I got the call on Monday afternoon. It had been four days since they had done the biopsy and I had been waiting anxiously for the phone to ring. I had just gotten home from work, and hadn’t even taken my boots off. My husband held my hand as the Endocrinologist let me know that the biopsy showed that I have Papillary Thyroid Cancer.
I was suprisingly calm in that moment. Suprising to myself at least. I am sure that my husband expected me to react more than I did. The doctor let me know that we would talk more about what it means and what the next steps are at our appointment later in the week and I could ask any questions then. I could tell that she didn’t like making these calls at all, probably as much as people liked recieving them.
After I hung up the phone we sat in a bit of stunned silence. And then we went about our evening. He made dinner and I played with my Son. We changed and went for a run where we talked about what the treatment plan could be and how we hope that God will use this to his glory and his plan will be made clear to us somehow. We talked about the baby and how we hope that it will be strong and healthy through all of this. I remember telling him that I know I should have been more upset, but I’m such a planner – all I’m focused on is making a list of all the things that I need to do and need to know and need to ask. “I’ll have that breakdown moment evenutally, but just not this second.”
When we got home from the run we snuggled up on the couch and watched TV as a family like any other night. We put our Son to bed and carried on our normal things. We sent a text to our Pastor to see if he could talk. Our Pastor was able to call us around 11:30p. We are so blessed to have found a church family here where we know that we can call them any time of the day or night if we need something. We let him know the news and he prayed with us.
And then I had my breakdown moment, snuggled in my husbands arms on the couch.
On Tuesday, I woke up feeling rested and fresh and normal. I didn’t feel like I had Cancer. Could it really be true? How long has this been inside me? Months for sure, but it could have been years. Years of the doctors telling me that I was wrong and that my intuition was off track. I got ready for the day and went to work like any other day. We had decided that we would keep the news to ourselves until after my appointment on Thursday so that we wouldn’t have to try to answer questions that we didn’t know the answers to. After work I went to an ICAN meeting, and although I didn’t share that night, it felt good to help some other moms that are going through some struggles right now.
Wednesday I woke to a gloomy day outside, made the family breakfast and went to work like any other day. I went about my day like any other. It felt like I was just waiting around for answers though. Only one more day until the appointment. My emotions were definitely on edge, and I let a work situation bother me more than it should have. I was ready for answers.
Thursday we woke up very early and dropped our son off at a friends house so that we could go to the early morning appointment. Traffic seemed extra slow along the parkway, but it could have been my impatience too. By the time we made the hour drive to the Endocrinologists office my stomach was in knots and had a pounding headache.
The Endocrinologist is very good at explaining everything to me. She is, by far, the most responsive, thorough and communicative Endo I have been to in the past nine years. She confirmed that the Fine Needle Aspiration Biopsy showed that I have malignant Papillary Thyroid Cancer. It is an extremely treatable and slow growing type of cancer and we talked about the next steps in the process.
Since I am currently 15 weeks pregnant, and it is such a slow growing cancer, it is reasonable to wait until after the baby is born. We will have to work out the timing, but they will be doing a full thyroidectomy. The tissue will be sent to pathology and based on those results they will decide if radiation, chemo or even nothing else needs to be done. So for now our next steps include getting an additional thyroid ultrasound to remeasure the tumor and compare it to the ultrasound measurements in June. Second, we will be meeting with an Endocrine Surgeon and talking about the surgery itself and the timing. Third, I’ll be getting my thyroid hormones monitored each month for the rest of the pregnancy to make sure that they stay in the right range. I’ll be having a followup monthly with my Endocrinologist as well.
She also talked with me about some other lab results, and diagnosed me with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. I still have to do more research about this diagnosis, but she indicated that with the removal of the thyroid this will essentially be irrelevant after that.
While it is not so great to hear that I have cancer, it has also been a big relief. After years of feeling frustrated by the medical system, I finally have answers as to what has been causing so many of my symptoms. I feel like a big weight has been lifted off of my shoulders and we can move forward.
I will keep all of you updated about this throughout the journey. Thank you all for your continued prayers!