All posts filed under: RA and thyroid CA

Rheumatoid Arthritis a training ground for cancer

Rheumatoid Arthritis: A training ground for cancer. That is how I think of it. When I was diagnosed last year with RA, I read everything I could find on the subject. I was trying to figure out where I stood with the disease. My favorite book was M.E.McNeil’s The First Year Rheumatoid Arthritis. The value of this book is that it offers an approach, a way of thinking, to come to terms with a chronic, progressive disease. It gave me the same help when I had to come to terms with the diagnosis of two different cancers. • I journal regularly, expressing myself and establishing a timeline. • I think of my medical providers as my team that does include my pharmacist, physical therapist as well as the 6 specialists that I am seeing currently. • I see myself as the head of my team. I have confidence in my team. Each has a role. My role is to be proactive, to do my part. • I am able to accept my current situation, relaxing …

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.  …

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 …

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.

RA plus thyroid cancer equals stunned

Life changes instantly with a diagnosis of cancer. I don’t feel invaded or betrayed by my body. I have always been happy with my body. No change there. I am just plain scared. The more I read, the more I realize the possibilities. The more scared I am. What will happen to me? Am I on the slippery slope? Is it all down hill from here?

RA with thyroid cancer

My Doc ordered a lung scan when I said I was having trouble with breathing. Dr R ordered it because methotrexate can cause lung issues. She ordered it because she is thorough. I now know that I have nodules(aka tumors) in my lung. Something to be watched. The scan also showed nodules on my thyroid. The follow up was an ultrasound of my thyroid and a referral to an endocrinologist.

RA and my thyroid

The doctors could see nodules on my thyroid in my lung scan.  They wanted to know more. Next step was an ultrasound of my thyroid. There were lots of nodules on my thyroid on the ultrasound.  I didn’t worry about it for two reasons. I was in a lot of RA pain. Solving the pain problem was my first priority. The second reason was that all my thyroid tests in the past had come back negative. I had no thyroid symptoms.