Trust Your Gut

Oh it’s me again – I know, I know, something must have happened because she’s posting again lol. Although that might be true, I do intend to post more often. As we all know, the journey is never over, but the chapters change with each tide.

So I can honestly say that last year had been a good one. As you might remember I was given the “no evidence of disease” 2 years ago yesterday but we had to wait an additional 6 months to start trying for another baby. Then 6 month and 2 days later, our Baby Bear was finally more than a thought, if you know what I mean?!

During my pregnancy, my thyroid medication had to be changed a total of 6 times so I was on a constant roller coaster (more than just the change in pregnancy hormones – add in the fluctuation of thyroid hormones too)!!! I was grateful for both my doctors to be in constant communication and having monthly blood work checks to make sure I was where I needed to be. After Spence came into the world last July, I was actually quite surprised by how quickly I fell back to my “normal”. I felt great and started to lose the pregnancy weight very quickly – thanks to breastfeeding the first couple months. Unfortunately, after several attempts and trying what felt like everything, I was unable to continue to produce enough breast milk for Spence. I was thankful for my Endo to confirm that many of us without Thyroids are unable to produce the required amount – made me feel better knowing it wasn’t just “me”. I thought I would take it better with baby #3 but #momguilt always sinks in. Even if I knew that as long as he was fed, that’s all that mattered.

Fast forward to this past December, Spence was just 5 months old and I noticed I was still not feeling my best. Part of it was the stress of the holidays, I’m sure, but I knew it was more. I sent my Endocrinologist an email asking about my numbers. He assured me that they were fine and that I needed to give my hormones more time before we try to change anything. I was definitely frustrated by his response and should have insisted on blood work but the anxiety kicked in telling me I was overreacting. January came and I had my annual whole body scans – thankfully everything came back where they should and I could go back to my normal and focus on my always busy family life.

Within a month, I started feeling as though something still wasn’t right. My anxiety and depression was at an all time high again. I was tired All. The. Time! Yes I know I have a busy home with three kiddos but it was more. I brought this up to my Primary doctor and again, it was brushed off. After MONTHS of feeling sluggish, continuing to gain weight, I was tired all the time, I started having anxiety attacks again, having hot flashes several times a night, couldn’t get warm during the day, having my own emotional melt downs multiple times a week, having a period for weeks and weeks at a time, then skin rashes breaking out all over my body – including my head which resulted in scabs on 75% of my scalp, debilitating headaches, muscle cramps and joint pain – I had ENOUGH. I made the first available appointment with a new primary doctor within the same practice. Within 3 days and several attempts to get the information for the doctors office, I was told that my TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) was at a 14.67. This is absurd! My numbers should be at ONE or less is ok too! And it was 14 times higher than it should have been. This is not a small increase – I felt like I was dying but because of my anxiety, I kept it inside until I had more than I could handle.

Trust me, I am the first one to admit that we must be our own advocate – I should have know this from the years and years that I went undiagnosed while the cancer spread to my lymph nodes and both of my lungs. But sometimes we forget and trust that others have the best of intentions. But goodness gracious, no matter your situation or medical conditions, please trust your gut. For the 3rd time I am looking for new doctors. It is their job to help me. If they can’t, you move on to someone else because if not, you can go through several months of not being your best self. I have lost it on my family and missed out on things with family and friends because of it. I can’t get these months back but I can take charge of taking care of myself again. Never give up and always reach out to others for help.

For those that have Thyroid Cancer or other related Thyroid issues, I think we can all understand that our fight it never over. No matter how many people or doctors or professionals tell us that it’s the “easy” cancer. Know that you are NOT alone.

Always,

Kat

Relay for Life Team: All Night for the Fight

Ok yall, it’s time for Relay for Life!!! I couldn’t be more thrilled to have our own team this year and it’s going to be AWESOME!

