Posted by: paigeturner123 | January 4, 2011

new year!

Another year has gone by. I am hoping for the best for all of my family and friends. I know there will be struggles, uncertainty and pain, but there will also be love, laughter and smiles.

Right away I will be facing some fears. Next month I go in to have my year follow-up Whole Body Scan. Current Thyroid Cancer guidelines do not require everyone to have this year follow-up scan, but my doctor is being extra careful with me because of the extensive lymph node involvement of the cancer. It is still really strange to me saying, thinking or even writing the word cancer in relation to myself (still). I can see it in others as I talk about it too. That concerned optimism. I’ve learned a bit of wavering optimism (moves between smiles and worry lines) that moves into realism (a bit of irritability slips in) that morphs into uncertainty (a bit of crying pops up) that rolls into acceptance (I’m totally calm here) and then we go through the whole thing all over again. I’ve already moved through the cycle once at the end of 2010. I’m in the acceptance phase to begin 2011, which is nice (especially for the bf).

I think the hardest part of a lifelong disease, at least for me, is explaining it to people. I want to be able to simplify it. The disease itself can be explained by sending the person a link to a web page or giving them a pamphlet about it. The complexity comes in when you try to explain the emotions that come a long with the disease. Emotions that you thought were perhaps dormant or you didn’t even know you had. I have not felt such anger or despair in my life (aside from the death of a loved one) or felt the sting of uncertainty that lingers and will never go away the way it used to. Now, it is like a constant humming in my ear that I know is there. How do you explain this to someone who has never had to think about death in a very real sense. I’m not saying that I am dying, but the trauma of being told that you have cancer and not knowing what that meant, thinking you are going to die in your early 30’s, is not something that is easily translatable. I remember feeling like I couldn’t trust my doctor once she told me that I wasn’t going to die from this type of cancer. Besides all this, your thyroid messes with your hormones pretty badly. So when you have to stop taking your meds it’s really nerve wracking. I’m not sure what that will be like. Just another thing to be uncertain about, but somehow I will learn to accept that. That’s the only thing I can do.

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Posted by: paigeturner123 | December 31, 2010

Low Iodine Diet round 2!

So I’m going to share with you my Lid menu for the next round of Lid. I will be on it for 18 days this time and I want to be a bit more prepared than I was last time. I am a pescatarian (who eats eggs) so my options for protein are limited to freshwater fish, eggs, nuts and beans.

Last time I was on the diet I did not have enough variety prepared and I got really frustrated and CRANKY! I am hoping to cut down on that this time around, especially since I will be completely off my medication this time. I was able to get thyrogen injections last time.

OK, so here are some important points to help you understand this diet a bit better, but you can also see my earlier blog post for more information.

• No kidney beans, navy beans, or black eyed peas
• Basmati rice is best for this diet.
• I have to limit my grain and rice intake. The iodine content depends on the iodine content of the region where the grain was grown.
• The diet is a low-iodine diet, Not a low sodium diet. Remember: Low iodine has nothing to do with sodium. Sodium is in most foods. Table salt is sodium chloride, not sodium.

So, the things that I am going to prepare ahead of time are:
Lentil soup (using balsamic vinegar to give it some tang, freeze)
Make and freeze bags of black beans (or white beans)
Make tomato sauce (freeze or keep for up to a week in refrigerator)
Tomatoes
Garlic
Basil
Non-iodized salt

banana muffins

Chocolate cake
3 cups flour
5 tablespoons cocoa
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
¾ cup plus 3 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons vinegar
1 tbsp vanilla
2 cup cold water
Combine first 5 ingredients. Add oil, vinegar, vanilla, and cold water. Mix slightly with mixer or by hand. Bake in 9 x 13 inch pan for 35-40 min at 350 degrees.

No-bake cookies (for baby shower while I’m on LID)
1 cup sugar
1 cup unsalted peanut butter
Pinch of non-iodized salt
4 tbsp oil or vegetable shortening
1/3 unsweetened cocoa
3 cups oats
You can adjust to your liking (more pb or coca etc)
Stir first 5 ingredients over low heat. When it is mixed well and creamy, add oats ½ cup at a time. Drop on waxed paper till cool… enjoy!

