At the end of 2012 I was deeply involved with medical procedures to get my thyroid cancer under control. Much to my great disappointment it had metastasized to my lungs and things got very stressful and scary. My oncologist said that chemo would not work, radiation would not work, a laser would not work because it was too dangerous.
I was resistant to RAI because it did not show up on the whole body scan after the large dose of RAI in December. He suggested a clinical trial. Currently I am in a phase one clinical trial at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance starting that on June 6, 2013. It involves taking a drug that is not used for thyroid cancer but for kidney cancer but it is an investigational drug called pazopanib. The clinical trial will pay for it and that is a good thing because it is extremely expensive and I would have to take it “off-label” otherwise. The other part of the trial is to go through the radioactive iodine treatment again with the hope that the drug will open up the blood vessels and take the RAI to the lung nodules. I have just completed RAI this time getting thyrogen shots rather than going off my thyroid meds and it was much better but I had to be on the low iodine diet for 3 weeks. I have done well on the drug and with all the tests and had little nausea or diarrhea.
Sneakers and Ebony had to keep their distance from me again for four days and so did my husband. He went to a hotel for 2 nights. Sneakers and Ebony kept away from me with ease. It was interesting to me that the rules for radioactive iodine use were less restrictive at the University of Washington Medical Center than at Swedish. The Radiation safety person at UWMC was not that concerned about Sneakers and Ebony being older cats and that the thyroid cancer was so slow to take hold they were not in as much danger as say a baby or young child. So I was less crazy about keeping them from me. I didn’t pet them and kept my hands washed when I did their food. I used blankets to cover me and a pillow to keep Sneakers away from me on the Futon. He didn’t come to sleep with me until the morning so I did not use the pet gate like I had before.
See the posts I wrote on September 25, 2012 and December 6, 2012 When the Main Person is Sick.
What have I learned from all this:
1. Ask questions, as many as you need to. If you don’t know the questions to ask do a little research. Do not be afraid of the medical professionals.
2. Understand your condition and the treatments. Get educated.
3. Arrange to have an advocate, cheerleader or someone outside your family to help you remember to go to appointments, take pills as you need them, call and make sure you are okay and will get help if they think you need it. Yes, I have a husband who is in the medical profession and he is great but he is also close to me and it is good to have someone else to help you deal with the illness. I have been lucky that way.
4. Check your medical insurance exclusions and make sure you are covered for the therapy to come. If you join a clinical trial make sure they don’t exclude it, yup it happened to us.
5. Make sure you like your medical doctors and if not find someone you do like and that you can talk to and who will answer your questions.
Meanwhile, we have returned to normal at this household and Sneakers and Ebony are doing well and I am back to cuddling with them and petting them. I would think you could hear them purring because it is so loud and they are so happy.
Here is a support group that deals with thyroid cancer in all its forms. I can’t say I am a survivor yet but maybe soon.