Sunday, September 25, 2011


First, let me begin by apologizing for my long absence from blogging. Life has been full of fun & wonderful activities with family & friends, like a trip to Southern California in my dad's plane, kayaking in our new boats, concert-going and salsa dancing.

And now for the much-anticipated results: my scan looked good! My thyroglobulin level was 1.1 (0 = no evidence of cancer), but since it's headed in the right direction and the radiation takes a full six months to work we are hoping that in three months from now it will be 0! It is such a relief to at last have some good news. My doctor was shocked by how good the results were this soon, and I honestly believe that my focus on diet and healing has a lot to do with the impressive amount of cancer fighting that has occurred in my body.

My TSH level was 0.01, and although I need to be hyperthyroid for suppression, the goal is 0.1. We lowered my hormone dose and I was feeling better already within a week. It's much easier to think and function. And only a few months ago my TSH was over 60... Now I know both how it feels to be extremely hypo- and hyperthyroid. There is not much point in longing to be normal again since I know it can't happen, but I'll appreciate feeling less hyper than I have been once my thyroid levels go down.

So for now the plan is to recheck my blood levels in three months, and if they are good then I can wait until the spring for my next scan. I'll have an ultrasound as well as a radioactive iodine scan (yuck!). I'll have to have those frequently because of the high rate of recurrence with this type of cancer. But in the meantime, I've got three more months of playtime before worrying about the next test!

Happy Autumn!



Sunday, September 4, 2011


I have been craving water the last few days...not to drink, but to be in. Waking up yesterday the first thing I wanted was a long bubble bath, and today all I desired was a long swim in the lake (which ended up being floating and treading), followed by a very long shower that I couldn't make myself get out of. 

My dreams the last two nights have been all about water: first, on Friday night, dreaming that the lake was flooding and we had to get inland. We were scrambling to put all of our belongings in waterproof bags, and collecting the dog as we zoomed away from the flood. Then last night my dreams were of everyday occurrings yet it all took place in the water. Not in the sense of drowning, just that we were in calm, still water. 

I did a quick online search to find some dream interpretation sites, and found that dreaming of flooding can indicate repressed emotions that are overwhelming me, or that certain worries will soon be swept away. According to,
"To see water in your dream symbolizes your unconscious and your emotional state of mind. Water is the living essence of the psyche and the flow of life energy. It is also symbolic of spirituality, knowledge, healing and refreshment. To see calm, clear water in your dream means that you are in tune with your spirituality. It denotes serenity, peace of mind, and rejuvenation."
I'm not sure how to translate all that to my life, but it does seem interesting that water is such a focus for me at the moment. Any thoughts? 

Tomorrow we are off to Leavenworth to float the river. Zeus even gets to come because they have special tubes just for dogs!



Saturday, September 3, 2011

Scan date

Wishing you all the most lovely long weekend. We were planning to go camping and sailing on Orcas Island, but instead elected to stay home since we've been gone the last few weekends. We live at the beach, and what better place to spend the long weekend than the beach! My plans are simply to lounge about reading good books and daydream and perhaps swim in the refreshing water of Lake Washington. But of course I should do those boring things like chores and laundry as well. 

Yesterday brought some news of which I have mixed feelings: my scan has been moved up to this Wednesday (!) and my follow-up appointment with my endocrinologist to Friday. I've been blissfully enjoying these months between scans, with the September 19th scan date looming over me like a ferocious deadline. And now that scan will be much sooner than anticipated. While I stew in my worry and apprehension, part of me is relieved to know the results sooner. Also, my insurance will be changing as of October 1st and knowing what to expect in the next year as far as healthcare costs will help me to select the right plan for me. I assure you that cancer patients know every little nook and cranny of their insurance plans. It's dizzying to sort through it all. I spent some good time with a calculator this week figuring out what plan would be most beneficial. 

Last year when I had to choose which plan to be on I selected the high-deductible HSA because I only went to the doctor but once a year for my annual check-up. Why on Earth would I have considered spending a small fortune each month for a lower deductible plan? Little did I know that there were poisonous cells multiplying out of control in my neck. But it turns out that with all of my treatment this plan has actually worked in my favor - after reaching my out of pocket limit (which is still sky-high), my insurance covered everything at 100%. My $60,000 radioactive iodine treatment at an out-of-network hospital? Covered completely, no questions asked. Thank Buddha. If I had selected the lower deductible PPO plan, I would have had to pay high copays for every doctor visit, scan, and day in the hospital, even after reaching my out-of-pocket limit. It's sad when you care more about the out-of-pocket limit than the deductible when selecting your insurance plan.

That said, I am so very grateful to have health insurance, and a job that pays for it. Healthcare is staggeringly expensive, and even if you think you're the healthiest person on the planet, you never know what could happen to you tomorrow. As someone who works in healthcare, I see how little we are reimbursed for the services we provide, yet insurance keeps getting more and more expensive. What is the answer to affordable healthcare? I wish I knew the whole answer to that question, but I have an inkling that it begins with some huge lifestyle changes for a large percentage of the population. 

I think prevention will get our society a long, long way. I have a lot of faith in people, and I truly believe that with proper education people would be willing to make some changes. But I know how rare it is for a doctor to be honest and frank with their patients. It's rare for a doctor to say, "look, you need to lose weight, and this is how you're going to do it." 

I highly recommend the film Forks Over Knives. It is an eye-opening documentary about health and diet. You think a plant-based diet is extreme? Well, what do you think about doctors sawing open your chest to perform a bypass graft because your arteries are clogged from all the cholesterol in your diet? Is that not more extreme? 

Okay, I'll stop ranting now and get back to daydreaming in the sunshine! May you all have a perfect weekend full of adventures, relaxation, and learning. I'll keep you updated as soon as I know my scan results, which probably won't be until after my appointment with Dr. Failor on Friday afternoon.