Peanut butter cookies (freeze)
1 cup peanut butter (unsalted)
1 cup sugar
2 egg whites
Mix ingredients. Roll into small balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Press with fork. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes!)

Bread or pizza crust
In large mixing bowl, combine the following:
½ ounce yeast
2 cups warm water
Mix with for. Then add:
2 teaspoons non-iodized salt
2 teaspoons sugar
4 cups flour
Let dough rise 5 minutes. Then spread on 12 x 18 baking sheet using Pam or canola oil. Garnish as you please. Rosemary or Mrs. Dash. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 min or until golden brown.

Vegan pesto
4 cloves garlic
6 table spoons pine nuts, non-iodized salt, pepper
1 large handful fresh basil
6 table spoons extra virgin olive oil
Throw ingredients into blender, blend them, and then toss them into fresh spaghetti

Things to make on the fly!
Smoothies
Use: frozen berries, juice, sorbet, bananas
Salad dressing (balsamic vinegar and oil with garlic)
Salad fixings (greens, unsalted nuts, apple, grapes)
Mayonnaise (make with egg whites)

Things to have on hand:
Corn tortillas (without iodine)
Matzo crackers (unsalted)
Trader Joe’s apple butter
Unsalted peanut butter
Potatoes (make sure to peel before eating/cooking)
Unsalted nuts
Fruit and nut bars
Fruit salad
Eggs for (egg white omlete/scrambled eggs)
Potatoes (will have to peel before cooking)
greens (for salads)
veggies for stir fry or side

That’s it. I’ll keep you posted on how the cooking goes.  I am blocking out 2 days to get it all done… hope it turns out OK.

Posted by: paigeturner123 | December 26, 2010

Day 5 of Cytomel!

OK, so I am on day 5 of cytomel and things are OK. I was a little worried about hair loss and weight gain and so far I am fine with that stuff. Although the weight gain could be happening because of all the holiday foods I have been indulging in! It’s hard to resist cake, fudge, and hot chocolate. The most I’ve noticed as far as side effects go is that I feel flushed for an hour or two after I take the meds and I also just feel warm in general. The first day or two my hands were sweaty as well.  That has mostly gone away. Not sure if this is because I’m in Arizona and not used to 70 degree weather or if it is the meds, but I’ll be back in Oregon in a couple days so I’ll find out soon.

I was reading up on side effects and apparently Cytomel is taken by a lot of people for things like weight loss and depression. I only saw a few who took it for depression, but there seem to be a fair amount for the weight loss. Thought that was interesting.

Overall, I feel good.  I’m still a little nervous about those 2+ weeks that I will be completely off my medication and on the Low iodine diet, but for now I am doing well.

Also, Christmas was nice this year. Money, a few items of clothes, kitchen stuff and gift cards!  Tonight we are going to Las Noches De Las Luminarias and then I will get to hang out with some friends I’ve known since I was 12 or 13.

Posted by: paigeturner123 | December 19, 2010

Hypo-thyroid-keep accepting

OK, so I “get” to stop taking my medication on Wednesday the 22nd!  This should be interesting.  I will be taking another medication that is supposed to combat the effects of not taking my levothyroxine.  It’s called Cytomel.  I think I will have to take it twice a day (I hope I remember that!).

Before I do that I will have to take a blood test to make sure my TSH levels are OK.  I changed my medication dosage again.  Feeling really good though.  I think we got to the right dose.  I’m taking two different doses M-Th is the higher dose and F-Sun is the lower.

I’ve been doing pretty OK considering the way my mind sort of runs away with things. I saw a movie a couple weeks ago that triggered some emotional reactions.  It was about clones who were created to donate their organs for people with terminal illnesses and things like cancer. I didn’t realize how it had impacted me at the time, but then I got a little freaked out about my upcoming tests. For me, this whole thing has been largely emotional/psychologically trying. I really haven’t had any major physical complications (weight gain, hair loss).  I’ve mostly had to deal with anxiety and depression. Even those have not been able to take hold of me for long.  A week here and there, but that is when I really need support from people.  Luckily, I have people in my life who are there for me.

