That is how long it has been since I heard the diagnosis that I had Stage 3 thyroid cancer and received a total thyroidectomy with neck dissection. Over 80 nodes removed from my thyroid and neck – with 1/3 or more of them to be found riddled with papillary cancer. Thankfully, I was in AMAZING care thanks to Dr. Ralph Tufano, my surgeon from the renowned Johns Hopkins University Hospital. Eight years later, I continue to be in his debt – as his surgical skills earned his place in the global medical arena as “Top Doc”.
I hate to disappoint, but that is all for my walk down memory lane. If you are really curious about the first seven years of my journey hit this link >> Louise’s Cancer Journey. (Note; the first blog is here)
Now I am going to fast-forward with an effort to educate and enlighten readers with a few new updates in the world of thyroid disease.
First… not all diseases of the thyroid are malignancies. There can be other “stuff” that goes awry in your body caused by a thyroid issue. Here are some common maladies and disorders that may surprise you are caused by this little gland!
Sadly, thyroid issues are on the rise and appear more than ever in children – even younger than 10 years of age! Reasons for this phenomenon vary – but many feel that environmental issues may be part of the problem.
Also, new information about thyroid cancer is the updated research regarding this cancer’s genetic components. After participating in a few medical studies, I was interested in these findings about which variations of the cancer can be passed on to family members and which are just due to bad luck happening in your own body! (After genetic counseling and testing, I found out I had bad luck but my relatives are all “good to go”!)
Lastly, a reminder to trust your intuition. I have said this year after year – I KNEW something was NOT right with my body. I was gaining weight at a rapid pace and just didn’t have the energy I usually did. For someone as hyper as me, that was a concern! Only after a crazy string of events was my cancer discovered and by then it was aggressive. Thankfully, I received GREAT medical care and am happy to report that all is “status quo”. I did receive a bit of a lecture this year from my other Top Doc, Dr. David Cooper, from JHH. He advised me to reduce the stressors in my life so I can stay healthy. I took his advice to heart and I deleted what didn’t need to be in my life. It hard for someone as ADHD as me to work on having more work-life balance – but I am!
Feel free to share your experiences with thyroid issues in the comment section. We are all here to learn. Also, here is a PSA I made several years ago with the corresponding outtake video.
Also, the number 8 when placed on its’ side looks like the INFINITY ∞ sign. I would say that is quite apropos!
*Music by Will Z
RIP Tess Sattler (our beloved White Shepherd)