An introduction to Relay for Life:

I’m going to be completely honest, prior to being diagnosed with Thyroid Cancer, I had remembered hearing about it Relay for Life but had never participated in one. I was asked by my dear friend and neighbor last year to join her team, not truly understanding what it was all about. I can tell you, this experience was life changing. To see so many people coming together to help bring awareness, raise money, and support each other was just an incredible thing – and of course, it was FUN! Please, please, please come and hang out with us! ūüôā

What is Relay for Life:

  • It’s an organized, overnight community fundraising walk for ALL cancers
  • Teams of people camp out around a track
  • Members of each team take turns walking around the track
  • Food, games, and activities provide entertainment and build camaraderie
  • Family-friendly environment for the entire community

What makes Relay for Life more awesome?

  • In more than 5,200 communities and 20 countries, Relay for Life events comprise the signature fundraiser for the American Cancer Society, raising more than $400 million dollars.
  • Survivors Lap: All cancer survivors at the event take the first lap around the track, celebrating their victory over cancer while cheered on by other participants who line the track.
  • Luminaria Ceremony: Takes place after dark, so we can remember people we have lost to cancer, honor people who have fought cancer in the past, and support those whose fight continues. Candles are lit inside of personalized bags and are placed around the Relay track as glowing tributes to those who’ve been affected by cancer.
  • Fight Back Ceremony: This emotionally powerful ceremony inspires Relay participants to take action. The Fight Back Ceremony symbolizes the emotional commitment each of us can make in the fight against cancer. The action taken represents what we are willing to do for ourselves, for our loved ones, and for our community to fight cancer year-round and to commit to saving lives.

What to expect at a Relay Event?

  1. Relayers are welcomed in the Opening Ceremony.
  2. Relay starts with the Survivor Lap, when survivors walk to celebrate their victory over cancer.
  3. The Caregiver Lap recognizes those who have given care to cancer patients.
  4. All of the Relay teams are invited to walk together during the Opening Lap.
  5. Luminaria bags and candles are lit during the Luminaria Ceremony to honor loved ones who have passed or are fighting the disease.
  6. Individual Walking is observed throughout the night with Family Games, Activities, and Entertainment.
  7. The Fight Back Ceremony helps close the event. Relayers take a final lap and pledge to take action and spread awareness of cancer research, treatments, and prevention.

How can YOU help?

  • Join our team!! Seriously, it’s going to be a BLAST! Whether you can come for an hour or all night – come hang out, walk a couple laps with us and celebrate those that are fighting and honor those that we have lost.
  • Help raise money – share our team link (see below) to your Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram, or any other social media. It doesn’t matter if you can give back $5 or raise $50, anything helps!!
  • Donate a Luminaria Bag/Torch¬†– You can choose to decorate a bag (see me for details) or you can purchase online and the event will have a bag for you lining the track, including “In Honor Of”, “In Memory Of”, or “In Support Of”.
    • White Luminaria Bag – $10 (or 3 for $25)
    • Blue Luminaria Bag – 3 for $25
    • Tiki Torch of Hope – $30 (or $35 includes a keepsake)
  • Come support us!! Even if you aren’t interested in walking with our team, just come be apart of this fantatic opportunity – come watch the opening ceremony, have a few laughs, etc. Just come, but I’m going to warn you, the energy is contagious and you might not want to leave! ūüôā

Event Day Logistics

  • When: Saturday, June 11, 2016 from 6pm to 7am
  • Where: Fauquier High School (702 Waterloo Road, Warrenton, VA)
  • What should I pack?¬†folding chair, a change of clothes, a blanket/pillow, warm clothes (in case it gets chilly), bug spray, and snacks.
  • Where to meet?¬†we have a tent set up – you just have to look for our sign with team name: All Night for the Fight!
  • Are you a Survivor? Make sure you sign up online as one so you can receive the t-shirt. And please come early to receive your complimentary food in the Survivor tent.
  • Food/Drinks? Yes there will be vendors/other teams selling food/drinks and of course, there will be water provided¬†for participants.
  • Bathrooms? There are bathrooms on site – duh! ūüėČ
  • Kids? Of course! You are never too young to Relay! Just make sure you bring all the necessities! And if your child under 18 years of and will be walking, be sure to bring your signed Youth Participant Agreement to the Registration table.
  • Do I have to walk the whole time?? NO! In order to represent the fact that “Cancer never sleeps”, we ask that each team has a representative walking the track at all times. This should not be just one person – team members can take shifts!
  • Want to sleep? You are more than welcome to take a nap in the tent, OR go home, take a name and come back! Participants are not required to stay up all night.

