Monday, October 23, 2006

The good news...

Well, the doctors tell me that this is the best kind of cancer to have, if you're gonna have one. Most people don't die of papillary thyroid cancer. Even the 20 year survival rate is about 95%. Most people with this type of cancer end up dying of something other than the thyroid cancer. They call it a "curable" cancer. Thyroid cancer is very rare in someone as young as me (I'm 26). Even when I went for the biopsy, the radiologist said he didn't expect it to come back positive for carcinoma.

So I will have surgery to remove the tumor, my thyroid, and lymph nodes in my neck. Then I'll undergo radiation (during which I'll have to be isolated in the hospital, since I'll be radioactive! :( ok, that really freaks me out...). I'll have to take thyroid medication for the rest of my life and have yearly scans to watch for recurrence. So this will be a lifelong nuisance, but it most likely won't kill me. After I make it through the next few months, I should be able to live a relatively "normal" life.

I'm still in shock, but I'm feeling ok about it most of the time. I've accepted it, I guess. I mean, I'm terrified, and it's always on my mind, and sometimes I feel like I want to flip out again, or throw up, but .... my prognosis is very good.

I'm really worried about how it's going to affect my lifestyle. How long will I be unable to lift weights, or run? What will it be like being hypothyroid after the surgery? Will I gain 50 lbs? Will I lose my hair? There's no telling until I start the recovery process.

Right now I am trying to find a surgeon. I've been recommended a very good one, but my insurance HMO doesn't cover anyone outside the network. It's open season right now, so I am going to switch to Blue Cross Blue Shield, (I was going to switch anyway, before I was diagnosed) but the change won't take effect until January 1. I'm going to get an appointment with this surgeon and find out if I can delay the surgery until then. It's going to be at least 6 weeks before she can get me in anyways, so it's only a few more weeks. This is evidently a very slow growing carcinoma and I've read that people can wait on surgery in most cases. Of course, waiting till after the holidays, my sanity will certainly be in question!

My friends and family have been a real source of strength for me in this. I'm lucky, and so thankful for that. I don't feel hopeless. Just scared, and shocked. This is one of those things that's like, it'll never happen to me.

Meantime, I'm trying to go about my business. Adam and I went with some friends of ours, a couple who lives in our apt. building, to go hike Sugarloaf Mountain up in Maryland yesterday, and I lifted legs this morning. :) Life goes on, I suppose, even with cancer.

As for Adam...... that's a post for another time.... !!

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