As I am preparing myself mentally for my upcoming scans at the end of the month, I start to think about how I am going to react once I get the results. I know this may sound silly because, of course, I am pretty optimistic that everything is going to be ok and show that the tumors have shrunk in my lungs (see Post-Therapy Scan Results for previous information)…BUT Thyroid Cancer is different than any other cancer when it comes to “remission.”
There is no doubt that I am ready for this cancer to get out of my body. and I couldn’t be more excited to finally get the good news I’ve been waiting for since I was diagnosed. First of all, after you receive the RAI (Radioactive Iodine), it takes a full 12 months for the radiation to do it’s job but because they found I had metastases in my lungs AFTER the determined the correct dosage to handle what was left over in my Thyroid bed, any additional lymph nodes that my Surgeon may have missed (I mean come on, he removed 56 of those suckers so I didn’t hold it against him when they found 2 more in my scans that he missed during surgery), and in hopes to find, if any, additional locations that my cancer may have spread to. In my initial scans, prior to the full dose, the Nuclear Medicine doctors were honestly surprised that nothing else was found. So they typically don’t do any follow up scans until 12 months because that will be when the radiation has fully been able to do it’s job. When they said they wanted me to come back in 6 months for follow up scans, I was a little anxious when the doctors decided that if there was any “uptake” in my lungs still, then they will go ahead and do another dose of the RAI. I mean do what y’all have to do to get the cancer out but the thought of going through all of that again, just 6 months later was not what I wanted to hear at the time as I just got most of my side effects to go away from the RAI.
Papillary Thyroid Cancer is typically slow growing and most commonly does not spread outside of the immediate area of the neck but because mine has, it gives me over 30% chance of reoccurrence in my life – even decades later. Of course, this is no excuse for a negative outlook – just a more cautionary one. I have my fingers crossed and even put in a few prayers to have a “NED” (No Evidence of Disease) scan results. And when I get those results, we will definitely have a celebration in our house – to have a NED result for the first time in 11 months which was the start of my ThyCa journey, would be amazing prior to celebrating my 1 year of being a Survivor next month. But for the next 5+ years my body will be checked every 3 months for my Tumor Marker. Eventually, I won’t need to be checked as often but I will still have to worry with every blood work that I come in to do and with every 12 month Whole Body Scan, which will require me to put my life on hold for 5 straight days of appointments in Washington, DC.
I will continue to live day by day and celebrate each and every positive thing that comes my way as I put some of this behind me. I start my Low-Iodine diet tomorrow to prepare for my scans so I am just hoping to lose some additional weight so that, for sure, will keep me distracted for the next few weeks. I will always hope and pray for the positives but will constantly prepare myself for the worst whenever these tests come around as that is what I need to do to move forward.
Until next time…. 🙂