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Monday, August 27, 2007


Well, I think that some of you are still logging on to check if I've typed anything. So, here I am! I've been busy the last few weeks now that Alexander is home! Peter stayed home from work the first week that Alexander was home and Dad was here for a week helping me transition. I sent Dad home on a Thursday and have been on my own for over a week.

I've gotten quite a bit of my energy back and am starting to feel like myself again. I still get pretty tired by the middle of the afternoon, especially after chasing Alexander around at the pool all morning.

I have an appointment with my endocrinologist next week. She'll check my TSH level and will adjust my medication as necessary.

That's the update for now. I'd like to type more but I hear a little boy saying, "mummy, come and get me out!" More later...

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Still sleeping

News from here is no news. I'm still sleeping a majority of my days away. I'd like to brag that my energy is back and that I'm out and about so much that I don't have time to blog...But that's not the case. I phoned my doctor last Thursday, hoping for a little sympathy (and perhaps more medication). The nurse returned my call on Monday afternoon, less than sympathetic and said that I should be feeling better by the end of this week. So, at least I have something to look forward to!
I did drive over to the Green Hills YMCA today to get some information on joining (that wore me out, if you can believe it). It's expensive to be a member of the Y, in my opinion. A family membership is $89/month! That seems fairly extreme, especially when swimming lessons and Pilates classes cost extra. I guess that's the price of fitness! We'll probably join since I'd like to begin some sort of fitness program and I'd really like to get Alexander into some swimming lessons.
In fact, they have some swimming lessons that begin next week. What better way for us to bond than through some forced interaction in the water? He loves 'swimming' so it should be lots of fun and it's only for two weeks so if we don't like it, we can always do something else after those two weeks are over. We'll miss out on our playgroup and some great MOMs club activities but Alexander can show off his bubble blowing ability to all the cute girls, excellent trade off for him, I think!
Sorry that I haven't kept up my end of the bargain with the blog...I haven't been doing enough to inspire my writing creativity! I promise to keep you all more updated - my in-laws had to resort to calling me last week and this week to get updates! Thanks for checking on me!
My parents have promised to forward some photos of Alexander - I'll share them as soon as they arrive! No pressure, Mimi and Papa...we know that you're tired!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The sandman hath visited

I've been sleeping since Friday afternoon! I guess that's not entirely true as I have been able to read the entire Harry Potter book...but other than that, I have been sleeping. I wake up and I am tired, I fall asleep and I am tired. I'm so weak that I can't zip up my own dress. This morning I woke up and had to talk my legs into getting out of the bed so I could make it to the bathroom. Don't feel sorry for me, though. I'm sure all this rest is good for me! It's a bit frustrating not to be able to get things done around the house. What other time in my mother-hood career will I have the house to myself to decorate, clean, etc without 'help' from little elves who do more to hinder progress than help it?

However, I have many things to be thankful for - synthroid and cytomel, to begin with! I have started my thyroid replacement drugs and am hopefully on the mend. Because patience is one of the virtues that I struggle with most, (Christmas and all of the wrappings are like torture for me!) I had quite hoped that the medicine would, after one dose, make me feel peppy again. I've had the first dose and I'm still feeling pretty wimpy. Darn. Well, there's always tomorrow's dose! I'm taking 4 pills in the mornings and one in the evening. So, maybe after tomorrow's dose, I'll begin to feel a bit more like myself.

Until then, I am (trying to be) content to doze in my bed and enjoy the quiet of the day. I've been cold a lot, due to the hypothyroidism, so Peter and I have enjoyed dinner outside several nights in a row. I could get used to that! I think we've been lucky because the evenings have been cooler and not as humid as typical July/August weather. Nevertheless, I'd like to make eating outdoors a habit as much as possible because it's so relaxing to sit under the stars and enjoy a conversation.

Alexander continues to do well with Mimi and Papa. He spent 30 minutes in the shower yesterday, making up songs and playing in the water. I assume that he had to get out because the water began to get cold! Papa says that Alexander made up a whole song about Mummy. That makes me smile! Keep my parents in your prayers as they sound so tired. Those of you with young children know that it's difficult to keep up with your kids...just imagine having to do it at the age of 60, when you thought that you were done having to have conversations with a two year old who says "I don't like ______ (insert everything here)" and says "no" to every question posed. I'm sure my parents will be glad for a quiet house and the opportunity to sleep an entire weekend away!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Home again, home again, jiggity jig

And...I'm back! After spending a few uneventful days in l'hopital de Baptiste, I am home, sitting in my own bed. I have great news! My full body scan, completed this morning, showed that the cancer has not metastasised into my lungs, bones, or far-away lymph nodes. The iodine was sucked up by cells in my neck, the remaining thyroid cells and possibly a few lymph nodes not removed during surgery. For those who need that spelled out in plain English, the cancer didn't spread past my neck. So, that's great news! No additional treatment will be necessary and I am believed to be in the clear for now! Just as any other cancer patients are monitored, I will be checked every six months to a year to ensure that the cancer has not come back. Thyroid cancer does have a fairly high rate of recurrence in young people (I'm considered young in this instance). However, I don't feel worried at all about that fact. I'm glad to be rid of the cancer for now and know what to expect if I have to go through the radiation treatment again. I slept most of the 3 days so I can't really complain much. The most difficult part is being away from family and friends!

