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 Post subject: A Cancer Journal
Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 14, 2014 4:16 am 
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Artisan Hunter
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Rather than flood the Rant Thread with my story, I figured it would be simpler to start my own thread and post updates here for any interested Petopians.

This first post will repeat what I've written before, only in further detail.

As some of you already know, I was diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer on September 4, 2014. As far as cancers go, I have what medical professionals would consider a "good" type of cancer in that the long-term survival rate is 90% and higher. My age (35) is also a good sign, as patients who are very young (less than 20) and much older (45+) have less positive outcomes. Slight rant about this ~ The fact that people out there consider thyroid cancer a "good" type of cancer really pisses me off! No cancer is "good" cancer! I still have to undergo surgery and radiation therapy (thankfully no chemo at this time), and put my body through hell, and they consider this "good"? I don't think so!

Anyhoo, I met with my surgeon to discuss the procedure and he informed me that the cancer has spread significantly to the surrounding lymph nodes. He will need to perform a full neck dissection at the same time as my thyroidectomy to remove all of it. The procedure itself is expected to take between 4 and 6 hours, so long as no complications arise, but I'll still need to stay in the hospital afterwards (3-7 days) so that I can be monitored thoroughly. I'll have huge scars running up and down both sides of my neck and a scar running across in the shape of a huge H - but it's better than having cancer so I guess I'll learn to cope. My cancer will then be staged and follow up treatment/physical therapy can begin.

About a month later, I'll be placed on a low iodine diet for two weeks in preparation of my I-131 treatment. Since the thyroid gland loves to soak up this mineral, any residual cancer will basically be burned (doesn't sound fun) out by the radiation. I'll be placed in isolation for 3 to 4 days so I don't contaminate my loved ones and pets. Anything I come into contact with will become contaminated and need to be properly disposed of. Once my isolation period has ended, I'll still be radioactive but I will not be toxic to others (still skeptical about this - I may make them keep me or try to make other accomodations for an additional week just to be on the safe side). A body scan will be ordered to ensure there is no more cancer left anywhere. If I recieve the "all-clear", I can resume my normal life and return for checkups every six to twelve months. If there is more cancer, I'll then undergo chemo and additional radiation treatments and/or surgeries.


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 Post subject: Re: A Cancer Journal
Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 14, 2014 7:51 am 
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Grand Master Hunter
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Damn...I wish you all the luck on this journey. It definitely isn't a good cancer but it could be worse. The fact that its spreading is what would scare me but I have faith that you'll make it through this :)

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 Post subject: Re: A Cancer Journal
Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 14, 2014 7:59 am 
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Oh God Niabi, take care of yourself and I hope it all goes smoothly! At least the prognosis is very positive, but you're right, that won't feel like much consolation while you're undergoing treatment. I hope you have good people around you to support you through this and I hope other that other places, like this community, helps you get through as well. I imagine there's going to be a lot of time when you're home and needing some outlet :)

*hugs*

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 Post subject: Re: A Cancer Journal
Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 14, 2014 8:16 am 
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Illustrious Master Hunter
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Well wishes headed your way. When is your surgery?

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 Post subject: Re: A Cancer Journal
Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 14, 2014 9:04 am 
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Grand Master Hunter
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Godspeed, Niabi, we're gunning for you, may you have a swift and safe recovery from this. *hugs*


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 Post subject: Re: A Cancer Journal
Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 14, 2014 9:17 am 
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Wishing you a full and quick recovery! And you know you can always vent here if you need to!

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 Post subject: Re: A Cancer Journal
Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 14, 2014 3:09 pm 
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First off :hug: to you. Secondly STAY STRONG trust your doctors /oncologist(s)!!!! No. No cancer is "good" but in the terms of cancers your diagnosis is good a type to have. Treatment sucks yes. But it is treatable (which you know) and rarely fatal (which you also know). I worked in radiation oncology for a year (I transferred to breast imaging) so I fully understand what the patients go through, what you'll be exposed too etc.
The absolute best advise I can give is yes have a HUGE support group. Especially with other cancer patients. This will help you a lot. Learn all you can. There's TONS of information out there. So much in fact try not to bombard yourself.
And please let us know how you're doing when you can. :hug: again.

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 Post subject: Re: A Cancer Journal
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 15, 2014 7:17 am 
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Thanks everyone :hug:

I received word that my surgery will be scheduled for Wednesday, October 8th. If there is a cancelation beforehand, my appointment will be bumped up to Tuesday, September 23rd. I'm really hoping for the September date; the sooner this cancer is out of me, the better.


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 Post subject: Re: A Cancer Journal
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 15, 2014 9:25 am 
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:hug: :hug: :hug: :hug: :hug:

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 Post subject: Re: A Cancer Journal
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 15, 2014 9:49 am 
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Stay strong and please, please eat well and keep your strength up :hug:


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 Post subject: Re: A Cancer Journal
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 15, 2014 10:52 am 
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Syleye wrote:
Stay strong and please, please eat well and keep your strength up :hug:


Eating has definitely been a challenge for me; that's for sure!

