10 years a Momma

So I just turned 32 years old last week, although some of my peers might be freaking out as we are edging closer to the mid-30’s mark – I am good. Age has never been a scary thing for me. Of course, I am one to want to live forever lol. I want to see my kiddos with their kids and their grandkids. I want to grow super old with my husband. I want to see things – but from the comfort of my home, not much for traveling unless it’s to the beach lol. But I think my biggest and most important accomplishment has been my kiddos.

I haven’t always taken the easiest path in life. I have always wanted to do things my way or no way because I, of course, know the best way to handle things – or that’s at least what I told myself. Obviously, with that being said, I wasn’t the easiest kid to raise and my parents remind me of that every day. I wanted to go to college and get my teaching degree but also wanted to hang out with my friends and have a good time. I also wasn’t very good with the whole “work hard, play harder” situation. Either way, I’m glad we can laugh about it now but I was reeeeeeally good at the playing part.

Let’s fast forward to the time that I thought I was ready for a family. I don’t know about y’all, but this still makes me laugh. Who is ever truly ready for a baby? I mean, I was the furthest thing from being ready but even those that think they are, probably aren’t. I was a hot mess: 19 or 20 years old, dropped out of college to move back to Richmond, VA, jumped from job to job but really “peaked” as a manager at Food Lion haha. I was married to my first “love” but still living with my in-laws at the time. I thought I could rule the world – lol it’s a good thing I wasn’t full of myself. I mean, I know how it happens but still wasn’t fully prepared when I found out I was pregnant. I was still a baby myself but the thought of having my own baby was awesome. Unfortunately, I had 3 miscarriages the first 3 times I became pregnant. If that wasn’t reason enough to change what I was doing I don’t know what is. At that point I was devastated and wanted nothing more than I carry a baby in my belly and be a Mom.

At the age of 21, I was pregnant with my little Mileigh Ann. She became my whole stinkin’ world y’all! She came into the world just 11 days after my 22nd birthday. I might not have made the best decisions as we were growing up together but I knew she was meant to be my little Goober. Being that I only had one kiddo, she went everywhere with me. In hindsight, maybe places that she shouldn’t have been but I was her Momma and I wanted to show her to the world. Eventually I had her brother, Conor Mathew, 2 years later and things just got crazy from there. In the last 10 years, I have since been divorced and left from a not so great situation, ended up reconnecting with one of my best friends from high school and remarrying him years later. We made a life together. We both have great jobs, we have a beautiful house, and now have added to our family. We fought my cancer together. We handled more miscarriages together (have had a total of 6 now). We’ve been through a lot but I wouldn’t want to do life with anyone else. Needless to say, I am happy.

I am the proudest Momma to three happy, respectful, adorable kiddos. As I write this, my oldest will be turning 10 years old on Sunday and I struggling. She made me a Momma. She and I grew up together. She showed me what true love is. She pushed me to be the best person I could be, in ways that she will never understand. It’s amazing the impact one little girl can be on your life – especially when she’s only been around for 1/3 of it but it’s by far the best part!

So this is just a quick reminder to hug your babies tight. It feels like it was just yesterday that I was watching that sweet baby sleep in her crib. Now she gets on the bus without a hug or kiss. She wants to run the neighborhood with her friends. She is my social butterfly that doesn’t want to be held back, and in so many ways a spitting image of her Momma. I love you Mileigh Ann and thank you for being the start of my biggest trophy! I am grateful for each of my kiddos – Mileigh, Conor and Spence – and blessed I was picked to be their Momma! ❤️

The words that every ThyCa patient waits for….

No. Evidence. Of. Disease.

It’s been one year, five months and 22 days that I had to wait to hear those words. But I can tell you, of all the dreams and visions of the way I thought I would feel when I heard them, are nothing compared to how I felt at my appointment the last Thursday as the words came out of my Endo’s mouth.

When you look up the definition of “No evidence of disease” you get a multitude of things that come up. First, it talked about Survivorship (before and after treatment) – wow! Those words just make me smile because that’s exactly what we’ve done, we’ve survived and we’ll have to survive every day for the rest of our lives. That might seem dramatic to some but just keep in mind that with every cancer there is a chance of reoccurrence, it doesn’t matter how fantastic your surgeon is (which mine was), or how high of a dose of treatment you take – cancer can always come back.

I can only speak for myself and say that I am a very optimistic person but when you are diagnosed with cancer it’s an every day challenge. Not necessarily to remain positive but it’s almost like you need to coach yourself, especially on the bad days that everyone has. I am often told to “stay positive” throughout my journey, even if I bring up statistics or just being realistic for a moment. But I can tell you, I will always be positive.

  1. I am positive I will be strong enough to handle whatever comes my way.
  2. I am positive that I remain proactive with my health throughout my ThyCa journey.
  3. I am positive that if I do experience reoccurrence, I have family and friends that help support me no matter what, and especially on my worse days (#noonefightsalone).
  4. I am positive that there is a higher power looking over me.
  5. I am positive that I will never give up HOPE that there will be a cure one day.