I'm still on restriction for a few days. I'm to eat off of paper plates and Peter has graciously taken his place in the guest bedroom. Alexander is having a grand time visiting with Mimi and Papa in Indiana - I believe they went to the zoo today and Uncle Matt and Aunt Michelle are stopping by to say hello tomorrow. We'll get Alexander back the first weekend in August. We'll be ready and I'm sure my parents will be ready for a good, long break without a two-year-old in the house!
I won't begin my thyroid replacement hormones until Monday so I'll still be feeling very tired until those drugs kick in (sometime around Wednesday or Thursday). By the time that Alexander returns, I should be feeling pretty good. And, by the time my TSH level reaches that of a normal person, I should be feeling like a whole new woman. I am looking forward to that! According to my endocrinologist, it will take between four to six weeks for my medication to get into my system and level out. Then, she'll adjust the dose as necessary to ensure that my levels stay very low.

Thank you very much to Allyson, Brendan and Connor, friends from England who sent a pretty bunch of flowers today! How cheery after being in that drab hospital room for three days! Allyson is due to give birth to their second child any day now. Allyson, if you're reading this, please update me on your progress!!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

News from Baptist.

Despite what everyone might tell you, you should always second guess them...well, at least when it comes to wifi access at Baptist Hospital. Even the nurses don't know about it! My nurse and I were discussing the archaic technologies that the hospital provides and she mentioned that she couldn't believe they didn't have wifi. Well, surprise! I turned on the computer to watch a movie and found that there is a network here, available at no cost. I've logged in and seem to be up and running! Rest assured though, at least they have all the big network television channels. I can watch all of the reruns just fine. Peter brought my computer last night so I've even been able to watch a movie. (No DVD player provided)

There isn't a lot for me to report since I've been stuck in the same room for over 24 hours. It hasn't been too difficult for me though. I slept almost the whole day today! I felt a bit nauseated this morning so they gave me a dose of phenergan in my IV. Because I am so hypothyroid, the dose affected me much more than it would a normal person. I slept from 5 in the morning until noon when Judy brought me lunch. She stayed her allotted 30 minutes and then I slept. I was awakened at 2:30 when my doctor came in. She chatted with me for about 3 minutes and then I was out again. I finally got myself out of bed around 3:30. No more of that phenergan for me. I can't believe how long I slept! The good news is that I haven't had a chance to be bored.

Also, I'll be released from the hospital sometime tomorrow. My radiation level has steadily been going down. The magic number is 7. I began at 35 and went down to 20 by yesterday evening and then 9.5 this afternoon. I should be down to 7 tomorrow morning. They'll do a whole body scan (a bit like a CAT scan, I think) to see if my cancer has spread. Then, Peter is free to pick me up! At least I'll be able to convalesce in my own bed. Or at least my own house. Peter and I haven't discussed which one of us will sleep upstairs while we're supposed to be avoiding each other. I have a feeling that I'll lose that battle but I will let you know!

Brian and Ed came to visit tonight and didn't seem too scared about the radiation. Brian even ventured near enough to open my curtains for me. It was nice to see some friendly faces who weren't bringing in syringes or stethoscopes! I think they just came to find out if I really was glowing in the dark. Sorry to disappoint!

I'm looking forward to going home tomorrow and will update you when I am settled!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Glowing in the dark

Hello readers, this is Peter with an update on behalf of the quarantined patient. I will try and keep it brief as I've just spent about an hour creating a blog only to have it inadvertently deleted. Never mind.

This morning I accompanied Anne to Baptist hospital and after some waiting we got her checked into her room. I left before they brought in the radiation pill, but Anne reported that it was not hard to swallow. She is in good spirits and the only complaints are some slight nausea this afternoon and the fact that she had to wait hours for lunch to arrive, after being forbidden from eating all morning. I suspect "room service" was scared off by the large yellow and black radiation sticker on the door.

If anyone would like to visit Anne she is in room 6614 at Baptist Hospital. I know she would appreciate seeing her friends. There are a few visitor rules for everyone's safety:
No children or pregnant women, I'm afraid.
Visitors must remain about ten feet from the patient at all times.
Visitors to limit exposure to 30 minutes per day.
I can report that Anne is not yet glowing in the dark, but I intend to further test this by turning off the light tomorrow and seeing if she shows up.

Thank you to Judy Rash for visiting today and bringing candy to the patient.
A big thank you also to Gary, Lyra, Ollie, and Megan Heard who sent a lovely vase of flowers which arrived yesterday, along with love and well wishes from Ashford, England.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Sorrow and Sunshine

I mentioned our friends Paul and Ericka and their baby, Eden Elizabeth, the other day. Eden passed away on Saturday in the arms of her loving parents and her burial was today. Peter and I attended the graveside service and stood with all of Paul and Ericka's friends and family, joining them to celebrate Eden's short life. It was a difficult day for Eden's parents and for all of us. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers as they return to everyday life without their beautiful daughter.

