Thursday, October 4, 2012

Life changes can change your life!

     I want to take you on a journey. One I have been on since this last October of 2011. It starts with a scare, mixes with a little triumph and strength, add a little devastation and in the end you will have a recipe for a "fight that brings you out on top!" (Note to the reader: I hope this brings inspiration to you. Sometimes, people aren't quite sure what to say. That's alright. You don't have to say anything. I just hope you can use any of my story to change/save you or a loved one's life.

     This last fall, while preparing for all of the harvest and Halloween festivities, I wasn't feeling like myself. I began running into walls, tripping, dropping and spilling things, seeing double and having blurred vision. I knew what I wanted to say but it would not seem to come out right. Not always but it was getting worse. Seeing while driving at night was most difficult as was small print on the T.V.

      I went to my eye doctor. After his exam, my vision had not changed but he was concerned and sent me to a specialist; an ophthalmologist. She initially diagnosed me with Psuedotumor Cerebri but needed more tests to confirm. These tests involved an MRI and spinal tap. Even though the word "tumor" is in the diagnosis, the presence of "Psuedo" means false. Put them together and you get "False Tumor." The MRI was to rule out any actual tumors present and the spinal tap was to confirm the presence of pressure build up of spinal fluid. I did end up with a spinal leak after the tap which was not fun and needed a blood patch (also not fun). However, after the spinal tap, my visual disturbance decreased but opted not to have the tap done again. Psuedotumor Cerebri occurs most commonly in women in their child bearing years who are overweight...DING! DING! DING! We have a winner!

     I had a spinal fusion a few years ago and with all that pain and bad eating habits, I had gained weight. To the tune of 65lbs. I was sent to a neurologist but he didn't believe me but referred me to another specialist called a neuro-ophthalmologist. After 10 seconds of looking at me he immediately said "Psuedotumor Cerebri!" I love it when one specialist doesn't believe you after seeing you for multiple appointments and it takes only 10 seconds for another to know exactly what the heck is wrong. He looked me straight in the eye...(sorry) and said if you do not drop this weight, there is a good chance you could go blind. He put me on a diet of high protein, veggies and fiber. Since my husband and I were hoping to start a family in the fall of 2012, I made a choice. That same day (January 9, 2012) I signed up at an awesome fitness studio called New Vybe.


      At some point in my life, I just became complacent and I settled. Life isn't about settling. I made excuses for why I couldn't go out with friends or why I couldn't make new friends. My biggest excuse was exercising would cause more pain than I was already in. How could I possibly work all day, work out, come home, be in pain and get up and do it all over again? But I did it! I overcame what my mind was hindering me from. My self esteem soared and New Vybe became a source of strength and power. I conquered things I didn't think I would ever be able to do again. New Vybe couldn't keep me away long enough, until...

I went to my primary physician for a check up. I discussed with him my recent diagnoses and weight loss of 50 lbs. He did an exam and checked my neck. He noticed a lump which he termed a "goiter." I am familiar with this term from the field I work in. He ordered a blood test and an ultrasound. My next visit with him was to review the results. He expressed the need for me to follow up with an Endocrinologist so I did. The word "Hashimoto's" was thrown around. I thought, "WOW! This fits the bill for me. I didn't realize it but I have A LOT of these symptoms." Hashimoto's is an autoimmune disorder of the thyroid in which you may develop a goiter and can cause hypothyroidism. 

     The Endocrinologist I saw performed his own ultrasound and was very thorough in his exam. He highly recommended a fine needle biopsy of the goiter on the right side. He also noticed smaller nodules on the other side. I had a 96% chance that it was hypothyroidism. I had the biopsy done. Who wouldn't? 

     Friday, April 13, 2012, my Endocrinologist called me and told me it was cancer. 

I can't tell you my life flashed before me, because it didn't. I couldn't see anything but tears. I remember calling my husband but not being able to speak a word. I remember him coming home and lying down on top of me and holding me. I remember him letting me cry. Crying is all I could do. When I couldn't cry anymore, I became angry. "Why me?''

     At some point, I knew I had to stand up and fight. I knew that my fight was not going to be like other cancer sufferers but it was still my fight. It was hard to hear other people say things like, "At least it is only thyroid cancer. That is the best kind to have if you are going to get cancer." 

My diagnosis was generally the most common type called Papillary Carcinoma which is easy to treat. However, one of the smaller nodules in the left side had what are called "Tall cells." Those cells are an aggressive type. My Doctor said we caught it just in time. If it weren't for finding the larger nodule in the right side, I could have been in trouble. 

Is it JUST thyroid cancer now?

I had the surgery to have my thyroid removed and have undergone radioactive iodine treatment to remove any remaining thyroid tissue left behind from the surgery. I am now being regulated on a synthetic hormone that the thyroid produces (Synthroid is what I am taking). That is a trip in itself!!

I feel like my life is slowly coming back. A gift that I cherish everyday when the sun comes up. I have an ultrasound in December of 2012 to make sure everything is going smoothly. I think it is. =) Thanks to my family and friends and my adoring husband who have been there right by my side.

 What a year! Let's NOT have another one like it! 


  1. Wow. What a year! I am glad things are turning up. I am glad you are doing better!!! :)

    1. Thanks Fawn! Me too! I's good to be back crafting a little again too. I am loving all your home projects!!

  2. How long did it take to develop the goiter and how large was the cancerous nodule?
    Thanks and God bless!

    1. I am not actually sure how long I had the nodules. The one in the right side was about 2.75 cm and then I had 3 smaller ones in my left side. Only one of the smaller ones was the aggressive cancer. Thank God for the large nodule in the right side! Hope this helps.

  3. Oh my! Your story has me in tears! Good for you for taking control and you've inspired me to take control of mine! Thank you for sharing.

    1. Nicole! Your comment now has me in tears! I am thankful my story has touched your life. I wish you all the best. You can do it! Keep your head up and just keep fighting!! =)


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