What to do…


There are days when I find that I can hardly remember what I did 10 minutes ago let alone what I did first thing upon waking up.  So, when I get home from work and think to myself “gosh self you seem tired today… oh crap, did I forget to take my ‘anti-cancer’ pill today?” I find myself in a pickle of what to do!  Do I become an old lady and start using my handy daily pill dispenser so I can remember if I took my pill or not?  Would it really make a difference if I did? 

Here’s the thing, my pill should be taken 12hrs after last eating (empty stomach) and you cannot eat within 1hr of taking it and there are several other medications/vitamins/foods that you cannot take within 4hrs of taking the pill.   So really, the only time you can take it is in the morning. 

What can happen if I take 2 pills the next morning? Well in a sense I can OD my body on thyroid hormone.  I can have heart palpitations, have anxiety attacks, insomnia… basically everything in the body speeds up.  If I don’t take it at all, quite the opposite happens and everything slows down. 

Since taking too little hormone takes a while to cause real problems (except being super tired) and too much hormone can be a danger if the heart rate goes too high, I guess if I can’t remember if I did/didn’t take it that morning I should err on the side of caution?  Or maybe I should just suck it up and start using the pill box and take it when I realize I have forgotten it even if it isn’t quite as effective on a full tummy… What would you do?



Its a bit early but the next few days promise to be crazy busy and I have too much to be thankful for to just skip it.  In the spirit of my earlier post Gratitude, here is my Thanksgiving…

I am thankful for my parents who have been there for me every day in every way possible.

I am thankful for the little angels that pop in and out of my life at just the right moments.

I am thankful for my family and friends who bring a smile to my face.

I am thankful for the doctors, nurses, residents, techs, phlebotomists, pharmacists, nuclear medicine staff, registrars, secretaries, dietary staff, patient escorts, environmental services staff, valets, and a whole host of others that provided excellent care on my many trips to the hospital.

I am thankful for a God who is always watching over me.

I am thankful for a growing 3 Day for a Cure team and the many, many people who are passionate about finding a cure for cancer.  Someday, someone like me won’t ever know what it’s like to worry about tomorrow because of people like you. Thank you!

Most of all, I'm thankful for the early detection of my cancer, for the opportunity to live life with a different perspective, and the chance to live a long, cancer-free life.


Pink Gloves

Medline is promoting their new pink gloves with help from a hospital in Portland.  Once this video gets to 1,000,000 hits Medline is making a huge contribution to the hospital and providing free mammograms to the community!  Check it out!

Pink Gloves


Thyroid Cancer Update

Its been a while since I posted on the status of my thyroid cancer.  Mostly its been because there hasn’t been too much to tell aside from being tired and wanting a nap every day! 

Today I had my 6week post-RAI check up with my surgeon.  I had to get my blood drawn a couple days ago in prep – oh yay another needle stick!  Anyway, the first words we heard from the nurse were “You are on thyroid meds, right?”  Uhm… yesssss… Then she said the Dr would be right in and left my dad and I alone.  I turned to him and said “That can’t be good, my labs must be high.” 

So the Dr. came in with a resident and started doing a thorough neck check searching for enlarged nodes (I have none) and told me my TSH is at 13.0.  YIKES!  If you remember, “normal” people should have a TSH between 1.0-5.5.  Anything over 5 is considered hypothyroid.  Thyroid cancer patients are kept slightly hyperthyroid (between 0.1-0.3) so that any thyroid cancer cells that may be hanging out in our bodies are tricked into thinking they don’t need to work.  As long as the leftover microscopic thyroid cells aren’t working, thyroid cancer is not growing.  Me being at 13.0 means my thyroid cells (what little may be left) are working/growing AND I'm experiencing mild hypo hell.  I guess that explains why I feel a need for a nap still!

