Cancer Remembered: A Success!

This post is part of a month-long series on my cancer experience of 2013. They originally appeared on my blog at
I’m good. The kids are good. The surgery was successful and I AM CANCER FREE!
So I went to the doctor last Wednesday…and she said my scar was healing “beautifully.” First things first…she got over the strep throat and the 8-hour surgery with a lot of nervous 20-somethings. You know on the medical shows when the residents are trying to the “good surgerys?” That was me on June 10! They were trying to get in on my thyroid!!!!! Random yes, silly yes, but what do you think I’m supposed to be in a situation like this?
I go back to UT Southwestern in about 3 weeks to have my blood drawn. Here’s what we’re doing now…regulating the synthetic thyroid hormone in my body. And the way we regulate is totally trial and error.
So right now, I take 1.5 pills each morning. It take about 6 weeks for the medicine to get in my system, so we will check my blood levels again in 3 weeks. She will request a Complete Blood Panel (CBC) because they need to check my white blood count, red blood count, and all the other things they check when they look at your blood.
Two other things that WE SHOULD NOT WORRY ABOUT but we should look out for are my heart rate and my anemia. While I was in the hospital, I was diagnosed with anemia. I kind of knew that my iron count has been kind of low. To fix it, I take prescription iron pills…they are a little bit stronger than the over the counter vitamins.
I have to take my thyroid medicine on an empty stomach first thing in the morning…then I have to wait at least four hours until I take the iron pills with food.
On my heart…here’s the deal. Part of the big tumor was pushing up against my heart in addition to the lungs. So my heart kind of got used to working a little bit harder for me. Now the the tumor is gone, the heart is still pumping really fast because that’s what it’s used to doing. So we have to re-train the heart to pump at a normal rate. I had an EKG when I was in the hospital, so I’m good. It just doesn’t need any extra crazy in my life. We will kind of watch and see. I don’t have to take any medicine for that.
The other meds that I’m taking (with food, when I eat) are a thyroid multivitamin, and Aleve. Yes, I do still have some pain, so I only take that as needed.And finally, until we check the blood levels, I’m also taking calcium supplements…again, at least 2 hours after I’ve taken any other medicines.
To manage all these medicine rules, I set a notification on my Google calendar that tells me when I’m supposed to take it all. How do people remember all of this?


Cancer Remembered: Support

This post is part of a month-long series on my cancer experience of 2013. They originally appeared on my blog at
Another common question is, “What kind of support do I need right now?”
The truth is, I don’t know. I know that I don’t like to ask for help, but honestly, I’ve  never been through something like this so I really don’t know. Prayer does help, so if you’re the praying kind, by all means pray. But ummm….shouldn’t we be praying for friends and loved ones already? (I’m just saying).
What has helped is talking to each of you and ending the conversation with “I love you.” What’s also helped is when you speak my language…telling me about things you’ve googled, blogs I should read, and talking to me in medical terms like I’m you know…medical.
I really enjoy feeling smart…and I am really proud to have so many doctor friends. The medical talk is me really paying homage to the coolness that is medicine. So, go with me here….the tumor is in my thoracic region (not my chest).
If you run across anything I can do at home to help prepare my body for surgery…herbal teas or vitamin supplements I can take, let me know. An important part of cancer recovery is eating right. I have had a love affair for more than 30 years with french fries. The french fries are being traded in for fresh fruits and veggies, wheatgrass, and other things.
Oh…I hate the word suffering. It sounds so pitiful. I am not suffering. I am dealing with health issues, but not suffering.
For my out of town friends, I understand the need to stay in touch. As my line sister psychologist Vanessa says, “I need to see you and hear you.” We can Skype, Facetime, or Google Video Chat…anytime!