All this talk about melanoma has almost made me feel badly about neglecting my other cancer baby: papillary thyroid cancer.
577 days ago, a few months into my melanoma diagnosis, I was diagnosed with a second "primary" cancer, a tumor on my thyroid gland. It appeared on my CT scans for melanoma and I was instantly referred to the head of Head & Neck Surgery at Sunnybrook, in late September, 2014. I had surgery to remove the tumor - and my thyroid gland as well as 2 of 4 parathyroid - in December 2014.
It was at this point in my melanoma journey I truly moved from the denial stage to a deep-seated fear.
The painful needle biopsy of a lymph node in the base of my throat showed a metastases of cancer from a tumor (on my thyroid) to the surrounding nodes, but it confirmed that the cancer spread was that of a new type of cancer, not a melanoma. Believe it or not, that was the good news.
Melanoma spreads silently, appearing anywhere in the body other than its original site, but this... this was a new one. Which made it "less dangerous" than that of a spread of melanoma. And this is where my fear deepened.. my fear of melanoma that is.
Here I was, with a double-whammy of cancer (which is now a source of wary fodder in our household), planning surgery and treatment of papillary thyroid cancer in between that of melanoma.
For those of you who have been reading this blog all along, you understand why I have been so pissy. For those of you who may be new to this blog.. please understand this is another reason why I have been so pissy!
I thought I would re-cap the highlights of my journey through thyroid cancer, for anyone who may wish to hear more about it, or may wish to connect if they are in the same boat. I had thyroidectomy in December 2014, I had radioactive iodine treatment in March 2015, I take Levothyroxine Sodium 200 mcg daily (one hour before coffee every morning!) for thyroid hormone replacement plus TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) suppression (due to my intermediate-risk of recurrence).
Today's melanoma anniversary also marks the time that I would be able to become pregnant again should I so wish to do (which I do NOT); I signed a contract saying I wouldn't become preggers for a year after I-131 Radioactive iodine treatment as it would harm a baby. I am now deemed clear of said radiation.
In any case, here is a re-cap of links from my thyroid cancer journey since September 2014:
PS - the 577 days was slightly more difficult to calculate than the 732-day(2 year) melanoma anniversary, so I used a little calculator site.