Bridget Strub

First post: Aug 27, 2017 Latest post: Feb 9, 2021

Hello and welcome to my CaringBridget site. I'm using this to keep  family and friends updated in one place. I wish I could speak to everyone I care about individually to share updates and information, but between me trying to soak in as much info as possible about this, Pete and I trying to finish our house renovation, and being a momma there just aren't enough hours in the day! I appreciate your support, prayer and words of encouragement. Thank you for visiting. 

I found out this past week that I have papillary thyroid cancer and am currently wading through what that means and how to proceed. What I know at this point is that my lymph nodes appear to be clear and I have two small nodules in my thyroid. One of the nodules was biopsied and came back as cancerous. The doctor recommended my thyroid be removed (preliminarily scheduled for September 7th), I swallow some radioactive stuff and then take a pill for the rest of my life. However, in the reading I've done it doesn't always seem to be as straightforward as that. Seeing as the thyroid is responsible for the regulation of all the hormones in my whole body and removing it is a huge deal, I would imagine not. 

One of my favorite tools to use as a birth doula is the acronym "BRAIN". For every intervention proposed, it is best to weigh the Benefits, Risks and Alternatives, listen to Intuition and ask what would happen if we did Nothing. For better or worse, everything in my life comes back to the lessons I have learned from being a doula and so I am applying this strategy as I approach my options with cancer. It might not always be the popular approach, but at the end of the day, I need to know I've looked into all the ways this will effect me now and in the future and make the decision I can most live with. So I'm asking the doctor for a few more tests, meeting with another doctor and looking into alternative treatments in order to figure out what to do.  

I've had a few people ask how the cancer was discovered or if I had symptoms that caused me to suspect I had it. I have not felt like myself for a couple of years as I have been struggling with moderate depression and fatigue, but I never would have guessed it was cancer. I did a lot of research and suspected something was up with my thyroid and sought the help of four different doctors to try and get to the bottom of it, but when my blood tests all came back within normal ranges they just suggested I take an antidepressant and try to get more sleep. As discussed above, I don't readily accept medical interventions without first asking a few questions. The one that kept coming back to me was, "what the heck is CAUSING the depression and fatigue?!" So, I continued on trying to find a doctor that would actually listen to me rather than just look at my numbers. Sure enough, I found an amazing woman who sat with me for over half an hour and listened to all I had to say. She also looked at my blood work and though the levels were "within normal" she said she didn't like some of them, so she ordered a bunch of tests and an ultrasound of my thyroid just in case. The ultrasound showed one irregularly shaped nodule that measured about .8mm. Because it was irregularly shaped, they decided to biopsy it  (if it wasn't irregular, they told me that it was too small to have biopsied and they would have just "watched" it). The rest is history. 

I'm feeling all over the place about this new discovery and it's hard for me to talk about it cohesively. I've felt all.the.feels over the last week, but one theme is consistent through it all. I'm just so grateful for that doctor and her willingness to listen to me and look further into things. If she hadn't done that, I'm sure it would've been quite awhile before this was discovered! 

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