Sunday, September 23, 2012


Our family has been through a lot the last few years. Sometimes it seems like one thing after another, and I wonder when it will ever end. It feels unfair, and when I hear people complain endlessly about what seems trivial to me, I get so frustrated. But you know what? Everyone has painful stuff in their lives. I constantly catch myself judging people, or making assumptions. I'll have a patient at work who is mean and grumpy, and I think, what did I ever do to you to deserve to be treated like this? But then I hear their story, and it seems like too much pain for anyone to bear. Of course that doesn't excuse their attitude. But, I think the difference between happy people and unhappy people is the way they look at their situation. You can make the best of it, or you can be sour at the world for the rest of your life. Kris Carr said it best: "I got news for ya. Life is a terminal condition: cancer patients are just more aware of it. The real question is how many of us will choose to truly live."

Lately I've often found myself daydreaming about a life with a big house and my dream car, a life where the endless hospital bills just seemed like pocket change, and I could afford to try whatever cancer-curing program I wanted, or not worry about taking yet another day off work for a doctor's appointment. But then I realized that daydreaming isn't going to accomplish much, and really only leads to feeling more sad that my reality isn't what my dreams are. 

So instead, I've decided to love and be satisfied with the life I have. There really is so much to love about it! I honestly have the most amazing people in my life. My home may be small, but I live on the beach, in my favorite neighborhood of Seattle. Though I may cause hardship for my coworkers when I have to miss more work, they always seem to forgive me. The hospital bills may keep coming, but I am fortunate enough to have health insurance.

The small change in how I view things has made all of the difference in my happiness. I feel much more at peace. I am so thankful for all that I have.

Monday, September 17, 2012

waiting and seeing...

Hello loves,

I've been living it up here. Brunch with friends both days this weekend, mimosas and football yesterday afternoon. I'm so happy to be off that low-iodine diet!

I had my appointment with my endocrinologist on Friday, and discussed what to do next. We looked at my lab results, which showed my pre-Thyrogen thyroglobulin level as 0.4 (it was 0.1 when we checked a few months ago, so it has gone up, but only slightly), and my post-Thyrogen level as 1.0. So there is still cancer there, but the RAI didn't work, so what to do now? My doctor thinks it's okay to wait 6 months and recheck with an ultrasound and thyroglobulin levels. He strongly feels that the risks vs. benefits of external beam radiation aren't worth it. 

Honestly, we left the appointment a little confused, and a million questions popped into our heads the moment we walked out the door. Do we think my body is going to clear this on it's own? Or at least keep it in check? Last year, after my radioactive iodine treatment, when my thyroglobulin levels remained slightly elevated, the idea behind waiting and seeing what that the RAI would continue to do it's job battling the cancer in my body for 6 months. But right now, it's all up to my body. And what happens in 6 months if my thyroglobulin levels continue to creep up? My surgeon had pushed external beam radiation so hard. He was certain that RAI wouldn't work. I'm eager to hear his opinion on what to do now. I am thrilled about not doing any treatment right now...but the thought of cancer just living in my body is scary. Although, Crazy Sexy cancer survivor Kris Carr thrives despite untreatable cancer hanging out in her body for the past 10 years. 

I plan to get a second opinion, but in the meantime, no matter what the plan, I intend to enjoy life to it's fullest while trying to be as healthy as I can. 



Thursday, September 13, 2012

good news/bad news

So, the good news is my cancer didn't take up the radioactive iodine, so I didn't have to have the treatment yesterday, and therefore my nausea is almost compeltely resoved, and I am back on my normal diet! The bad news is, my cancer didn't take up the radioactive iodine, so I will probably have to do external beam radiation. This is a lot to process right now, but I am meeting with my endocrinologist tomorrow to discuss what to do next. I will post an update when I know more.



Thursday, September 6, 2012

party's over

Hello my loves!

Wow, these past weeks have been a whirlwind! We had our magical wedding celebration in Friday Harbor on September 1st. We enjoyed a week of fabulous weather and nearly every single one of my most dearly beloved came to join in the festivities. Families came together from near and far, wounds began to heal, and our love was celebrated. It was so incredible to see the culmination of a lifetime of dreams come together into exactly the event I wanted to create. Our wedding coordinator perfected every last detail and allowed me to relax and be pampered on our big day instead of sweating the decorating. The guys lended their hands and even submitted to some "pink" jobs, like tying chair sashes. It all came together into the most special event.

But it all ended too soon, and I had to begin my low iodine diet on Monday in preparation for my radioactive iodine treatment next week. Last year I decided to do an all-raw diet, which may have helped with my energy levels, but this year I decided to focus on comforting and delicious foods. I really wanted to try out all my new kitchen gifts that we received! Last year I also had to go off of my thyroid medications for about a month resulting in an extreme hypothyroid state, and all the symptoms that accompany that. This year I am getting the thyrogen injection instead. I don't know much about the injection, but I do know that I am glad I won't have to go off my medication! I'm not allowed to have anything processed at all, and I can't eat out, in case the foods contain iodine. I also have to give up soy, so no tempeh or tofu for me! I've spent the past few days cooking up some staples, like bread, beans, seitan (a vegetarian wheat protein), vegetable stock, stew, and pesto, so that I'll be well fed this week and throughout my treamtent. Although it's more work to make these from scratch, it really helps so that I don't feel deprived, and really, shouldn't we be making as much of our foods from scratch, anyway? It's the small things, like mustard and soy sauce, that get annoying. I've been so lucky to have wonderful friends helping out with the cooking as well.

On Monday I have labs and a thyrogen injection, Tuesday another thyrogen injection and then a I-123 test dose, on Wednesday more labs, a full body scan to see if the RAI is absorbing, and then the radioactive iodine treatment, if it is. Honestly, getting the treatment would be a good thing. If it wasn't absorbing and I didn't have the treatment would mean that I would have to try another treatment instead - external beam radiation. I'll be locked away for a couple of days following that, then I'll have more labs on Friday. I should be well enough to be back to work the following week. I'll have a body scan on Thursday, the 20th at 10 am, to see how well the treatment worked.

This round we have decided to do outpatient treatment, instead of the lead room I was locked in last year. The conditions are that I have to have a separate bedroom and bathroom from anyone else, and of course I have to stay far away from anyone. Since our home only has one bathroom, I can't stay there, but even a hotel room would be more comfortable (and much cheaper) than the lead hospital room! I'll just have to make sure I get lots of antinausea meds from my doctor, since that was my primary symptom last year.

What an amazing summer it has been, and I am so grateful that I got to enjoy it so much before beginning my treatment. I will post photos from our weekend soon.