Needless to say, I’m worried about the upcoming Whole Body Scan and hope that I come out clear.  If not, I know that I will go back into isolation for a week (including a 1-2 night hospital stay). I’ve never gone hypo before so I don’t know what to expect.  My Thyroid nurse says I will have 2-3 weeks that I will feel like I have the flu and probably be pretty tired. Oh, and I have to be on the Low Iodine Diet for 2 weeks too! I can keep wishing that these weren’t things that I need to think about, but that is not my reality.  I have to think about this and go through with the testings that come with it. I have to accept the uncertainty of life and keep accepting that. I must accept that I have to enjoy my life as much as I can. Especially when I am feeling well. If I don’t have that, I’m not sure what there is.

Posted by: paigeturner123 | November 6, 2010

Good-bye Thyroid Anniversary

So a few days ago, I believe it was November 3 (my Mom could tell you the exact date) I said good-bye to my thyroid. Are you wondering what my past year has been like? Well, I will tell you.

1. I had a thyroidectomy with radical neck dissection (right side).
2. I had Radioactive Iodine treatment (RAI of 150) and was on the Low Iodine Diet for two weeks.
3. Had my whole body scan and ultra sound that came back slightly off.
4. Had another ultra sound, a CT scan and lots of blood work. All came back clear and with good results!
5. Somewhere in there I made it to Mexico for some relaxation.
6. Went to New York for a wedding.
7. My bf and I broke up for good reasons. I had a couple of bad months there, but things work out.
8. I played lots of soccer and scored some goals.
9. I tried to enjoy life a bit more and really roll with the punches. Nothing in life is as important as you think it is.
10. Wanted to have a major epiphany after my cancer diagnosis, but didn’t. I’m basically the same person I was before this whole thing. It just brought out more of my thoughtful personality.
11. I started hanging out with someone “new”. Someone I have known for 6-7 years.
12. Tried to appreciate the family that I have and the support that they always give me.
13. Came up with some new craft ideas and started on one of the bigger ones.
14. Now have a writing schedule and am hoping to finish my novel in 6 months.  Currently, it is over 25,000 words (about half the size of a short novel) .
15. Was asked to join a writing group. I did.
16. Created a new book group called mini book group. We read novellas that are considered classics.
17. Went to a total of 6 weddings in about 8 months!
18. Went to Seattle with the new bf and saw Bruce Lee’s grave and Kurt Cobains old house and attended the last wedding of the 6!
19. Am glad that I could never have imagined how great my life would be. If I could have, I might not think it is so great right now.
20. Smashley came to visit me over my birthday and we had fun!  I even entered a raffle to win a tea package at the Chinese Garden (my first time there) and WON!

Thyroid, I didn’t need you anyway. I’m not mad at you, but I want you to know, letting go isn’t as hard as I thought it would be. I know about good times and bad times and there are more of those to come … there is nothing I can do to stop that nor do I want to.

Posted by: paigeturner123 | October 29, 2010

I’m posting again!

Nothing too exciting going on around here, but I am doing well. I just had another blood test and will get the results on my TSH levels probably next week when I call. I seem to have to ask for the results instead of them just calling me to let me know what is going on. I think I am all set for my WBS in February though. I am thinking of things to make for the LID diet and am just hoping that being hypo won’t mess with me too much.

In other news… I do not know what I am going to be for Halloween. I had a good idea, but then I ended up feeling like it would take too much effort to make it. Might just go as a tourist or something lame like that!

OK, I’m going to get going on my writing for my novel.

Posted by: paigeturner123 | October 22, 2010

Starting to update again!

Really, I’m going to start updating this once a week about my life and things that I find interesting in the thyroid world and other worlds.

Today I had to go to my yearly “well woman exam”, or let’s just say Pap! I talked to my Gyno, he is a man. I just have to say he is great and I am so glad he is my gyno, I know a lot of women say they would NEVER go to a man for these types of things, but his style of working with his patients fits really well with me. I like information and he gives it to me freely. I never feel like he is rushing out the door either. ANYWAY, we had a little discussion about whether or not I have a significantly higher risk of getting breast cancer since I have had thyroid cancer. I thought I would have to start mammograms earlier than most women because of this. He said that since I do not have breast cancer in my family, I should not worry too much about it. My risk only goes up slightly for secondary cancers. That’s a good thing.