A ray of sunshine appeared for me on this sunny yet dreary day. It came in the form of a basket filled with all sorts of things for a quarantined, radioactive person. Thank you so much to my playgroup friends - Debbie, Estelle, Holly, Emily, Sheri, Kristen, Sara, Wendy, and Alyson (I hope I didn't forget any of you - if I did, I'll blame it on the hypothyroidism)! They are truly a great group of friends who have provided us with meals, phone calls, e-mail and now books, magazines, puzzles, pajamas, music, bath and body stuff, scrapbooking equipment, and more!! As if I wasn't emotional enough had to go and do something so great and perfect for my upcoming treatment! It almost makes going into isolation sound fun! Here are a couple photos of the basket that they brought I had to add a few because the basket was so full that you couldn't see everything in one - the photos don't do it justice because you can't see everything but you can get a good idea of how fantastic these ladies are!!

I'll be off of the computer for a few days but will try to have Peter update it for me. If you don't see any posts for a few days, don't despair...I'll be back and typing again very soon! Wish me luck as I enter hazardous materials land!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Weekend fun!

Just a quick note to let you all know that we spent some quality time as a family this weekend. Alexander even got to ride his first donkey. He loved it! I took about eighty photos of him riding around so I thought I had better share one!
Everyone has asked how I'm feeling. The best way for me to describe my physical symptoms is to say, "you know how you feel when you're getting the flu? You get all achy and worn out." I've been feeling that way for about a week. It's pretty frustrating to get worn out just walking around the house but there is a light at the end of the tunnel! I'm looking forward to feeling how my surgeon described - "You'll feel like a new woman!" I'll be better than new after my medication kicks in! Hooray!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Special delivery and other news

Yesterday morning, after rolling out of bed around nine, Alexander and I were peering out the front windows to survey the day lily planting that my dad had completed a bit earlier. I was still in my pjs and was surprised to see my friend, Kristen Thompson, and her son, Jamie, walking up to our front door. I didn't even have time to run and comb my hair or make myself decent before answering the door. Kristen wasn't stopping by for a social visit though. She and Jamie had made me some banana-wheat muffins from the Thyca Low-iodine cookbook. They were still warm when she handed them to me! I could have hugged her and Jamie at that moment! And then, I ate one. I was in heaven!!! That special delivery made my day. Thanks, Kristen (and Jamie)!!! (As if that wasn't enough, she also made us dinner from the cook book so we could actually try to enjoy the day instead of doing a lot of cooking!)

Yesterday was actually a pretty busy day. I visited my surgeon for my 3 week, post-op visit. I was given the all clear. She says that the swelling around my incision will continue to subside and that I'm a trooper for getting through my recovery, especially considering that my TSH is above 100. All the medical personnel that I've run into are shocked that I'm awake. I think it's pretty amusing, actually (because if I laugh, I won't cry) that I've achieved a TSH that is three times as high as it needed to be. Ugh! The good news from Dr. Williams is that I'm able to pick up Alexander and that I'm healing up just as I should be.

I had a little bit of pampering time in the late afternoon since Judy picked me up and took me to my favorite venue for pedicures. I chose a coral color. When Isabella, that was the name of my little Vietnamese pedicurist (um, pedicure-giver?), asked me if I wanted a flower painted on my big toe, I looked at her and said, "how old do you think I am, six?" She giggled. And then, after thinking about it for about 8 seconds, I said, "oh, it could be fun." So, now I have a little flower on both of my big toes, each with a tiny little 'diamond' in the middle. I'm actually quite pleased with them and may try it again sometime. Alexander told me that they're very pretty so the party to whom it really matters has been appeased! He keeps holding my toes and examining them, probably wondering if they're stickers that he can take off and keep for himself.

In other news, I've finally had a call from my endocrinologist's office. I'm scheduled to go in for my radioactive iodine therapy on Wednesday, July 18, 2007. I'll eat the low-iodine diet until I go in on Wednesday. I've asked my doctor if I'll have to continue the diet in the hospital and hope that I'll receive an answer to my e-mail by Monday afternoon. I'm not sure what the protocol is for e-mailing a physician but she's pretty good about returning phone calls so hopefully she'll answer my e-mail questions promptly as well. I'm not sure, yet, whether I will have access to my computer while in the hospital but I hope to send home a blog entry or two, with Peter who I am quite confident can type and post them for me. He's much better about catching my typos so you'll probably enjoy them being typed by him.

Alexander and my Dad are set to head back to Indiana on Sunday morning. This will allow me to get some rest before my treatment. Peter will be working from home, cooking me low-iodine meals and making sure that I don't give in and eat a block of cheese. Keep my parents in your prayers since taking care of a very two year old acting two year old is very tiring.

One more note about the diet. Tonight we made the most fantastic meal! We had chicken tortilla soup, homemade guacamole with no-salt corn chips, and homemade salsa. Everything was made from scratch, even the chicken broth that we used in the soup. It was actually pretty fun to do all the cooking. Peter, my dad, and I each pitched in to make the meal a success. We're all very full and I am pleased to say that we have left-overs which we may have tomorrow for lunch!