Relay for LIfe

Thank yall for taking the time to read this. I just wanted to answer any questions that you might have about this amazing event and hope to see YOU there! ūüôā

Our Team Link: 

http://main.acsevents.org/goto/FauquierAllNightfortheFight 

The Dreaded “C” Word (Part 1 – Bloodwork/Lump)

So I originally created this blog about 2 1/2 years ago for totally different reasons. As I said in my previous post, I like to talk and write but I honestly forgot about creating this all together. Of course with so many current changes and challenges going on in my life, I feel the need to vent and talk about it. So here I go…. ūüôā

I think we have all experienced a time in our lives where we go to the doctor for concerns and by the time we leave, we feel stupid for ever coming in the first place. And that is because we just wasted¬†three hours there: 2 hours in the waiting room, 45 minutes in the actual room waiting for the doctor to show up then only to spend 15 minutes, if we are lucky, talking to the doctor. I think it goes without saying that it ends up being a waste of time and we don’t want to go back, ever! Well I have been lucky enough to have dealt with this SEVERAL times the Summer of 2014 – I know, don’t be jealous!¬†
So to give you a little bit of a back story, I just started going back to the doctor to get physicals about 3 years ago. I had just turned 25 and have 2 kiddos so it was time to make sure I was healthy. Each time that I’ve gone, they’ve told me 3 things: for the most part you are really healthy, you aren’t drinking enough water (go figure) and your Thyroid numbers are slightly off so lets bring you back in for re-tests. This was told to me for the years 2012 through 2014. Each time when I came back weeks later to do the retest, everything is normal again. My doctor would say “Not to worry because it happens all the time.” Well after this last time, I brought up some of my concerns with my weight again and how I was never able lose any and I’ve gained about 45 pounds in approximately 4 years. I understand that this happens to people, especially women after giving birth and as we get old (yadda yadda, blah blah), but I’ve always had a great metabolism and stayed in “decent” shape. My doctor continued to shrug me off and told me maybe I needed to consult with the¬†nutritionist to ensure I was on the right “diet.” I was pretty upset about this because, don’t get me wrong, I probably could have done a better job with my diet but either way, I was trying and¬†exercising¬†on¬†top of it – there should have given me better results. After the retest this time, it came back slightly different (showing Hypothyroidism) so they did some additional tests to check my¬†pituitary gland as well because my T3 and T4 levels were conflicting with my TSH levels. Once again, everything came back normal on that end as well. So my doctor at that point just wanted to refer me to an Endocrinologist. He said either way, its probably not an issue because my levels are not enough to do anything about it but this way they can keep an eye on it as he was sure it was going to get worse with time and age.¬†

That was another 2 month wait – I live in a really small town outside of the D.C. Metro area and there is only Endocrinologist within an hour of me. FINALLY at the end of September I was able to see her and they took another look at my blood work. She didn’t seem concerned just said that I could be going through¬†hormone changes (from a recent miscarriage)¬†as well as many other things. Once again, I only went over the last 5 or 6 times I had blood work done with her and she basically gave me an “excuse” for each one. She wrote me a order to come back in 6 months to do more blood work and we’d “go from there” before trying to walk me out of the office….really?!?!

Finally she decided to feel my neck ONE time before leaving and there it was, that was the lump that changed my life. She immediately wrote me a referral to the local hospital to have an ultrasound done. She let me know that there is only a 1% chance that it’s cancerous…wow just like that, she threw out the “C” word. I held it together just long enough to get home to my¬†Hubby and cry…..

(I’ll continue¬†the beginning of my story the next time….)