Sarah Schaleger

First post: Sep 23, 2018 Latest post: Mar 5, 2021
I have been living with radioactive resistant papillary thyroid cancer since 2001. This is a rare, chronic and progressive disease that cannot be cured. Since my  diagnosis, I have undergone a thyroidectomy and 5 additional surgeries. 

This year, I have been experiencing a sharp increase in pain in my neck, which has affected my head, jaw, ear, shoulder, and has caused excruciating headaches. I underwent testing and learned I must receive 7 weeks of external beam radiation therapy. If my cancer is left untreated, anything I eat or drink will fall directly into my lungs, leading to pneumonia and then death.

I have an amazing doctor whom I've worked with since 2006. I first met Dr. Bryan McIver (endocrinologist, oncologist, neuroscientist and nationally known thyroid cancer specialist) at Mayo Clinic and stayed with him when he moved to become head of endocrinology at the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa in 2013. Dr. McIver is confident that radiation treatment can stop the cancer's progression in my neck and provide me with a good quality of life for about 10 more years. 

From September 24 through November 7, I will receive treatment in Florida. I am required to be accompanied by caregivers, as the effects of radiation become increasingly difficult. Friends and family have taken on this critical role. 

I am so grateful for everyone's love and support. While I'm in Florida, I will try to post updates on my treatment as often as I can. 

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