I know that this blog is supposed to be about my cancer journey but I did want to mention Paul and Ericka Maple, friends of ours from church. They had a little girl, Eden Elizabeth, on Monday who has a rare chromosome abnormality. From the e-mails that we have received, it sounds as if Eden's condition is much worse than they originally expected. I know, first-hand, how it feels to be in their position. Please, please pray for this family.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Well, the cat is out of the bag. I am a serious overachiever. Yes, that's right. My TSH level came back and is 123! A quick explanation for those of you who are frowning at the number. A normal person's TSH is between 0 and 5, they were waiting for mine to go up to 40. So, gee, no wonder I'm not feeling great since my level is now up to 123 (one hundred twenty three). I was so shocked when the nurse said it. I said, "Well, I guess that's high enough, then." She giggled.

Anyway, they'll schedule my radiation for next week. I'm beginning my low-iodine diet today. I spent an hour at Fresh Market perusing labels and didn't come up with much. I did find meat and chicken that hadn't been infused with broth (broth typically has iodized salt). If I can find some energy somewhere, I might try Wild Oats tonight. They're bound to have more of a selection of dairy-free/salt-free stuff, right?

Is it wrong to mention that I miss cheese already?

Monday, July 9, 2007

Back on the road!

I went to the endocrinologist today so the vampires could do their thing. We should know the results of my TSH test within 24 hours. Cross your fingers, say your prayers, send your good karma...I'm hoping that my TSH level will be high enough so that they can go ahead and schedule my radiation treatment. While I'm not looking forward to the treatment, I am looking forward to beating this cancer and I can't do that just sitting around, waiting!

Two big pieces of news today. Number one: I drove! Yes, I ventured out in the car. I drove all the way to TJ Maxx in Brentwood. And, I managed to spend at least $50 while I was there. I knew you'd be proud. I'm sure that each of you who chauffeured me around are happy to know that I can, once again, drive myself over to Kroger to buy my own butter. I am pleased to be 'free' although haven't ventured out again since Saturday night, well, not on my own anyway. It did take a lot out of me. I wonder if this is what it's like to grow older. Each day for me is like aging a year (or maybe ten). So tell me, my more mature readers, as you look back, would you say that you have less and less energy? Does your short-term memory begin to have more and more holes in it? Do you have aches and pains that can't be explained? I do, I do, I do...and I'm not talking about my wedding vows!
Okay, other big news. Alexander is home again! My dad is here, helping me. I should really say it the other way around. My dad is here and I'm helping him. Dad's been taking care of Alexander for three weeks so he's a seasoned professional. I feel like a new mom and am trying to get into the swing of parenting again. Alexander's testing the limits and my fuse is shorter than it usually would be. This should be an interesting point in my career as a mother. I will let you know how the next few days go. It will be challenging, I know.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

New red shirt

This photo brightened my day! In my opinion, it should brighten your day too but I'm probably a little prejudiced!

Hope you had a great fourth of July! Peter and I watched the Nashville fireworks on TV. We had a great seat and parking wasn't too much of a problem.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Guilt, Golf, and Blind spots

Peter's just guilted me into writing. He says that my loyal readers have logged in, expecting profound statements about my life, and have felt cheated the last few days. So here I am, trying to keep you from becoming a disgruntled blog-reader! (Plus, I don't want to lose my following. If all four of you stop reading, then why am I keeping up with this?) Maybe Peter ought to add his two cents since he's so concerned. I can't guarantee, though, that he would be as entertaining as I. ha. Also, if Peter began taking over my blog, you might find out that I'm taking out all of my frustrations on him. Nah, I better stick to the writing!

Oh wait! Now, the truth comes out. Peter just asked if he could change the channel to the Golf channel since I'm doing my blog. He's not concerned about you, the reader, he's worried about guys in chartreuse golf shirts discussing the upcoming tournament.

Since I'm logged in, I suppose I should update you. Alexander is back in Indiana this week. After a long weekend with Mimi, Papa, and Alexander here at our place, I was beat. Sending Alexander back was extremely difficult for me and I broke down in tears just after they drove away. In my defense, I hear that mood swings are part of hypothyroidism. I do plan to blame each and every personality quirk on hypothyroidism for at least another six months. Or maybe six years. Anyway...Alexander...I know he's in great hands but it was very distressing to admit that I couldn't handle taking care of my own child. The good news is that I've been able to rest the past two days and Alexander is having a ball with Mimi and Papa. He wasn't even interested in talking to me on the phone today, I think mostly because Elmo's World was on TV when my dad was trying to get him to come to the phone. I know that I made the right decision. Why is it that the right decision is always so difficult?

On Friday, I will begin my low iodine diet. I'm going to do my best to take the few hours a day that I feel half-way decent to cook for the next two weeks. The diet is quite strict and excludes all restaurant food, most store-purchased breads, and all dairy products. There are a lot of other no-nos on the list but those listed are the ones that I think will affect me the most. I've read through the cookbook which I had Peter print out. Most of the recipes sound good to me but do include quite a bit of cooking. Because I have been warned that I will continue feeling worse and worse, I want to try to get a jump start on freezing the meals. Almost all fresh fruit and vegetables are okay to eat so Peter will be spending his evenings chopping fruit for me (instead of watching the golf channel).

