It is five years since I was diagnosed and then had my thyroid removed. The time from suspicious cells being found through the fine needle biopsy to the complete thyroidectomy, was only 7 weeks. Not a particularly long period of time in the grand scheme of things, but by all accounts in the reading and exploring about thyroid cancer that I’ve done, it’s lightening speed!
“Suspicious cells” became cancer only after the pathology report was returned from the lab: papillary carcinoma, follicular variant.
The report was handed to me by my surgeon at the follow-up appointment two weeks after surgery. My sister took me to the appointment because my husband was out of town. I think the fact that I was still trying different medications to normalize my thyroid levels, calcium level, and to simply have the energy to get out of bed, the “cancer” diagnosis didn’t really register for me. By the time I might have wrapped my brain around the fact that I had “cancer”, my life was turned upside down by three young grandchildren who came to live with us; and then I was back to work.
There were other follow-up appointments and one treatment of radioactive iodine to make sure the cancer cells were obliterated. I continue to have an ultrasound of the thyroid bed done annually–not sure how long that will last, but I imagine its forever; as well as several appointments throughout the year with my endocrinologist to monitor medications and such.
September is Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month. Thyroid cancer is often referred to as “the good kind” of cancer to get. Perhaps because if it’s found early enough and treated correctly, there is a 100% chance of recovery. Not everyone however is “lucky” enough to be diagnosed and treated as quickly as I was; deaths from thyroid cancer hover at 2,000 every year.
My thank you today is for the reminder that the month of September provides for me, and all of you, that there is no “good kind of cancer”. Take a few minutes this month to CHECK YOUR NECK!