Year: 2013

Thyroid CA next step

Monday I visited my surgeon. She had my pathology report. I like to see her. She has so much positive energy. She is knowledgeable. She is very helpful. My cancer was not encapsulated and was within a mm of the border. not sure about this.My cancer was also in my lymph glands. So I will have a radioactive treatment. Next stop today was my endocrinologist. The radioactive treatment is complicated. Prep work is detailed and takes time. I will have to become extremely hypo active. I will be on a low iodine diet.  There is an injection called Thyroglobulin that costs $2500 that would cut the prep work to a much smaller time. My insurance will pay $1600 of it. I certainly am not able to pay the rest. In addition there will be the cost of the full body scan,  $300 under my plan. The drug company has an application for assistance. I filled it out and gave it to my Doc and she will give it to the person who will be getting authorizations. …

Thyroid CA surgery is done

On 10/16/13 Dr. Vasquez operated on me. I say she slit my throat but the appropriate procedure was a total thyroidectomy and central neck resection. I was lucky. I  had one of the best surgeons in the southwest doing her magic in my neck. I felt safe. I was supposed to arrive at the hospital at 5:30 a.m. with a clean neck and an empty stomach.  The evening before I received a call from the hospital and was told my arrival time  was pushed back to 7:30a.m. and my surgery to 9:30a.m. Good I thought, I can sleep in. Next morning I took my designated meds as instructed(BP meds, prednisone, Plaquinil) dressed in loose easy to get into clothes and I am ready to go. As we were loading into cars for the trip down the street and around the corner, my phone beeps and another change in the plan.  It is the hospital saying they are ready as soon as I could get there.  We are there in 5 minutes.  I register and copay.  …

ACT

I am seeing a therapist who has introduced me to the ACT program. It is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. I  had read something about it a few months ago. It had made me angry. My pain and fatigue was so bad I could not see that seeing things in another perspective would help me. That has changed. For now my joints are usable and my pain is tolerable. It might not last long but I had three days in a row where I felt normal. So I then found myself tired of the whole chronic illness thing.  I wanted to spend my energy on living not surviving. My visit to Dr Flippit was good timing.  ACT is about accepting the situation you are in. It is not resigning yourself. It is realizing your situation is here to stay. And instead of fighting it, you can learn  to live with it so you too can have a life. I am at the front end of the program. I see it as helpful. If you read about …

Pretty, please.

I am a visual person so I like my surroundings to be pretty, relaxing and happy.  I took this image in Newport Beach. Looks to me like a perfect place to live. Water and flowers. Perfect. Here in Albuquerque, my home isn’t fancy, but it is comfortable and it is a good place to be.        I do miss the water.  I am presently working on the 30 minute limit technique.  Not always easy.  It does work.             Thirty minutes on the computer, stop.                                                                                                      Give my cat, Emma, a bath  (you would have to understand the situation. She doesn’t mind). Stop. Then back to the computer. Stop. Work in the garden thirty minutes. Stop. Read for thirty. And on …

An excuse to color

Have you seen The Anatomy Coloring Book ? It is authored by Kapit and Elson and is in its 4th printing. It has just about anything you wanted to know about human anatomy. I bought one and a box of colored pencils. It has some good information about the joints, muscles and all that other stuff inside you. Benefits: you can learn just where the mischief is taking place in your body you can exercise your fingers and hands(use a pencil gripper, not the one at Walmart, the lovely ones on Amazon.) you can also check out the location of your spleen and a few of the other mysterious organs that you have wondered about. you can have fun and improve your brain cells all at the same time. It can be a long term project. Most importantly, you can indulge your creative soul and have fun with the childhood pastime of coloring.  

RA keep on dancing

With osteoarthritis movement means pain because of joint damage. It is tough to deal with. With RA moving the joints is good for them. Movement increases circulation. It  will ease the pain. If you have joint damage already,  this won’t work as well. On the way to the kitchen to make my morning coffee, I am moving my fingers, moving my toes, moving whatever will move. It helps me. Gets the kinks out. Lessens the pain. Keep on movin’ and dance when you can.  

An RA life is doable

This has been a roller coaster year for me. I was lucky in some ways with a sudden and severe onset. There was no question about my diagnosis. I searched and searched the internet looking for clues to my future. ( I suggest getting off the first two search pages if you want more than the same old thing.) My RA is a bad case. I have no remission. All the little joints in my feet and in my hands have been swollen for 9 months. Now I wake up daily to the surprise of what joints will be more swollen and demanding attention that morning.  I like to start the day by getting  all my little guys  moving.  My joints love me for it. I feel better sooner. I make my coffee. Love freshly ground French roast beans. It is worth getting up just to have a cup. I feed Emma and Jimmy. Heat my heating pad in the micro. Take my first pill of the day after a blood sugar check. Settle into …

Cancer and RA in older people.

I visited my rheumatologist today. I am in a flare. My feet are the usual problem, as are fingers, toes, ankles,shoulders. My wrists are too, but I still can do downward dog. New is my right pointer finger, swollen, painful. Because of the surgery she can’t add a biologic.  She said after the cancer is removed, my joints might improve. In an older person who develops sero negative RA, she strongly suspects cancer. She had mentioned this before. She said when the immune system is not working properly, cancer is also likely. She was right. Hopefully, the surgery is uneventful and the RA settles down. Her instructions were to stop the methotrexate the week before surgery. If my incision looks good, I can resume the methotrexate a week after the surgery. ( I will not be seeing the surgeon for two weeks following the surgery.) The surgeon wants me to stop the meloxicam a week before the surgery and resume a week after the surgery. The surgeon is seasoned, highly respected and board certified with …

My son said I needed to set the RA aside

My son, who was trying to be helpful, said I needed to set the RA aside while I deal with the cancer. Sounded like a good idea to me. Wish it could be so. I have been more fortunate that many with my RA. I am functioning. I do have energy most days. My pain varies but it manageable. I have a few small deformities. They are not big ones. I have an excellent rheumatologist. I have an excellent endocrinologist.  Yes, it is amazing. I can even spell these big words without looking them up. Added to my collection of experts is an excellent surgeon with a warm and friendly attitude. She is board certified with  special training in endocrinology at the Mayo Clinic. She also has  extensive experience with thyroid surgery. I will feel confident in my slumber under her knife. I expect to wake up, vital neck structures still intact. This is so very reassuring to me. Today I had an ultrasound of my neck. Thursday I have my last PT with Christine. …

The cancer surgeon

This was my scariest doctor appointment. My BP which is boringly normal shot up to 140. I was anxious. Fortunately, my son was with me to help keep the perspective and lend a reassuring arm. I was scared because this was the next step. I wanted to feel this woman was the right surgeon for me. She is. Dr Vasquez is a board certified surgeon with an endocrinology specialty from the Mayo clinic. She was energetic, thorough in her explanation, reassuring. I liked her. Like my other specialists she loves what she does, is knowledgeable, and is personable. That is a relief. Next I will need my lymph glands in my neck mapped. This is to see if the cancer has spread outside my thyroid. This will determine the extent of the surgery. I have my appointment on Monday. This is the next step in staging. If negative, no worries. If positive, lots of worries. So I will be glad when it is done. My surgery is in October. This is a relief too. After my …