The second definition of NED is: No evidence of disease (NED) is a term that is used when examinations and tests can find no cancer in a patient who has been treated for cancer. Which is amazing news!! So basically I was NOT expecting to hear these words for another year – especially after the discussion with my Nuclear Medicine doctor a few weeks ago. They determined that the tumor/thyroid tissue is still present on the back side of my thyroid bed and because of that, I would need to be considered for another dose of RAI or surgery. His recommendation was to wait a year to determine if it’s growing and/or how fast it’s growing. With that being said, I am already at almost a 1/3 of how much RAI (radiation) that I can use in my life time so they aren’t sure that treatment was the best option (keeping in mind that Thyroid Cancer has one of the highest reoccurrence rate across all the cancers). Of course I had to sit on this for a good three weeks before finally getting to speak to my Endo (she was out of the country on vacation). But when finally had my appointment, it was the BEST news!!! She confirmed that after comparing all of my scans, blood work and tests over the last year and a half, that they are VERY confident that the tissue remaining, is in fact benign. Therefore, I have my NED!!! 🙂

With all this being said, I am a survivor. I have beat cancer. And if need be, I can do it again. And I couldn’t have done it without each and every one of you so THANK YOU!! Going back in 5-6 months to have my next set of ultrasounds, blood work, and tumor marker done! 🙂

ThyCa Tattoo

So I did it. I finally got the tattoo I had been waiting to get since the day I was diagnosed. Originally I wanted to wait until I was told there was No Evidence of Disease (NED) but with the recent news that there is still some additional work needed to do, I decided now was the time. I don’t have control over much in this situation BUT I do have control over this and this makes my heart happy. 🙂

So here it is….

Kat ThyCa Tattoo

I wanted to explain what this tattoo means to me because I have thought about for about a year and a half now and carefully put it all together. My brother helped bring this tattoo to life as it was a compilation of several different ideas.

  • First of all, there is the obvious Thyroid Cancer ribbon which is teal, pink and purple. I just didn’t want the original ribbon, I wanted something a bit more original.
  • Feather: So I wanted to incorporate a feather, as the eagles feather stands for courage and strength. Anyone that has dealt with cancer or an illness has had to fight harder than they ever have in their lives, and that couldn’t be more true for my journey over the last 1 and a half years.
  • Sparrows: They derive power and protection in their numbers.They survive by traveling in clusters and are a community that does not do well when by themselves. I couldn’t think of a better symbol for my “posse”, my support group of family and friends that helped me every step of the way. Whether you are there in the day to day process, or someone that randomly sent a message to check on me, big or small, you were a part of my clan of sparrows and I thank you!!
  • Heart: well that was a last minute addition (thanks Scottie!) but this means multiple things to me – overall, Thyroid Cancer was never who I became, it was a small part of me and what I went through. I will never be the same person I was before 10.23.14 but I have become a better person because of it. But it also stands for all the love and support I have received from family and friends that have always been in my life, but also to the group of amazing people that have come into my life because of Thyroid Cancer.  Although it’s a crappy way to meet, I don’t know what I’d do without the fellow ThyCa survivors and supporters who truly understand what I am going through.
  • Date (didn’t make the cut): So originally I wanted to include the date that I was diagnosed (10.23.14) because that date will always be the start of the “new” me but unfortunately, the numbers would have been too small to be able to see it because I didn’t want them to stand out as they weren’t as significant as everything else.

So there you have it. I am so excited to have this tattoo, and of course it’s on my left forearm where it can be seen by everyone (also covered for work, if need be). It can be a conversation starter – bring on Thyroid Cancer awareness!! It’s a reminder that I am a fighter. And no matter what I find out next week with next steps and if I need to undergo another RAI treatment or not, it’s going to be ok.

 

Original drawing by Scottie and completed outline of tattoo:

 

The Beginning After The End

(ORIGINALLY STARTED THIS BLOG IN 2012 ON ANOTHER SITE)

Well I am not sure why I feel the need to start this blog but I like to talk and write and I can do either of those here. My story is pretty much all over the place and I plan to do a tell-all over time but here is just a start. 🙂

I am a Momma of the two most wonderful children (a little biased, I know). I am very much in love with Spencer, my husband (since 2013) and my best friend (since 2002)!!

I moved to NOVA (Northern Virginia) in 2011, and although I am not a huge fan of the city life, I moved North and we bought our first house in a small town about 45 miles southwest of DC. I have a pretty decent job that allows for me to work from home!

So basically things in my life have pretty much always been crazy but I have one of the best support systems (as I like to call my “village”) – my husband, kids, family and friends – so I know I/we can get through anything. I know that I haven’t always made the best of decisions but in the end I have learned and changed to make things better. You can’t always just sit back and hope for things to get better – you have to do something about it.

And that’s what this blog is about:

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass….it’s about learning to dance in the rain.”

Conor on golf cart

Mileigh Redskins

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