Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Hi, loves! I just got home after a massage to ease my knotted neck muscles that have been torturing me for the past week. My massage therapist worked her magic and I feel better already. 

I have some more amazing news... I got to marry the love of my life on April 5, barefoot on the beach at Las Caletas, Mexico. It was the most perfect, stress-free, intimate ceremony I could ever have imagined. The wedding planner took care of everything and all we had to do was show up for the boat ride to our beach. Coral rose petals scattered the aisle that I walked down. I wore two white lilies in my hair, and carried a bouquet of the roses and lilies. During the ceremony Jesse and I surprised each other with our vows we wrote ourselves. Our dearest friend, Jamie, came with us and filmed the special day. We had a professional photographer as well, and it will take about a month to get our photos back. I can't wait to get them and share them. We will have a reception in Friday Harbor in September to celebrate with our friends and family.

Our return home has been full of joy as we share the news with everyone. I'm so excited to get to call Jesse my husband and become a family. I'm also grateful to have him by my side as we go through this next phase of cancer treatment. 

I met with my surgeon yesterday and we have scheduled my surgery for April 30th. It seems so soon, but I guess that means I can move on with life that much sooner. He sent me to get a CT scan after my appointment yesterday to make sure that there aren't any other tumors he'll need to take out during the surgery. I felt like an old pro during the IV insertion and scan. I can tell you exactly which vein to use; I know exactly when to swallow (or not) and when to hold my breath (or breathe).

Recovery from surgery last year wasn't too bad. I was very tired for the first few weeks but the pain was manageable. The fear I have is of the risks of operating on the precious area that is my neck - around the life source, my carotid; around the voice box, my larynx; around my calcium regulators, my parathyroids. And I have flashbacks to coming out of surgery last year and the panicky feeling of not being able to breathe as the oxygen mask was pushed onto my face (for some reason my oxygen saturation was dropping) and the nurse who kept yelling at me not to cross my legs or I would get a blood clot (but the position I was in was very uncomfortable for my back!) and not being able to see anything because my glasses were with my family (I'm rather blind without my contacts in!). But this time around I'll know what to expect and try to remember to remain calm through my first moments of waking up. On the bright side, my surgeon promised to fix my scar with this surgery because it hasn't healed very well in the front. He also was very reassuring that he operates around the carotid all the time, which made me feel enormously better. 

I also returned home to a stack of 8 hospital bills. Now that it's a new year, it means a new deductible (and out-of-pocket limit) to reach. It's frustrating that it starts all over again. When I start my new job in July I will have much better insurance, but putting off treatment until then is not an option. The tumor isn't going to go away on it's own. I really, really appreciate the financial help I received from you donors last year, and anyone who wishes to donate again, it would be very much appreciated. I hate asking for help, but it's overwhelming right now to see how fast the treatment cost adds up, and how enormously expensive each procedure is. 

Much love to all of my friends and family... I can't wait to share my wedding photos with you.



Sunday, April 1, 2012


Sorry it has taken me a few days before I could write this, I had a lot of processing to do and also I've been busy getting ready to go to Mexico!

My biopsy came back positive for more cancer. Like I mentioned in my last post, this means more surgery, another radioactive iodine scan, and possibly more radioactive iodine treatment. I'm disappointed and frustrated but I'm trying to remain positive. We knew that the recurrence rate for this type of cancer was high, and my thyroglobulin never got below 0.9 so we knew that there was always some cancer remaining in my body. However, I know I can get through this all again with the incredible support system I have!

I have a consult set up with my surgeon at Virginia Mason on April 17. He is only in on Tuesdays and since I'll be in Mexico for the next two Tuesdays and I'm not about to change my vacation, I'll wait until the following Tuesday. This is the same surgeon who did my thyroidectomy and dissection last year, and I really trust him.

The biopsy was a terrible experience because the tumor is behind my carotid artery and they couldn't figure out how they were going to get to it. I was lying on their table, all prepped, while the doctors argued about how to get around the carotid and to the tumor. They had to decide the route they were going to take before they gave me my IV sedation. The attending warned that if they hit the jugular they could probably stop the bleeding, but it would be bad if they hit my carotid. I nearly jumped off the table and said to forget the biopsy - I would rather not bleed out on their table! But I had an IV in my arm and decided I'd rather just get this over with and trust that with ultrasound guidance they would be able to pass by the artery. They were considering aborting the procedure and asked me accusingly who authorized the biopsy. I was livid because they had the ultrasound report and could see for themselves what they were here to do but obviously they hadn't read it before prepping me. Finally they were able to put enough pressure on my neck to separate the veins and get to the tumor, and at last gave me my IV sedation, and the procedure was over before I knew it and I was safely on my way to recovery.

Knowing the challenge they had in getting to the tumor with the biopsy makes me nervous for the surgery, but I really trust my surgeon. After my consult I will know more about what to expect and schedule my surgery date. 

Now, off to Puerto Vallarta for some sunshine and relaxation, and all the margaritas I can drink! I'll be back on the 11th.