So the plan from him is to increase my thyroid hormone.  Here is a dilemma, I have an appointment to see my Endo in 4 weeks who will be doing my monitoring and prescribing from here on out.  I get poked for more labs in 3 weeks.  So do I increase my dosage now and screw up the lab tests in 3 weeks (it takes med changes 6-8 weeks to be fully effective) or do I wait to see what my Endo wants to do since he is the one who will be following me here on out?  I talked it through with my mom and we decided waiting until I see my Endo and then adjusting meds is our plan.  It means I will be slightly hypo through the holidays but I've been dealing with it since September, I think I can handle another month!



I have a superserious addiction right now to… raspberries!  YUP! They aren’t in season or anything but they were on “sale” for the lovely price of 2 teensy weensie packages for $5.00 and I bought them.  Then 2 days later [today], I promptly bought 2 more.  Now I'm halfway through those and am seriously considering a support group for raspberry addicts.  I cannot afford to spend $5 every day or two on just raspberries!!  Maybe I just need to move where raspberries grow year round and they sell for like $1/package. [are they cheaper anywhere?]  I guess I can replace my coffee addiction with them to justify the expense and tell myself I'm making a “healthy choice” but I know that alas, they will be very hard to find soon enough in this snowy state of mine.

If you know of somewhere where I can buy raspberries - or strawberries for that matter – year round for under $5 for 2 cups, please let me know.  I shall put it on the list of places to move to!

A little reading

To read about Susan G. Komen for the Cure's position on the article from last night's post, please click here!

I will write more thoughts on this topic later...


You Have To Be Kidding

Apparently a new government panel of expert idiots is weighing in on cancer screenings once again. [click here to read the article]

This time the subject is breast cancer specifically.  The expert idiot panel says that mammograms for women aged 40-50 leads to too many false alarms and that breast self exams do no good and women shouldn’t be taught to do them.  They also say that women should not get mammograms until age 50 and then should only get one every 2 years and if you are over 75, they don’t really think you need one anymore at all – after all, you have to go sometime…

This has to be a joke. I can think of no reason a sane person with a medical background who has spent any time at all with cancer patients would make such a recommendation!

I will concede that the traditional mammograms do not always detect breast cancer in its earliest stages. [how about paying for a digital mammogram instead?]  BUT, I will not concede that self breast exams are pointless.  I will not concede that mammograms are more harm than good to women aged 40-49.  I will not concede that it is a good idea to go 2 years between mammograms.

As someone who has known many, many women with breast cancer – diagnosed anywhere from age 21 to in their 70’s – I don’t believe that women of any age should be overlooked just because of their age or the fact that most breast cancers are “slow growing.” 

I have come to hate those words “slow growing.” Cancer by definition is uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the body.  Cancer is a rouge demon that does what it wants, when it wants, and by nature doesn’t follow the “normal” paths.  To some a year will make no difference in their prognosis, to others a year may mean death.

The 21yr old I mentioned above, she kept going back to her college health clinic because something was very wrong.  Her labs were wildly abnormal yet no one entertained the thought she might have cancer… until… until she fell while on summer break because the bones in her spinal cord cracked from the metastasis from her breast cancer.  Would a self breast exam have helped to discover her cancer sooner?  I invite you to read [or watch] the story of Geralyn Lucas who did find her breast cancer by self breast exam at age 27 and lived to tell her story.

I have a feeling the frequency of cancer screenings may drop dramatically in the next few years if we don’t take a stand against it.  Be your own advocate, request and demand screenings if necessary, and know that you have a right to fight cancer at any stage because you have a right to live your life to its fullest.


Cleaning House

This weekend was busy but not.  I spent most of it inhaling bleach fumes as I cleaned and disinfected my house.  It needed it quite badly at this point!  And since I wasn’t running around doing errands all over town or sitting on the couch watching mindless TV, I found my mind wandering to some pretty heavy topics that have been floating around in there. 

I’ve had quite a few “life” type things on my mind lately and I think I'm getting to the point where some changes are going to be made.  I personally think they will all be for the better but I'm not ready to share them quite yet.  Soon enough, my dear friends!  I just don’t want to get ahead of myself. ;o)


Will You Help?


1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. 