I do want to send out another thank you to those of you who have chauffeured me around the last couple of weeks. It has been frustrating for me to be cooped up in our house for such a long time so that trip to a new restaurant, the post office, and Target have done wonders for my mood! Oh, and I can't forget about my full tummy - we've been so blessed with food! Thank you to all of you! We haven't had a bad meal yet!!

Just quickly, my pain has really diminished and for that I am glad! I'd describe my discomfort as tightness, I think. I'm a bit nervous about turning my head quickly and am still unable to look completely over my shoulders (to check my blind spots). That's what's keeping me from driving. My next hurdle is to be able to drive so that I can get around before my iodine therapy. Trust me, you don't really want me driving right now! I'd be that person who pulled out in front of you on the interstate. So, to save you from getting your mouths washed out with soap, I promise not to drive until I can check if you're behind me!

Friday, June 29, 2007


I'm happy. My baby finally came home! Alexander looks different and even sounds different. He went away calling me Mummy, the British version of Mommy and has come back calling me Mommy. I can't believe that my parents kept him for less than two weeks and they've changed my name. It sounds foreign to me when he says Mommy - I can't get used to it. For the last 2+ years, I've been Mummy, in fact, my entire motherhood has been spent as Mummy. I reprimanded Mimi and Papa but I don't think it has sunk in.

I'm amazed, daily at the things that Alexander knows and says. He's speaking, most of the time, in complete sentences. Sure, he has his moments...he did tell me that he breaked something yesterday. The toy was, in fact, broken...or breaked. Those of you who don't have kids or who have brand new babies, enjoy each stage of babyhood because that thing that you hear every parent say, "They grow up so quickly" is completely true!

As far as how I'm feeling, since I haven't updated you in a few days, I'm doing fairly well. I've been able to talk on the phone a bit and have had some good conversations with visitors. I'm pleased that my voice sounds like my own, although it does get worn out after a lengthy discussion so I'm learning to quiet down when I feel it straining. It's probably a good lesson for this loud talker! My pain is lessening and I would categorize it now as more of a stiffness. My incision is still quite swollen but Peter reassures me that it looks better and better each day. I'm confident that, in time, it will be unnoticeable. Unfortunately, I am beginning to feel the effects of the loss of my thyroid, commonly known as hypothyroidism. The worst part, thus far, is the tiredness. I feel as if I am a young child...I get so tired throughout the day and if I miss my napping or sleeping opportunity, I get overtired. I've had trouble sleeping, despite the fact that I'm exhausted. It's frustrating!

Luckily, I am still being treated like a queen. My parents are here for the weekend and my dad plans to stay next week. Meals are still being delivered and friends are still checking on me. I can't say enough how much I appreciate all of the help that we have received and that I know is still coming. It's very difficult for me to ask for and accept the help (although the delicious meals have made it a bit easier) so I'm sure I'm learning some sort of lesson in humility.

Last, but certainly not least, I wanted to thank my friends from New Life Thrift Store for picking me up and taking me out for Mexican the other night. If any of you need any gently used stuff, stop by the store at 4802 Charlotte Pike. Or, if you have more gently used stuff than you can handle, drop it by the store - your donations are tax deductible and the money raised goes to a great cause! The guys at the store can load your car up with ease, see the photo below!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

"That's LARGE!"

I think you'll all be glad to know that my pain is much better today. I'm still sore but it's nothing like last week! I still can't yawn without wincing in pain but if I continue to improve as I have been, I'll be yawning like a cat in no time. I spoke with my endocrinologist, Dr. Pandula, yesterday. She let me know that the tumor that was on my thyroid was around two and a half centimeters in diameter. In her words, "that's large." So because the tumor was large and because the cancer spread to my lymph nodes, my radioactive iodine dose will be adjusted (this is not new knowledge). What I did learn was that after I'm in the hospital (for 3 days), I am not to be around Alexander for 10 days after I return. I was shocked and fairly upset as I've nearly gone crazy this week, missing him. Of course I don't want any of my superhero powers to rub off on Alexander, they won't affect him in a good way. But my selfish nature just wants my baby back! But, in the words of my surgeon, Dr. Williams, "it's better to give up that...than die of cancer." I know. She doesn't mince words, does she? Everything that I've learned about surgeons is that the better they are at their jobs, the worse their bedside manner. My surgeon was less than encouraging about things that she considered minor in my life but she was quite confident in her abilities, something that I'm glad about as I stand and examine my scar in the mirror. It's still a bit swollen and red but once that goes down, it's going to be much less noticeable than my c-section or appendectomy scars (although I don't plan on sharing either of those scars with anyone besides Peter)!

