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.  …

An RA life is doable First year

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 …

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 …

I have cancer

The good news is my Rheumatoid Arthritis is doing much better as I settle into methotrexate/Plaquenil/meloxicam/prednisone combination. I am back to downward dog(my favorite in yoga). Thought I would never get there with my wrist involvement.  Sooo very happy to be there. The bad news is that I have thyroid cancer. At my age I’m not so lucky. Seems the best time to get it is between 17-45. Before and after those ages it can be very aggressive. I had a new spot on my chest x ray (January to April). Cat scan was done. Several spots plus spots on my thyroid. Echo was next. Even worse. Spot in my neck also. And after 39 sticks with needles guided by an echo, the diagnosis was confirmed. Standard treatment is to take the whole thyroid out. I see the surgeon tomorrow. I will probably have another echo of my neck lymph glands to see if the lymph glands need to go also. Wish me luck. Seems I need it.

Symptom Management

Lene Andersen wrote a book in 2013. It is called Your Life with Rheumatoid Arthritis.     She is amazing. Her RA started when she was 4 years old. She is now in her 40’s. RA was treated differently back then. By the time she was 17, she was wheelchair bound after having both hips replaced.  She struggled with her RA and she still has very big obstacles.  Her life isn’t an easy one. However. She has a Master’s Degree in Social Work. Then she adapted to work from home. She works with Health Central. She helps others with RA. Now she is an author. Her book is full of practical information on dealing with RA. It helped me. The cover reads ” Tools for Managing Treatment, side effects and pain”.  Pain management tool box, fatigue, fuzzy brain, osteoporosis, medication side effects, managing infection risk, nausea. This is a practical book with practical solutions. A good read. “I call it ‘Having a Swish.’  It means doing your best not to wallow in the self-pity pool. Every now and then …

RA prednisone update

Tapering prednisone is not easy. The .5mg at a time is helpful. I am at 10.5mg from 12.5mg. I was at a point where I only had feet that were not entirely happy. Now I have pings in my hands and wrists. I also have a little stiffness in my hands in the morning. I started the sulfsalazine recently so hopefully that will be helpful. I do feel better doing a little yoga routine in the morning. My back feels much better. I love the feeling of flexibility. It feels really good. My body seeks foods with liquid in them. Grapes and cherries taste good. Chips and artificial foods have lost their appeal.  

Yoga and flexibility

Yesterday when I posted I forgot to enter a title. The title became 406. Now it is up to date and worth checking out.                                                                                                                    https://marysarthritis.com/2013/08/04/helpful-information-about-ra/ Today was a day off from work. Pain free, except for feet issues in the morning, all gone by noon. I am back to my humble yoga practice. The joint flexibility feels really good. I took many yoga classes over the years. Eventually, I developed my own routine. When RA hit me, it was impossible to do downward dog, a favorite. In fact I was so bad I couldn’t do any yoga. Fatigue wore me out. I worried about my flexibility. As I started to feel better, I started a therapeutic yoga. I am developing a routine that will keep my flexibility. It feels so very good. Having my home practice is wonderful. It is still wise to take classes. It is refreshing and prevents sloppy habits from forming. Yoga in a small group has its own rewards. I remember my first yoga class. It was at a health club …