In the US, 1 woman is diagnosed with breast cancer every 3 minutes.

These statistics are startling and terrifying when you start to think of all the women who are important in your life who may get breast cancer. Many of you know someone who is fighting that battle right now. Many of you have already lost someone to cancer that you loved dearly.

After my recent diagnosis with thyroid cancer I feel it is more important than ever to keep on fundraising so no one has to battle cancer ever again. That is why I chose to walk in my 3rd Susan G. Komen 3-Day for a Cure! I will once again walk 60 miles in just 3 Days and commit to fundraise at least $2,300.

Why choose this event? Because of the amazing journey and the even more amazing amounts of money raised for cancer research! Yes, it goes to breast cancer research, but did you know that breast cancer research has resulted in many life saving treatments for other cancers too?

This will be my 3rd time walking in the 3.Day and my first time walking after my own cancer diagnosis. I'm actually still undergoing treatments and I'm not sure where the energy for 60 miles will come from, but I know it will come... and I know I have to DO something!

Will you help me and the millions of other cancer survivors who deserve to have a lifetime with their friends and family by making a donation?

Please take a moment to visit my fundraising page and make a tax-deductible donation. No amount is too small or too big when we are working together to save lives! Please pass this on to your friends and family to give them a chance to help too!

Hugs & Love...


Driving Thoughts

I have a 30-45 min commute to and from work daily, most of which takes place on very rural roads with no cell service.  During these drives my mind tends to wander.

Here is an excerpt of today’s drive home…

Ahhhh… its almost Friday! I don’t really want to go to work tomorrow and I could use a day to sleep in/clean, maybe I should call in sick? Do i need gas? Not yet, I can get it tomorrow… hope it doesn’t go up. 

Oh wait! It’s JEAN DAY – no way I'm missing that!  Do I have $3 for the jean fee? Seriously are you going to go that slow?! 

You know, I would make a good wife to a doctor or lawyer or something...  I could stay home instead of working and just involve myself in a lot of charity work instead.  Ooops, there’s my turn! Whoa lots of road kill, watch for deer! 

So excited that Gwen is available for the Crop!  Now we just need a hotel… we need to make a list of games/prizes/gift bag goodies… there is really a lot to do in the next couple months!  On the to do list: make a to do list!  Ewwww…more road kill… deer? 

Oh crap! I missed the news part about which roads are closed or are closing for the weekend!  Oh well… I'll catch it tomorrow.  Turn! Hmmm I think one of my tires is soft. 

What should I have for dinner?  I’m not really that hungry, maybe I won’t eat dinner… Why are my hands so cold?! My car says it’s 48F and I have gloves on, they should not be ice blocks! Maybe I'm hypothyroid?  Oh yeah I have to remember to get my labs done next week! Wait, I haven’t gotten my new insurance cards… maybe they are in the mail today…if they aren’t I'm going to have to call benefits to get my new contract number and stuff…  or do i call the insurance company for that?  Maybe my cards will come before I get them done?  When is my doctor’s appointment? Oh yeah its Thursday before the Thyca meeting… getting an ultrasound of my neck again… my neck has been hurting the past few days, I hope nothing is growing in there.  Why the heck is it so hot in here?! Oh my bum warmers are on!

Oh the red house on the lake says reduced price! I wonder if its under $500K yet?  I should check out grar when I get home.  Oops, better slow down in the construction zone… cops like to sit just around the corner!

Oh that’s the contest song… I think they draw the hot tub winner on Dec 17th?  I wonder if Aunt Dorie will win the hot tub?  What the heck are you doing?! DRIVE! 

Is it too early for pajamas?  I wonder if that place would donate something for our raffle prizes? Maybe I can get a weekend donated at that hotel?  I should really take a day off…  a hotel sounds really nice about now… STAY IN YOUR LANE! 

I should at least figure out if I want to take any days off around the holidays.  Have to get the request in now! Wow, I never hit this turn when it’s clear! 

