Saturday, April 30, 2011


Hello my lovely friends & family...

I have been a bit disappointed the past couple of days because my doctors have advised that I do external radiation after I complete my RAI treatment. They say that it will probably decrease my chances of recurrence by about half. But, the risks of radiation scare me: Hodgkin's lymphoma, burns, problems with swallowing, damage to my vocal chords... If it were to a different body part I likely would not be so against it, but my neck is such a vulnerable location. I want to wait until my post-ablation scan (which will be one week after my RAI treatment) to see how hard my doctors push for me to do radiation and make a decision then.

But, on a happier note, through family connections I was able to get an appointment with an oncologist at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, who is supposed to be very good and came highly recommended from the chair of medicine at UW. Thank you, Uncle Roger and Aunt Noel! That appointment will be this Friday, May 6th. I am considering transferring care there. Even though my insurance will cover at a lower rate, I think for the less common cancers it is important to be treated by the very best and at a cancer hospital. I am anxious to hear this doctor's opinion and see how I feel about this hospital. Already, just talking with the coordinators who helped me get scheduled, I feel that this hospital is far more compassionate and caring than Virginia Mason. These people are used to dealing with cancer patients and I felt like they really understood me. 

Now, off to enjoy this beautifully sunny weekend which will include a healing massage and hopefully lots of time at the park with my dog! 



Wednesday, April 27, 2011


I just got back from a great and very challenging yoga class and feel so balanced. I genuinely think that yoga helps people to heal.

After scathing about the naturopath the other day, I should add that he did leave me with one inspirational comment. He guessed {correctly} that part of me was wondering why I try so hard to take care of myself just to get cancer anyway. He said that we can control a lot through diet and lifestyle, but some things and environmental factors are beyond our control. He told me that one thing he knows is that if I didn't do all I do to take care of myself, my cancer would be a lot worse and I would heal much slower. I have reflected on this a lot over the past two days and have really come to peace with the fact that I have cancer. The "why me? why me? what the f***?" that kept running through my head before has transformed into a gratefulness that I was raised with a conscience for health and a drive to learn and an openness change and knowledge. Thank you to every person in my life who has fueled those traits.

Peace, love, and vegetables,

Lisa Rose

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Good news

Today Jesse took me to my first post-op visit with my surgeon, Dr. Glenn. The doctor was thrilled with my healing and cleared me to go back to the gym, even though he had originally thought I'd have to take a month off from exercising. He also said I don't even have to come back for my second post-op visit! Jesse and I were so happy to finally get some good news.

Dr. Glenn did push for me to do external radiation - he says that my risk of recurrence is high and of course we want to avoid further surgeries. The official recommendation will be decided upon tomorrow, but he did advise that I at least have a consult with a radiation oncologist.

I have been alerted that the "donate" button on the sidebar does not work. I'm looking into it and if any of you computer nerds can help me out I would appreciate it :)

Wishing you all a wonderful rest of your week.



Monday, April 25, 2011


Hello friends,

I hope your weather isn't as miserable as it is here! The sun is such a tease, giving us that beautiful Saturday and now it's back to rain, rain, rain, as far as the weatherman can see.

Today my darling friend Cherl took me to my appointment with a naturopath. The appointment really didn't feel productive to me. After a long review of symptoms, he told me that I'm really healthy (duh, I knew that), and that I'm doing everything right. However, he wasn't a huge fan of the vegan thing and told me that I am not getting and absorbing enough minerals. Isn't it amazing that he knows that without even checking my blood levels?! {Which are all within normal range, by the way!} After citing claims from the USDA about the decreasing amounts of nutrients in vegetables and plants {who funds the USDA? why, the dairy industry, of course!}, he wrote me a prescription for a multivitamin and a calcium with magnesium supplement. Perhaps it couldn't hurt to take these supplements {or could it?}, but I don't think I needed to see a doctor to tell me this. If anyone knows a vegan naturopath in Seattle, or at least one who is knowledgable about vegan diets, please send me info! He did share good information about the dangers of high levels of antioxidants in the diet during radiation & chemo. So I will have to take a vacay from my delicious daily green juice during that part of my treatment. 

You are all so amazing and supportive. My inbox has been flooded with e-mails and referrals, and I apologize if I am slow to respond. Between all of these appointments and working full time I haven't been as good about writing back as I should be. I really, really appreciate all of your support and information you share.

Lots of love!


Sunday, April 24, 2011


We just got home from a busy weekend in Bellingham. It started off with a Reiki treatment yesterday, and I really feel like a different person after that. I don't know how to describe the effects, but as my dad said, "there is something to it." After Jesse & Alex headed up to Baker for some snowboarding/skiing, I took Zen & Zeus for a romp through Whatcom Falls park all the way to Bloedel Donovan, where they got to run around off-leash like maniacs. It was gloriously sunshiny and warm enough to be in just a t-shirt and jeans and boots. I'm certain that those three hours in nature provided much healing as well. That gorgeous day in Bellingham certainly made me miss living in that city! The weekend also included some girl time of pedicures with Madi and lots of opportunities for the guys to sample beers from different breweries. 

If you haven't yet seen Water For Elephants, I highly recommend it. It was a beautifully done film and the story evoked so many emotions. Although, I am not sure that I could watch it again; it is too painful to see animals treated the way they are for circuses. 