On to other news, I'm still being spoiled with meals, entertainment options (books, magazines, etc), and visitors. When my treatment is over, Peter may move out to live with Sherri Ingman who brought us fancy (and tasty) meals two nights in a row. Thank you, Sherri, and everyone else who has stopped by with something to make my jail time a little bit easier.

And one more thing before I find myself some nourishment (is Oreo ice cream a good breakfast food?)...Alexander talked to me on the phone today. At the end of our conversation he said, "See you later, alligator!" Before I had the opportunity to add the crocodile part, he said, "After a while, crocodile!" He cracked up over the phone and it was like music to my ears. Have I mentioned that I miss that kid?

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Wonder Woman!

I have received several questions about the radioactive iodine therapy that I have to undergo so I thought I would share what I know. I do know that this is my one opportunity to be a superhero. Radioactive Man didn't sound like much fun so I choose Wonder Woman!

News from a fellow patient: My daughter was recently diagnosed with Grave's disease. When she went in for her radioactive iodine treatment, the nurse went over do's and don't's. Do sleep alone, do flush the toilet 3 times after using,etc. The last thing she said was, "Get up at 3 a.m." When my daughter asked why -- the nurse replied, "Don't you want to see if you're glowing in the dark?"

I certainly want to see if I'm glowing in the dark!! Seriously, though, here is what I know:

I'll begin the iodine therapy in a couple weeks. I must wait until my TSH level reaches an all-time high. The TSH level is a measure of the hormone that the pituitary gland sends to the thyroid, telling it to work. Now, obviously, I don't have a thyroid anymore so the pituitary gland will be working overtime, yelling at the thyroid. As those messages are sent out, any thyroid cells that are left in my body will 'light up.' So, that's when I take the radioactive iodine. Because your thyroid gland is the only one in the body that absorbs iodine, all the thyroid cancer cells will absorb the radiodine. As with anything that absorbs radiation, the cells will be destroyed. I'll stay in the hospital for at least three days as my radiation levels go down. I won't be able to receive any visitors for longer than about 20 minutes per day and they have to stay at the opposite end of the room from me. When I am released, I will still be excreting the radiodine and will therefore be unable to see Alexander for at least five more days. Children and pregnant women are the most susceptible to the affects of the radiation. I'll be on restriction when I arrive home - I'll eat from disposable plates, sleep in a different room from Peter, and flush 2-3 times after using the toilet. They don't want you to take any chances! I have a first-hand account of what it's like to be in isolation and it doesn't sound like much fun. The treatment makes you feel very nauseated and the medication that they give you to relieve the nausea makes you feel woozy. Of course, I'd much rather sleep my way through the three days than feel nauseated the whole time. In theory, the treatment will work and will destroy all the remaining cancer cells. I have met one person who had to do the treatment twice so my next major hope and prayer is that this one treatment will eradicate all of the cancer.

I'll go in two weeks to have my TSH level tested and hopefully I'll be ready to move forward with my treatment. I'd like to try to get my life back to normal, if there is such a thing. One thing is for sure, I'll be caught up on all the celebrity gossip, new films out on DVD, and will be well read in the chick-lit department. I should probably enjoy all this time to myself but I really do miss Alexander and his need to get up and go!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Sticky Situation

Today is day 5 and listed on my post-operative instructions was the most painful of the instructions to date: tape removal from my incision. The tape covered the incision from end to end and seemed to be quite happy being stuck there. I have been fairly good about following directions, I take my calcium pills, I practice voice rest (soft talking at home), no talking on the phone (I did break this rule once or twice as I NEEDED to talk to Alexander and his caregivers, my parents), rest, rest, and more rest. So, I got into the shower and let the ends of the tape get damp. I decided not to go with the quick rip that many like to do with a bandaid. I did find that it was easier to take it off when I wasn't watching myself in the mirror. The tape peeled off without too much resistance and I stumbled out of the shower. Yes, I admit it, I got a bit woozy. Peter sat me down on the bed and made sure that I wasn't going to pass out.

I'm happy to say that I didn't hit the floor and I made it through the most dreaded part of today! I'm allergic to the adhesive in tape and bandaids so I'm red all around the incision. But overall, it's not too gross looking and I'm hoping to get out of the house today. Peter says he's taking me to lunch - he's suggested Cracker Barrel but that just doesn't strike me as the first place that I want to go after being stuck in the house for almost a week.

I wonder if people will stare at me and wonder what happened. I do like getting attention but that sort of attention is not the type that I'm after. It will probably be a good learning experience for me and will probably make me appreciate being healthy even more than I already do. Actually, most people probably will avert their eyes and I'll be the one feeling self conscious. I shall let you know how my first outing goes.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Find Out Who Your Friends Are

Run your car off the side of the road
Get stuck in a ditch way out in the middle of nowhere
Get yourself in a bind lose the shirt off your back
Need a floor, need a couch, need a bus fare
This is where the rubber meets the road
This is where the cream is gonna rise
This is what you really didn't know
This is where the truth don't lie


You find out who your friends are
Somebody's gonna drop everything
Run out and crank up their car
Hit the gas get there fast
Never stop to think 'what's in it for me' or 'it's way too far'
They just show on up with their big old heart
You find out who your friends are