I should really put my Netflix in the mail and get some new movies.  Maybe I should cancel my Netflix?   I’m definitely parking under the carport again… those cars were frosty this morning!

And there you have a peek into the mind of a commuter.


Is it Friday Yet?

After 3 very full days in a row, I'm ready to be done with this week. 

Sunday I spent almost 12hours doing laundry at my parents house because it hadn’t been done in almost 3 weeks.  At the end of the laundry marathon I was ready for bed but still had to drive 30mins home, carry the laundry up 2 flights of stairs, and put it all away. The putting it away part is the worst of all laundry parts followed closely by folding.  Oh how I miss my laundry machines and vow to never live in another place without in-unit laundry!!!

Monday I took a shower and was getting ready for work when I noticed a moldy smell in my bedroom closet.  I pulled out my hamper from the corner and discovered the wall to be wet and moldy. Fantastic. So I pull everything away from the corner and head to work where I was too busy to call maintenance.  Then I headed to my hair appointment and ended up getting home close to 10pm – also too late to call for help. 

Tuesday I worked from home in order to shower, pull stuff out of my closet and shower and vanity area where the walls were wet, and call the maintenance guy – I was also praying that it would be a quick fix but secretly preparing for needing to move out for a week while plumbing repairs were done. The guy came and fixed it in less than 1 hour!!  He had to pull the back of my shower off to get to the pipes but he repaired the leak, bleached all the moldy areas, and caulked it back together in less than an hour. I heart him. After working I went to the dentist and then led a team meeting which went longer than expected so I didn’t get home until almost 11pm.

I’m so ready for a down time night! Or maybe just bedtime before midnight when I get up at 5am?  Is that too much to ask?


Cancer Brain Attack

Proof positive that cancer brain/chemo brain/brain fog exists…

I got a new phone recently and its one of those fancy schmancy touch screen dealies.  Well I am endlessly amused by playing games such as Solitaire and Sudoku using the drag and drop and rollie-ball thingy.  So early in the week I played some Sudoku games and had a decent time of 6 minutes to finish the puzzles… fast forward to Saturday after a week of brain drain and feeling exhausted and it takes me 22 minutes to finish a damn puzzle with hints!

What’s worse, it just took me 20 minutes to write this.


Down With Christmas!!

No Christmas Tree

Nothing gets me more riled up than seeing Christmas decorations and displays at my local stores starting in October! [note: yes I am aware that it is now November – I'm a bit tardy posting my outrage]  Christmas is celebrated in December last time I checked and between October 1st and December 25th there are at least 2 nationally recognized holidays to honor! 

Yes there are plenty of Halloween displays [read: costumes and candy] but after October 31st all you see are Christmas decorations everywhere.  My sister said her store is playing nothing but Christmas music as of this past Monday – seriously?! 

What happened to Thanksgiving?! Thanksgiving happens to be my absolute favorite holiday and I am very saddened that every year it seems to get ignored even more.  Therefore, I am boycotting Christmas and all that is related to it until the proper moment - November 27th. 

I like Christmas and all that it represents religiously, don’t get me wrong.  I am just sick of the commercialism of it all.  I would be happy getting no gifts and just having a day to hang with my family, eating yummy foods… which is apparently why Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  There is no fuss, no focus on who spent the most on whom, no presents you will never use but don’t have the heart to return, no crazy decorative displays that take over the entire house and every chair in it.  It is simply gathering with loved ones, sharing a meal, and remembering what we have to be thankful for.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Christmas was focused more on gathering with loved ones and focusing on birth of Christ than frantically running around trying to find the perfect gift? 

I have much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving and I intend on giving it my full attention.  Christmas you will just have to wait!

And in the interest of full disclosure [and before I get ratted out by one of my coworkers] I must confess I am currently wearing Christmas socks.  But in my defense, they were the only ones clean!



Its Thursday and I'm sitting here wondering if I will make it through tomorrow because I'm just exhausted.  My brain is done, my body is done, I'm just done. 

