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Elizabeth’s Story

I created this site to help keep everyone updated about the progress of my cancer. It is so hard to let everyone know about every doctor appointment. I hope this site will become a healing process for me and help me get through the rough days and make the good ones even better.

Check out my story, my journal and sign the guestbook.

I noticed a lump in the front of my throat and two on the side of my neck when I was about five months pregnant. I didn't think anything of it because I had read that it is common for women during pregnancy to develop a cyst on their thyroid. It wasn't until I heard of my cousin's diagnosis of cancer that I decided I should get the lumps checked out. I went through ultrasounds, nuclear scans and a biopsy in a matter of a month and got sent to a surgeon in Lexington/>/>. My diagnosis from the biopsy was a Follicular Lesion that could either be a cyst, benign tumor, or cancer. So, we decided to take the left half of my thyroid out on February 5th. During the surgery a pathologist looked at half of my thyroid and determined it was cancer, they then took my entire thyroid out. When they removed the whole thyroid they noticed the cancer had spread to 2 of my lymph nodes as well. They proceeded to remove those during the surgery. I have papillary carcinoma that is an aggressive form of cancer. It is common for the type of cancer that I have to spread to my lungs and or breast. I start a special diet and go off of my thyroid hormones on March 8th and begin what I call "hell week" on March 23rd consumed by 2 full body scans and radioactive iodine therapy. I have been blessed with my doctor, Dr. Ain who is not currently taking new patients but I got to see him through a "loophole" he has set up to only get new patients. He is world renowned in what he does and has been amazing with me already in my journey with cancer. I feel so blessed to have him as my doctor. I want everyone to know that I appreciate all the cards, flowers, messages and prayer requests. I ask you all to please continue to keep me and my family in your prayers as we start on this journey. March will be a very rough month for me so especially keep me in your thoughts and prayers during that month!

Latest Journal Update

3 Years "Cancer Free"

I know that I had said I would end my caringbridge site when my cancer "ended". But, the truth is, it still hasn't ended. I am healthy...tests, scans, etc. show that we are still perfectly suppressing my cancer and keeping it hidden..which is good! 
When I say my journey hasn't ended I mean that my type of cancer never goes away and I am still dealing with side effects caused by the cancer itself, radiation, and surgeries which has led me to have another surgery just 4 short weeks ago. So I thought...if my cancer never really goes away....why should I say my cancer journey has ended? I don't mean that in a bad way either. Through my struggles and this blog I have been helping people, so why stop? People have reached out to me from other states and countries and when I hear about someone going through something similar...I WANT TO HELP!  It's just me and that is just who I am!
I am going to try to catch you up as best as I can from my last update:
I have seen my oncologist regularly and things have looked great. He does not want me to go more than a year without seeing him so I see him around every 8 months or so. During those appointments I am kept up to date with my blood work, recurring scans of lower half, then upper half of my body every other visit. Since I last wrote I have found 2 nodules in my neck that were swollen, hard and kind of peaked my interest. But, after going through what I have, the tiniest change in my body throws me for a loop. After doing an ultrasound on these masses, they determined no biopsy was needed and just swollen nodes. 
Also, during this time I had some extreme weight loss and we were not sure why. Test and blood work all checked out fine but he informed me if I got below 100 pounds we would have to do a scan of my brain..Well...I've gained all the weight I was fretting about losing back...and more. So....things are looking up in that dept. 
Throughout this journey I also noticed it was becoming more and more difficult to eat and swallow my foods. It was increasingly getting worse and to the point that I could not even take my daily medications everyday without getting choked. After being proactive (which I encourage everyone to always be when it comes to your health) I met again with my surgeon who determined, after many scans, that I had a build up of scar tissue making my esophagus essentially closing in on itself. After many many rounds of therapy and other forms of treatment...the build up was still there and they determined that surgery was the only option to help. I had my surgery and it was not at all what I or the Doctors expected. They went into my esophagus and "dilated" it with a balloon..he also did some exploratory things while he was in there to rule out any masses. Thank God there were no masses but the procedure, he said, was definitely needed due to the stricture. After surgery I was in extreme pain and I was told I would have none. I did not eat for weeks. I was told to go the ER twice and once I was admitted. After all this trouble I was told, very apologetically so, that they have never done this type of surgery on someone with the extent of surgery or radiation that I had done to my neck. So their outcome for me surprised them as well. It took me quite a lot longer than they expected for me to recover..I am, 4 weeks post-op, and feeling 100% back to normal! I still have a mild sore throat, get fatigued a little easily, and some pain swallowing still. I will....BIG SURPRISE HERE I KNOW....have another scan to determine my progress after the surgery! 

I spent my 3 year "cancer free" anniversary in the hospital...ironic huh? But I am still so blessed that my cancer is hidden. During this time I did get down, really just brought up a lot of old memories. The main things not being able to do anything for myself or the children for some time. But it was only temporary and through God's grace and strength I am back in full force! 

Since things are well with me I do not plan on updating as often as I did before but I just want to continue to share with you all this journey and path cancer has led me down. I got so many emails and messages about my post from people fighting similar battles and I think they deserve to know what happens after cancer. I can tell you with promise that your cancer diagnosis becomes a marker in time...but there is life before cancer. And there is life after! And I encourage you all to make the most of it! I did not pick this journey for myself...God did. But what I took from my journey were not the times that I could not...but the times that I could. There are positive outcomes within every circumstance....you just have to find them. I have always told everyone that I am thankful for cancer..it changed me and my life. And I couldn't imagine now having not gone through all the things that I have since 2009. If I were to say anything to someone newly diagnose I would say: Do not fear what lies ahead of you. It's messy and it's rough but it is all setting up something more wonderful than you could every imagine if you just choose to embrace it...and fight for it. You are going to be OK....whatever OK is.