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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!