodine diet, scans, etc.), I highly recommend either visiting an in-person Thyroid Cancer Association group or joining the online Yahoo group -- you can find info about both at

In the meantime, best of luck with your treatment!

Mathis Family said...

Thanks Michelle! I appreciate it!