Everybody wants to slap your back
wants to shake your hand
when you're up on top of that mountain
But let one of those rocks give way
then you slide back down
look up and see who's around then
This ain't where the road comes to an end
This ain't where the bandwagon stops
This is just one of those times when
A lot of folks jump off


When the water's high
When the weather's not so fair
When the well runs dry
Who's gonna be there

Thank you so much to Tracy Lawrence and whomever wrote this song. It's so do find out who your friends are when you're down in the valley. Our Drees Home warranty representative came over yesterday to check on me. This is a guy whose job it is to make sure we're happy with our house and that any problems get fixed. I wouldn't have considered him a friend, really...but he does know what it's like to go through a major surgery and he mentioned that you really find out who your friends are. He even offered to talk to us or bring us food. I'm in awe at the number of people that have offered help and followed through since I found out about having cancer. Tonight, someone that I've never met is scheduled to bring us dinner. I'm sure that she's not wondering what's in it for's just nice. I appreciate the friends who have been so busy at work, just stopping by for a visit or sending an e-mail. I know that you're too busy...but you did it anyway!

I guess this edition of my blog is to say that I'm moved. I'm surprised. I'm thankful. Without you, I would be hungry, bored, and lonely! I feel very blessed to have friends like you!

Oh what a beautiful morning!

I really can't complain much today. I looked outside and it is a beautiful day. Plus, the UPS man (or the Cooper S man, as Alexander calls him) pulled up this morning and left a box on our doorstep. Peter brought it in and I tore right into it. Turns out that my brother, Matt, and sister-in-law, Michelle, have been thinking of me. They sent me a bonsai tree!! I've seen them advertised online but hadn't actually seen one in person. Looks like I'll have to keep it alive for a while so that it can grow into a mature tree. My new bonsai tree gives me a reason to keep living!! Ok, totally if I wasn't going to keep on living. But I do want it to turn into one of those really cool plants like on Karate Kid. I'll be catching flies with my chopsticks in no time! I'll have to take a photo of it in a few minutes but first I need to find some breakfast!

Thanks so much to my visitors yesterday! You are keeping me from going nuts!!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

I quit.

I'm not good at depending on other people. I prefer to be the person that other people depend on. Therefore, I quit. I'm going to click my heels together three times and say, "There's no place like home." And then I'm sure I'll wake up from this nightmare which seems to be my life.


I woke up and it seems that I'm still sore and my calcium levels are dropping (my face, fingers and toes are all tingly as if I sat on them for a long time). I guess this Kansas is my reality. It must be the lack of ruby slippers. Anyone have any ruby slippers that I can borrow?

Until those arrive, I suppose I have to pretend like I'm happy to be cooped up in my bedroom with bad movies and no telephone...the plus side of my recooperation is that the doorbell continues to ring. I've just received another beautiful vase of flowers! Thanks, Scott!! I do have the best realtor in Nashville, I'm sure of it. If you need to sell a house or buy a house, drop Scott a line - here's his website: He's young, personable, and is almost famous (he was on one of those HGTV Househunters shows)! Aren't I lucky to live so close to the stars?

Anyway, I've discovered that I can't quit. Maybe I'll just nap instead.

All Clean Jelly Bean!

You'll all be happy to know that I just took my first shower since the surgery. It felt really good to stand under the hot water although it's quite difficult to do so without getting my neck wet. My post-op instructions indicated that I could shower a day after the surgery but to take special care not to get the incision wet. I did my best. You might be wondering about the's about 4 inches long and is bruised all around. You can't really see the exact incision because it's covered up by some tape (scary to think that I'm being held together by a piece of tape).

I met a girl online who had thyroid cancer and had the same endocrinologist and surgeon that I have. She's doing very well and has beaten her cancer. She's supposed to e-mail me later to tell me more about her treatment and recovery. I'll let you know what she says.

Each day, I feel a tiny bit better. I'm still quite sore and obviously get tired very easily. I'm ready for my nap and all I've done is shower! This is what they mean by taking it easy, I guess?!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Fwowers!! (it's what Alexander would say)

I'm officially spoiled! Check these out! Ok, I can't help it...I love being spoiled! It's really too bad that I had to go and get cancer so that people would send me flowers. I'm going to have to start randomly sending people flowers. That way, no one else has to go out and get cancer, they can just have the flowers. Keep your eyes never know if you'll be the one to receive the happy-grams!


Thanks for the kisses, Judy! Did you guys know that each Hershey Kiss has a message on its flag? Here are a few examples:

1. Cheer up! 2. I hate Mondays (especially after this past Monday) 3. You rock (my personal favorite)

Peter found one that says, "Kiss someone." The next one he found says, "Oops." I'm not going to read into that.

Oh no! (Path Report Results)

Well, I just received a phone call from my surgeon. The pathology report is back and it shows that I have the tall cell variation of papillary carcinoma - that's not great news because the tall cell variety is much more aggressive. The path report also shows that the cancer has spread to my lymph nodes. She took out 14 lymph nodes and the cancer showed up in five of them. I didn't realize that she had taken out so many of my lymph nodes but I guess it's good that she did. Dr. Williams (the surgeon) will pass the information on to my endocrinologist who will put together my treatment plan. My treatment will still be the same - radioactive iodine, the dose will be higher now that we know that the cancer has spread.