It makes me wonder if I will ever get my energy level back?  Maybe I'm just not on the right dosage of my meds yet?  Sucky thing is although I have an appointment and labs soon to check this, any change in meds will take 6-8 weeks to make a difference. 

So I guess I will just continue to drink my green tea and hope that gives me enough of a boost to get through the day.  It’s about now that I wish for a cook, maid, and chauffer so I can preserve the little bit of energy I do have for more important things.


Cancer Vacuum

Since finding my original lump [aka: Bob] in May I have been in some sort of cancer vacuum.  My life was sucked into the black void that is a cancer diagnosis and is only just now coming back into the light. 

I literally can remember nothing about the last 6 months except things that relate to surgeries, RAI, LID, being hypo, getting labs done, going to the Dr, getting referrals… everything else is simply gone.  I sort of feel like I was asleep with the world moving on around me.  People got married, got pregnant, had babies, got engaged, got new jobs, bought houses… and absolutely nothing in my life happened except this crazy weird cancer trip dream. 

It sort of feels surreal.  Did cancer really happen to me?  I have the scar, a new script, Dr. appointments, lab tests, and non-working taste buds to remind me that… Yes, it did indeed happen.

On a life changing note: Congratulations to my cousins Lacey & Chad on the birth of their first baby – Wylie Joseph!


Vaccination or Not

MILLIONS of people get a hospital acquired infection every year and thousands will die because of it.  Think about it, people in hospitals are generally there because they are sick. Their defenses are down.  Yes, hand washing is the major way to prevent the spread of infection.  Second to that is avoiding people who are sick.  Uhm when you work in a hospital that is next to impossible!  The best thing you can do is to protect yourself from the infections your patients, visitors, coworkers may be carrying which will in turn protect your patients.  Some people argue that employees should just stay home when sick.  Yes, that’s true… BUT… many times you are contagious before you even realize you are sick.  Heck I probably was contagious Friday.. my only symptom was a splendid headache but as soon as I got home, all heck broke loose!  And raise your hand if you have ever worked when you were feeling under the weather… yeah, that small cold to you can be deadly to someone who is immunocompromised.

Ok so I know there are valid, health related reasons some people cannot receive this vaccine.  (Those persons are exempt with physician documentation by the way)  And I also know that there are many objections out there to vaccines in general and I'm not here to start a massive debate on vaccines and autism.  I just think that everyone who does patient care should very seriously consider the patients they are serving and how they can best protect their health and well-being.  If that means employees getting a vaccination, washing their hands until they are chapped, and being slightly short-staffed when people are sick then THAT is where I want to be treated when I land in the hospital.

Anyone else have an opinion?


F-L-U is a 4 Letter Word

Ok so not really but it sure should be!  My wonderful holiday weekend was totally ruined by the FLU.  No, not H1N1.  I got the good old fashioned gastrointestinal flu. 

It hit about an hour after I got home on Friday [thank goodness it waited until I got home!] and from then on it was pretty much the couch or bathroom for me all weekend!  On Saturday I wasn’t throwing up anymore but my tummy still felt gross so I still couldn’t eat.  Friday and Saturday I hurt absolutely everywhere and found it hard to sleep more than a couple hours at a time.  I finally tried a piece of toast Sunday morning after not eating since lunch on Friday and it stayed down and in so I was deemed “well” by mom and allowed to go to the family “Happy ThanksMas” [so named because we were technically celebrating Christmas but it was the day after Halloween and we had to fit Thanksgiving in there somewhere].  So I attended the festivities and ate more than my tummy thought appropriate and felt not so hot by the time we left.  When I got home I went straight to bed again. [yup, that’s my exciting weekend for ya!]

I must say that I fared far better than my aunt and friend Christy who DO have H1N1 – both have come down with pneumonia as a result of that particularly nasty bug!  I’m praying that they both get better soon! 

Upside of this weekend, on Friday morning I was down 6lbs from my stupid hypo/cancer weight gain… now I'm down a total of 12lbs!  I’m sure that will come back on as soon as I can get rehydrated but I will enjoy it while it lasts! ;o)