Before my diagnosis, I experienced month long episodes of vertigo (I'm not kidding either, my longest one lasted from May to about mid July) along with severe nausea and migraines. It was not fun! I couldn't keep anything down and would sleep pretty much all the time. In the process, I lost about 20-25 lbs. My appetite has improved a little since then but I have many days where the thought of food puts me off completely.

I try and make myself eat at least one meal everyday and fill the rest of the day drinking lots of water, apple juice, and Sprite.


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 Post subject: Re: A Cancer Journal
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 15, 2014 5:04 pm 
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Illustrious Master Hunter
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Would a smoothie be an option for you. You can pack it with nutrients (ex: spinach - can't taste it) and a drink may be easier for you to stomach.

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 Post subject: Re: A Cancer Journal
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 15, 2014 5:49 pm 
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Dewclaw wrote:
Would a smoothie be an option for you. You can pack it with nutrients (ex: spinach - can't taste it) and a drink may be easier for you to stomach.


I've definitely considered it. I love juicing! Right now, my husband treats me with the occasional Naked Juice whenever I don't feel like eating food. I'd also love to invest in an electric juicer before I go on my diet.


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 Post subject: Re: A Cancer Journal
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 15, 2014 7:24 pm 
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Illustrious Master Hunter
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For someone in your position, I'd recommend something like a nutribullet over a standard juicer. Smoothies retain more fiber and nutrients and your body needs all it can get. Plus there are some really awesome smoothie recipes out there. :)

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 Post subject: Re: A Cancer Journal
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 15, 2014 8:36 pm 
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Dewclaw wrote:
For someone in your position, I'd recommend something like a nutribullet over a standard juicer. Smoothies retain more fiber and nutrients and your body needs all it can get. Plus there are some really awesome smoothie recipes out there. :)


I'll definitely take that into consideration. Thanks Dewclaw!


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 Post subject: Re: A Cancer Journal
Unread postPosted: Tue Sep 16, 2014 2:38 am 
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The ninja is a good blender too. My fiance uses it for his smoothies. :3

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 Post subject: Re: A Cancer Journal
Unread postPosted: Thu Sep 25, 2014 5:05 am 
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The cancelation didn't happen and so it'll be another two weeks til my surgery date. Gives me more time to prepare I guess.

I wound up getting a nice, inexpensive blender so that my husband or I can make fruit and veggie smoothies during the surgical recovery and radiation preparation. Thank you again everyone for your suggestions. :hug:

I'm really going to miss eating sushi for the next couple of months. I can get by ok without having the rest of my favorites but sushi ... sushi just feeds my soul!

My mom mailed me some pajama sets (2) that I can wear while in the hospital ... because nothing is worse than walking around dressed in a paper gown with your ass hanging out the back :lol: ! She's also flying down from Northern California to be with me during and after the surgery. Our relationship hasn't always been a stable one but I do find myself comforted by the thought of having her near me during this traumatic time. No matter how old I get, I'll always need my mom in my life. :cry:

I also finished filling out my Advanced Directive and Financial Power of Attorney paperwork (in case anything bad should happen to me, it's smart to be legally prepared). Just need to get these suckers noterized and that will be that. :headbang:


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 Post subject: Re: A Cancer Journal
Unread postPosted: Thu Sep 25, 2014 11:53 am 
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Grand Master Hunter
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Good luck with everything Niabi! :hug: you sound more confident in yourself than before, which I'm glad to see (hear?). You're going to be fine! :hug:

Inspirational 'speech' over. I try to sound like I know what I'm talking about, but I generally have no clue :|

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 Post subject: Re: A Cancer Journal
Unread postPosted: Tue Oct 07, 2014 6:27 am 
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Tomorrow is the big day :shock: :o :? :| :cry: /emotion overload!!! I would be lying if I said I wasn't freaking the f--k out (I was going to say scared but then I realized it wouldn't represent a strong enough expression).

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

I'm going to ramble a bit in the next few paragraphs ... I just have so many thoughts coursing through my brain at the moment and I can't get it to shut up ...

1. A big part of me wants this to be over and done with but the other part is apprehensive of starting a life long journey with medications, doctor's visits, and therapy. The radiation treatment terrifies me greatly but I understand it is a necessary step in the healing process.

2. I'm not sleeping well (4-6 hours at most), yet I'm unbelievably tired to the extent of being lethargic. Appetite is normal for now so that's a good thing. My mood is all over the place; I'll go from calm and levelheaded to uncontrollable bawling and severe depression to cracking jokes to a compulsive need to clean and sanitize EVERYTHING to complete "bitch mode" to being loving and sentimental ... bah!

3. Note to husband: "RUN AWAY! Run away while you still can! For the love of all that is good and pure in this world, save yourself!"

4. Woah! I just had a really bad dizzy spell! That's not good!

5. Tired again now. Going to try and get in another nap.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

:hug: to everybody! See you all again post-surgery :mrgreen:


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 Post subject: Re: A Cancer Journal
Unread postPosted: Tue Oct 07, 2014 6:59 am 
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Illustrious Master Hunter
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I'm glad your appetite is good. Take advantage of that to feed your body things it needs to fight. And naturally your emotions will be all over. Just try to take things one baby step at a time and not get overwhelmed by the whole picture. If you need to talk, Petopia is here for you.

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