Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Good News

I just wanted to share some news that I got yesterday that is making me very happy. In September 2000, I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. I had 2 surgeries and some radioactive iodine and was done treatment, but had to continue with follow-up tests because thyroid CA has a not small recurrence rate. I was seeing my endocrinologist every 3 months, then every 4 and currently every 6 months. Lots of bloodwork. Daily thyroid hormone pills. And the really bad part, yearly whole body scans. These involve very expensive shots and swallowing tiny bits of radioactivity to locate any wayward thyroid cells that may decide to go rogue. The bad part is the test itself, somewhat like an MRI but with a large, flat metal plate hovering 1 inch above your face for 60 to 90 minutes. And I have severe claustrophobia in that situation. The last time I had a scan I had to take 2 Xanex and 2 benydryl to get thru it and I don't remember large parts of the day after the test (though I do remember the test). These tests freaked me out to such an extent that the claustrophobia started seeping into other parts of my life, airplanes, elevators...just thinking about the test could make me start shaking. But I had to do it, just to be sure.

And now for the good news (remember, there is something more to this post than my renegade cells and subsequent neuroses). I had a doctor appointment yesterday and she told me I may be completely done with the scans! My thyroglobulin levels are perfect, I'm nearing the 5 years mark (within which most recurrences occur) and therefore no scans! Another doctor appointment in 6 months, then I go yearly and I'm almost like a real, live person again.

I knew I was worrying about recurrences and about the damn scans, but until I was given the (almost) all-clear, I didn't realize how much energy was being diverted to this. A formerly invisible weight has been lifted almost entirely from my shoulders. It's almost over and the worst parts are in the past.

Thank god the technology exists, but...fuck you whole body scans, I'm glad to be rid of you.

Fun Thyroid Facts
*Bill Gates, Joe Piscopo and Isaac Asimov all had thyroid cancer. And some chick who was on Survivor.
*Tipper Gore and Rod Steward had suspicious thyroid lumps and surgeries to remove them, but the lumps were benign.
*Chief Justice Rehnquist has thyroid cancer, but it appears to be a much more serious version then what I had.
*Synthroid and other thyroid hormone replacement pills are the second most commonly prescribed drug in the US (the first is Premarin).

And here is a great web site. Remember folks, Don't Forget to Check Your Neck.

5 comments:

Creative Genius? said...

Congrats! I am so happy you are TCA free! We should celebarte... how about a drink... or a visit to a LYS... either way it's a celebration!

Jen said...

Oh I am so happy for you. I agree with Al, a celebration is definitely in order.

Mel said...

This is excellent news. And Alison has a good idea! Name the time and place and I am there. Here's to 6 months of Doctor-Free existence!

Kirsten said...

So happy about your good news! A celebration is definately in order. What a relief, huh!? Take care, Kirsten

Stephanie said...

Woo woo! A new year, and wonderful news too :D Congratulations, and may those nasty scans stay away forever!