I'm trying to keep a positive attitude and am pleased that 3 minutes after I got the phone call from my doctor, I received 4 more flower arrangements! (Photos to come) Boy, am I spoiled!! Thank you to Irene, Neil, Robert, and David, Peter and Alexander, John and Linda, and Clare, Steve, Amy, and Charlotte!!

I'm still feeling quite sore and worn out. I'm having trouble getting comfortable enough to nap. Might have to move out onto the couch this afternoon.

Fact of the Day

Giraffes don't have vocal chords. I guess that means they wouldn't have to worry about talking on the phone after a surgery like mine. Lucky giraffes.

Thanks, RTL!

Every girl loves to get flowers, especially when she's feeling rotten! This photo doesn't do this arrangement justice but I can't move around well enough to get a better photo! Thank you so much for the flowers and I hope I'll be up to margaritas soon as well!!

Good morning!

I figured that I better get blogging since some of you England folks are looking for an update. My first night at home went pretty well - I only really woke up once and that might have been because Peter got up. He thought that he heard someone (or something) knocking on the window. He was up in his dressing gown (robe) turning on all the lights in the house. The knocking must have been VERY loud to have woken him up as he's a heavy sleeper. After scaring away whatever the sound was, we settled back into bed. I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to fall asleep because it's very hard to get comfortable. I guess I didn't lie there long before I drifted off though. The next thing I remember is Peter getting up again and saying that he was supposed to be on a conference call right now.

Peter's working from home the rest of the week. Since I'm not really supposed to have marathon conversations, I think it will work out well. I'll save my voice for my visitors (yes, that means you)! And, Peter won't get too behind in his work. He's been a trooper so far - he's really been helping me a lot. I haven't had to lift a finger, aside from typing, of course.

The one thing that I miss about the hospital is the the adjustable bed. It's hard for me to go from a lying position to a sitting position. I really had no idea how much I used my neck muscles until now. I'm still really in shock that my surgeon didn't give me any good pain meds to bring home. As Judy said, "one would think that after having an organ removed, at least a week's worth of meds would be prescribed!" I like the way that Judy thinks!! I'm totally missing out on the prescription pain drugs!

I've read an entire book already, thanks Holly! Chick lit is a perfect way to pass the time. For those who have never ventured into the realm of chick-lit, you must try it. It's not for men and it's not for those who like to be deep thinkers during reading. It's light and easy to read. I just finished This Heart of Mine by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. I find that most of the stories are a bit far fetched, although not quite as much as those Harlequin romances. Those are just outrageous! I read one while on vacation in the Smoky Mountains...not worth the paper that it was printed on!

I'm nervous to find out about my results this afternoon. I guess they'll call Peter since I'm not allowed to talk on the phone. I'll update you as I have news.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Home from the hospital

Only one night in the hospital and then home. One of the major concerns after a thyroidectomy is one's calcium levels. Before the surgery, I was given lots of Vitamin D as it aids in the absorption of Calcium. It looks like the Vitamin D is doing its job - my calcium levels are normal! I'm taking 3,000 milligrams of calcium a day for the next month to ensure that my calcium levels stay up. If my face, fingers, or toes start getting tingly, I have to take tums by the handful to make sure that my calcium levels stay up.

Today has been spent almost entirely in bed. I'm positive that I've spent more time sleeping in the last two days than Alexander. Of course, Dad says that Alexander only took an 1 1/2 hour nap today so I guess I'm beating him as far as the naps go.

I'm in mild discomfort - my throat hurts from the breathing tube that they used, my neck is sore where they did the actual surgery, and my muscles are sore all around the surgical site. I feel like I need a massage but I'm sure that's probably not the greatest idea. I'd probably end up feeling worse than I already do. The bad thing is that my doc didn't send home any good pain meds so I'm stuck with tylenol!

I should get the results of the pathology tomorrow. They'll look at my whole thyroid and all of the lymph nodes that they removed. My surgeon did mention that the cancer looked pretty nasty - she said something about tall cell papillary carcinoma which is a more aggressive type of papillary carcinoma. This means that there is a greater risk that the cancer has spread to my lymph nodes. The positive thing is that they will treat any remaining cancer the same way, no matter if it has spread. I'll receive the radioactive iodine in either case. The pathology will determine the amount of the dose of iodine that I receive.

My appetite seems to be fine, that's a bit of a disappointment as I was hoping I might lose a few pounds during all of this!

The story of the week is really Alexander's bed at my parents' house. Right after we left on Sunday, my dad heard Alexander making quite a fuss (he had just gone down for a nap). Turns out that the crib had come apart in one of the corners. Alexander told my dad that the bed was bad!! Luckily, they haven't had any trouble putting him back to bed after the incident. They fixed the problem and he's been sleeping like a champ ever since.

Well, it's off to la-la land for me. I'm getting worn out and have run out of things to say!! More tomorrow!