This week will yet again include lots of appointments: tomorrow I am going to see Dan Labriola, a naturopathic doctor at Seattle Naturopathic Physicians, who specializes in cancer. He was recommended by one of the providers that I work with. I am looking for a coordinated treatment plan of both alternative and conventional medicine and I hope that he can help me organize and devise a plan.

Also up this week: a post-op appointment on Tuesday with my surgeon, Dr. Glenn (I am hoping to get the okay to get back to my normal exercise routine!), and another acupuncture treatment on Thursday. The conference where my doctors will decide on my treatment plan is on Wednesday so I hope to know more about what they recommend by the end of the week. I think I will have to start carrying around my iPad just to keep track of my schedule!

If you use gmail you can follow my blog by signing up on the right hand nav bar, otherwise you can enter your email address to have updates emailed to you. I'll update as soon as I know more about the plan of attack! Thanks for being part of the team :)



Friday, April 22, 2011

Scan Results

The scans didn't come back as perfect as I'd hoped for. There is a small lesion on the upper lobe of my right lung. The plan is to wait and compare it to the scan that I will have right before my RAI treatment. If it has changed in size, my dose may be adjusted. I'm hoping it's nothing.

On a better note, my acupuncture treatment was definitely worth it. I could feel the needles being inserted but it wasn't painful. As I laid there after they were all in place I went into something like a trance. I wasn't asleep but I wasn't really awake either. I definitely feel better now, and I am going to continue it to help keep my energy up during treatment.

Happy Friday! Have a great weekend. We are headed up to Bellingham this weekend and I am going to have a Reiki treatment tomorrow morning with an old family friend.



Thursday, April 21, 2011

Scan Day

Today I have a scan of my chest to check my lungs. I am feeling very confident that it will be completely negative! Because I can't have iodine (in preparation for my RAI treatment), the scan will have to be without contrast, but hopefully they will get a good enough view to tell me everything looks good.

I also have an acupuncture treatment scheduled today. I have never tried it but my massage therapist recommended this person because some of her other clients have had great results. I have started reading Life Over Cancer by Keith Block, which discusses an integrative approach to cancer treatment, using both Western medicine and lifestyle changes, and what he calls "time-sensitive treatment." 

I will probably have my CT results on Monday. I'll keep you updated!



Monday, April 18, 2011

Asking for help

So many of you have asked what you could do or how you could help me. Even with health insurance, fighting cancer is still crazy expensive! Along with your prayers and thoughts, any amount you want to donate helps so much! I am so very grateful for all of your support.




Hello! I'm back to work and recovering from my surgery very quickly. My energy is coming back and I am itching to get back to the gym, but my doctor advised me to take a whole month off from working out. 

My pathology results came back, and it was a bit different than we expected. We knew it was papillary cancer and had metastasized to the lymph nodes. The report showed that part of the tumor was poorly differentiated carcinoma, which is rare, more aggressive, and less responsive to treatment. Since it is rare, especially in a patient my age, my doctors aren't sure yet what treatment plan they will advise. I will do radioactive iodine for sure, and they moved that treatment date up a month so it will be in June. Before that I need a PET scan to determine if it has metastasized to my lungs (the most common first destination for thyroid cancer). My doctors are presenting my case at a multidisciplinary conference on April 27, and I will know more after that as to what further treatment will be needed, ie, external beam radiation, chemo, etc. I do plan to get a second opinion before proceeding with anything. I am also sampling every alternative treatment that I can: hypnotherapy, naturopathy, massage therapy, chiropractic, acupuncture, Reiki...any other suggestions? 

This certainly wasn't the news that I was hoping for, but my heart tells me that everything will work out just fine. Thank you all so much for your support; you have been amazing!


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Kick Cancer's Ass!

A cancer blog, how original! Well, this is my attempt to keep everyone updated on my progress and hopefully an outlet for all of my crazy thoughts as well. 

The first step in my treatment, a total thyroidectomy and right neck dissection {removal of the lymph nodes} was completed on April 7. I came out of recovery to find tons of friends, family, & coworkers there to support me and shower me with flowers, presents, & love. I think there was enough pink glitter...see the photo below! The good news is that Dr. Glenn feels he was able to remove all of the cancer and all of the lymph nodes that showed up on my CT scan without having to cut any muscles or nerves. We are still waiting on my pathology report.

Now I am well on my way to recovering and learning about living without a thyroid. My scar goes all the way from one side of my neck to the other, but I think it will heal into a thin line easily disguised with some pretty scarfs. For now I am taking levothyroxine, a thyroid hormone. In May I will have to go off of this and start a very low-iodine diet to begin step two in my treatment - radioactive iodine treatment. After my blood levels are sufficient, meaning enough of the thyroid hormone is out of my body {and I'm feeling like a slug, gaining weight, etc}, I will take the radioactive iodine orally. After this I will be radioactive so you'll want to keep your distance! {hehe}

A few days after the RAI treatment I will finally be able to have a full-body CT scan to see if the cancer has spread anywhere else. The iodine will show any "hot spots." This will be in early July. Then we will go from there to decide what further treatment or monitoring is needed!

Check back for updates as I have them!