A little over five years ago during DrH’s fourth year of medical school and a few months before we were getting married, he was diagnosed with thyroid cancer.
To briefly recap, he was diagnosed with metastatic thyroid cancer. Metastatic, meaning spread outside of the thyroid gland to surrounding lymph nodes. More specifically, he was diagnosed with papillary thyroid carcinoma, which as I said last time, was good news as it is one of the ‘best’ types of cancer to get- very high survival rates, especially when you are young. He underwent a bilateral (both right- and left-sided) neck dissection to remove the cancer in his thyroid gland along with the surrounding lymph nodes that were cancerous. Then following his surgery, he had radioactive iodine ablation to destroy any remaining microscopic cancer cells.
Over the past five years he has been kept extremely hyper-thyroid through medication to keep any potential cancer generation at bay and he has had routine blood work, ultrasound screenings, biopsys and full body scans to make sure the cancer was not returning.
About two weeks ago, DrH went in for what should have been his last ultrasound for a while as his five year window of close monitoring had come to an end. The radiologist found some concerning lymph nodes and told him that he should meet with a surgeon. Following a biopsy, it was confirmed – his cancer had returned.
Was I shocked? Yes. But, honestly I have been holding my breath for the last five years following each and every appointment he had waiting for the test results. We thought we were in the clear and that this was entirely in our rear-view mirror. But, now we are back at square one. We also know that we are so very fortunate that this is not a life threatening cancer, but it is without-a-doubt life altering. Surgery of any kind is a risk and it is no longer just the two of us – we are parents.
DrH will be having surgery later this week, for what we hope will be the last time, to clear out the cancer. He will have a new “Boo-boo” in the words of our almost two year old, so he will be laying low for a couple of weeks (likely doing research because he doesn’t know how to actually rest).
And, if I could stress anything to a large portion of my reading audience (medical world) — PLEASE take care of yourselves! You can not help others if you aren’t around to do it. DrH has always been in good health and never thought this would happen to him once, and definitely not twice. Make the time for your yearly appointments, if you have a feeling something isn’t right, do not put it off, get your very educated and important behinds into the doctors!
We would appreciate any prayers and good thoughts you can offer as we go through this one more time. ❤