I’m back to writing more regularly. I’m hoping this will help me finish my novel. I am so happy that I still like writing and reading it. It’s a slow process, but I feel really good about what I’m writing so that is what is important to me at this point. My writing group is helping me a lot in boosting my confidence and helping me to break through some of my trouble spots so that’s great.

Soccer is going well. I scored two goals the other night and I have a soccer game tonight. I am going to go down to soccer once a week after October… it’s just a little too much for me.

OK, I’ll write more next week!

Posted by: paigeturner123 | September 12, 2010

Updates

OK, I’ll start by saying I am not going to apologize for not posting in the past two months. I’ve been busy playing soccer, reading for two book groups and getting back to writing for a writing group. Apparently I’m a group person. I just hope this doesn’t mean I will be going into a group home anytime soon… I’m not ready for that sort of thing!

I had a doctor’s appointment last week with my endocrinologist. It was the first time I met her and I really liked her. She gave me lots of details on how we are going to manage and monitor my stuff. I was sad to find out that I have to have a whole body scan in January or February and in preparation for it I will have to get off my medication. What this means, for those of you who don’t know, is that I will be hypo thyroid for about 6 weeks. Hypo thyroid is not fun, or so I’ve heard. It feels like you have the flu and you are very tired all the time. You can’t remember anything and some people lose hair and gain weight! UGH! On top of that I will have to be on my low-iodine diet again for two weeks. It’s because of that stupid little 3 mm nodule that showed up on my first whole bodyscan. lame. The CT scan showed it as being gone, but my endo wants to be ABSOLUTELY sure. I’m glad though I want to be careful and on top of this crap too. So, if there is still something there I will go right into RAI treatment again. Oi! which means isolation for a week.

That’s all for now. I have been feeling really good and know that this scan has to happen and I’ll just deal with it!

Posted by: paigeturner123 | July 1, 2010

fingers crossed

I know I haven’t posted in a long time… I will try and get better.

This one is going to be short. I have two test next week to check for reoccurence. A CT scan and an ultra sound. My anxiety levels are a bit higher than I’d like, but I will manage. Day by day.

I found a great web site:
http://www.dearthyroid.org

Check it out. I’m still looking at it and it seems like there aren’t a ton of cancer stories on it, but they do have some and it talks about chronic illness and that’s what cancer is… basically.

I’m still getting my medication adjusted because they want to keep me suppressed so that cancer won’t come back.

In other news, welcome to my emotions! I’ve got lot’s of them and they just keep coming out!

Posted by: paigeturner123 | June 5, 2010

Back on track

OK, I am getting back on track with writing on this thing every week. I’ll start today by saying that I am feeling pretty good, I think my medication is working better, but I still might need a little more adjustment. I’m feeling a bit manic at times, but it might just be the fluctuating weather. Today is SUNNY! Maybe this means summer really is on it’s way.

In health news, I just found out that my endo will not be coming back to the office. This is after 3-4 months of emergency family medical leave. I really just hope that she is OK. I have an appointment with my surgeon in two weeks to go over some blood test results, but she doesn’t really know about the endo stuff… she’s a surgeon! I am going to ask for recommendations for a new endo as I’m sure it will take a long time to hire a new one. I don’t want to be in limbo for too long. If I have a reoccurence I want it to be caught right away and dealt with.

In other news… I’ve been playing soccer (futsal) and have been scoring goals here and there. I am feeling much more confident and I am learning a lot about the game. I’m planning to watch as much of the world cup as I can this year, but since I don’t have cable I will be relying on friends and different places around town that are showing it. I actually found a neighborhood coffee place that is playing it. I can only go to the weekend games, but I’m excited.

I’m also turning my novella into a novel. I’ve finally figured out what was missing (I think). So I’m going to buckle down on my weekends and get that done! Actually any free-time I have I am going to try and just write. That’s all I need to do in order to get this thing done. Plus, I still really like it so that’s important and this point in the game

OK, hope you all are well.

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