17 June 2010

Nope, I'm not butchering the early 2000s lyrical genius that was Destiny's Child camo laden ditty but rather sharing a little knowledge the internet taught me recently. A thyroid cancer survivor is called a "thryvor". I know...something new each and every day. "Thyroid cancer survivor" is creeping way over to the over AND melodramatic side of the spectrum so I promise not to use that phrase again.

The Relevance:
At my first OB appointment back in March, the doctor felt a teeny little lump in my neck and recommended we get an ultrasound to err on the side of caution. The ultrasound told us that the lump was indeed a lump and then we pulled out some slightly bigger guns with a needle biopsy. I might be the oldest and heftiest baby when it comes to needles, especially in my neck, but I survived not one but two of these procedures when the first biopsy did not procure enough liquid from the nodule to give an accurate reading. Its a good thing I committed to the second round of martyrdom via my date with the needle because the results came back and showed that the nodule was papillary cancer. No one wants to hear they have the big nasty C but thyroid cancer is the most desirable type of cancer to have if one has to have it and it is an especially nice one to get whenst pregnant: perfect for me.

The endocrinologist explained that it would be easily treatable in the second trimester with surgery and then radioactive iodine treatment after the baby was born. It was a bit of a whirlwind: Thursday-results came back, Monday-consult with the surgeon and the following Monday I found myself in the hospital being wheeled into the operating room to have my thyroid pulled out. I was pretty calm until right before they pushed me through the double doors after I said goodbye to Simon and my mom and then I started frantically looking for escape routes. Sadly enough, I realized that if I did escape, I would probably be put right back in my classroom that day with the hellions that I taught and decided that going under the knife was the better option. One fun thing about the surgery was seeing the baby a few times on an ultrasound for the first time and seeing that she lacked the equipment to be a he-patton and would be a she-patton instead!

The recovery was a little bit slower than I had anticipated. I never (who does?) thought about how often we use our neck muscles: to get out of bed, stand up, lean head back in shower...etc). I survived though and am really grateful for how helpful and wonderful Simon, his family and my mom were in the weeks following. Simon was kind enough to sleep in a little cot/chair contraption next to me in the hospital the first night. I probably over-relied on him to disconnect my compression socks and IV from the wall and help my up to use the restroom. Around two in the morning, the saline drip was weighing heavily on my bladder and I desperately needed to use the restroom. I tried batting at Simon to help me up and I accidentally hit his nose in the process. His groggy, incoherent and stern response was: "When you wake me up, do NOT block my airway" (he was sleep-talking, of course). However, this sent me into a puddle of tears, even though I knew he was asleep and meant no harm. I pathetically gathered myself together and made it to the bathroom unscathed and probably no worse for the wear.

Today, life continues on as normal and as soon as the little lady makes her debut into Camp P we will figure out the logistics of the iodine treatment. The drawback to this treatment is that I won't be able to be around the bebe for a bit. I have to take synthetic thyroid every day and that has been a bit of a conundrum and process to figure out the correct dosage.

On a vain note, I was worried about the way the scar would look as I scar very easily. I even have a scar from the IV from the surgery. My skin is really tough and Simon described the doctor having to take a 'running start' with the biopsy needle to get it to go in at all. When the surgeon described the incision as "oh, just a smiley face shape..naturally placed in the folds of your neck", I tried to hide the look of horror as I imagined a Heath Ledger/Jokeresque smiley face taunting me and my shallow self. Alas, so far, so good in the joker department I suppose. I'll post a picture soon but in the mean time, I slather on the mederma and try to avoid the rays on the neck as much as possible!

Thryving (gotcha!),



  1. we're all so glad you're ok! : ) love you!

  2. Liza told me about what's going on with you Grace & I just want you to know me and my family are praying for you!

    Congrats on the baby girl!

  3. great post. thank you for the "do NOT block my airwaves" part so i could stop tearing up :)

  4. Being a blogger's worst nightmare and going to the Do Re Me very beeeeginning! Maybe that's just my worst nightmare... It's always neat to see how other bloggers started out and have grown in their writing style since then. Anyway, I have been wondering where your Thryvor post might be, and how it all happened. What a stressful time, being prego and putting the beatin' down on cancer. I'm glad you won, you're my fave mediocre momma blogger ;)



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