Friday, September 6, 2013

Check Your Neck

How in the world is it September already?  This year is flying by in crazy fast speed.  Since it's September, it's also a month that is near and dear to my heart, it's Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month.  This is the one time a year I will get all preachy and on my soapbox.

Five years ago in June of 2008, I was diagnosed with Papillary Carcinoma, aka Thyroid Cancer.  At the time, Lewis E was two and a half, and my sweet E was just six months old.  To say I was freaked out would be an understatement.  It didn't matter that it was "just" Thyroid Cancer.  It was still a form of Cancer.  It didn't matter, that it was supposedly "the best kind of cancer to have". That statement can be a bit of a misnomer as sometimes, that is not always the case.

It was a bit scary.  I was freaked out by the thought of having a scar in such a prominent place.  Shallow, much?  I know.   It took me three years, two Radioactive Iodine treatments and more blood tests and adjustments to my Synthroid dosage before I got my all clear.  Three years.  But I did and I was very fortunate.  I now go back yearly to my endocrinologist to check and make sure nothing has changed and that's it.  I do have to be watched closely because a little smidgen of my thyroid was left as it was too close to my vocal chords for my surgeon to remove.  So my thyroglobulin level is always checked.  As long as it is "just measurable and stable" I am good.  Since Thyroid Cancer can be recurring, and I technically still have even just a small piece of my thyroid, it's something that we just have to monitor and I'm ok with that.  Sometimes, ignorance is not bliss.  
I can not stress enough how important it is to have your neck checked for any Thyroid related issues.  Early detection is key.  Thyroid Cancer is the fast increasing cancer in incidence.  It does not discriminate, young, old, male, female, everyone is at risk.  As I mentioned even though it is treatable and supposedly one of the "good cancers" certain variations are very aggressive and that can make treatment difficult.

According to a press release I found on ThyCA (the Thyroid Cancer Survivor's Association, in 2013 alone 60, 220 people will be diagnosed with Thyroid Cancer.  A record high.

For more information about Thyroid Cancer, please feel free to check out either ThyCA or Light of Life Foundation.  Both are exceptional resources and can give you more in detail information.

As for the scar I was so freaked out about?  You can barely see it now, but I still see it every day.  What I once was freaked out about, I now wear proudly as it is a reminder that I can be tough when I need to be tough.

 Eventually though,  as someone pointed out to me it will eventually blend in with my neck wrinkles.  That's a bonus, right?