Monday, March 6, 2017

Update on me: Part 1

It has been almost 3 years since I've posted about my health. When I started writing about this journey I realized there was way too much to put in just one post so I split the post in two.  It has been quite a ride, so stay with me. 

Last you heard, I finished my round of radioactive iodine treatment in April of 2014 and, besides a few "spots" (I like spots instead of cancer - less scary.) in my neck, my scan came back clear. My doctors felt the radioactive poison left in my body would continue to shrink those "spots". So while they weren't an immediate concern, my thyroid levels were still monitored every month.

When it comes to thyroid levels, things get pretty confusing. They check these levels by a simple blood draw and look specifically at the Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) and Thyroglobulin (Tg) levels. My TSH is measured to make sure it stays low. A normal TSH is .34-5.60uIU/mL. I need my levels less than .10 to keep the cancer growth suppressed. My thyroid medication is adjusted according to this number.

Tg is what the doctors use to gauge my cancer growth. It is a hormone produced only by normal and cancerous thyroid cells; since I no longer have a thyroid, the only cells that could be producing this are most likely cancerous. In a perfect world, my Tg levels would be 0.

In May of 2014, right after radiation, my Tg level was 29. Due to the radiation still in my body, that number continued to shrink for almost two years. In July 2016 it had shrunk to 7.0. Still not normal (remember, my normal is 0), but as long as that number was shrinking or stable my doctor was happy to be "actively monitoring" me. We weren't being too aggressive because I got pregnant with Lincoln, then nursed him for 12+ months. To pursue further testing would mean radiation exposure and that meant weaning, which I wasn't quite ready to do. My doctor was willing to work with our situation but I knew all along that if my numbers increased we would have to take things seriously.

During the time I was in the "active monitoring" stage I made some life style changes. I changed household and personal cleaning products to more natural, safe alternatives. I started limiting/avoiding all animal and dairy products, as science has proven that a plant-based diet is far healthier, especially when it comes to cancer and inflammatory diseases. Kris Carr became my health idol. I recommend her book to anyone interested in a holistic approach to health.

I feel that with the interventions of my doctors in 2014 and my life style changes, I was able to keep my cancer at bay for over 2 years. In those 2 years I was able to get pregnant with Lincoln and nurse him for over 12 months. I am so proud of that and thankful I was allotted that time.

But in October of 2016 that time was up.

Tune in tomorrow to get the rest of the story. Spoiler: It's good news!

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