Tuesday, June 12

Cancer Sucks

I've been meaning to write this post for a couple weeks now. Every time I've started, I wrote about 6 words then quit. I don't even know how to begin or where to start....what's going on is very complicated and confusing, but I'll do my best to explain! 

I came home 3 weeks ago when my mom was really sick. We're not sure exactly what was going on, but she ended up in the hospital. After she got home, it took a few days to see any improvement but she did eventually get better and (almost) back to her usual self. Two days after I came home, we found out that my Pawpaw had to have a pacemaker put in. When it rains, it pours, right? A few days later, Pawpaw had his surgery and it was a success! 

So here's the next part of the story. I decided to stay here until my mom found out what she had to do for her next round of treatment. She was diagnosed with thyroid cancer a year ago and was coming up on her 1st year scan. About two months ago, her doctor told her that there are 2 different ways to prepare for her scan/treatment and she may have to do the more difficult path. (I'm trying to explain this as simple as possible, but it's so complicated!)

Basically, here's the whole story. Last year when she was diagnosed, she had her thyroid removed and also part of her lymph node, which the cancer had spread to. She went on a low-iodine diet (no dairy, soy, wheat, etc.) for 2 weeks then had radiation (radioactive iodine) to kill the remaining cancer cells. During the radiation, she had to be isolated from everyone for days and had to throw away everything she touched during that time. 

Now that a year has passed, it's time to see if the radiation killed all of the cancer cells. There are two ways to prepare for this, getting a Thyrogen shot (like she did last year) or the "old-fashioned" way where you go off all thyroid supplements and become hypothyroid (commonly referred to as hypo hell). We found out that my mom has thyroglobulin antibodies (Are y'all completely lost now??) and because of this, her doctor felt it was best if she went the hypo hell route. I cried a lot the night we found this out, but we knew it was the best thing to do. 

So here's the timeline for the next month: 
-she has been on the low-iodine diet for 5 weeks now and will remain on it until the end of treatment
-they put her on a lower-dose supplement (Cytomel) for 10 days to reduce the amount of time she would feel all of the symptoms
-this past Sunday was her first day off of everything and she has definitely started to feel the side effects
-she goes in Thursday for her first blood test. Her TSH levels have to reach a certain number, and it usually takes a few blood tests until it does
-Once it reaches that number, she has a low-dose of radioactive iodine, more blood work, and an ultrasound
-Two days later, she has a whole body scan (the iodine makes the cancer light up)
-If there is no remaining cancer, she is DONE for a year!
-If there is still cancer cells, she has a higher dose of radioactive iodine and then will be isolated for (I think) 5 days

So many of you have texted/emailed me to see how we're doing and to let us know that you're praying for us. You have no idea how much that has meant to me. My mom's friends have also been incredible...she seriously gets at least 2 cards a day. We really look forward to the mailman coming now! And Doug has been SO supportive throughout all of this. I've been here for 3 weeks now and he has completely stepped up and taken care of everything at home. As you can imagine, it's killing me to be away from him and my babies for this long, but at least they have such a good dad to look after them! It's hard to be gone for this long, but I know without a doubt that I'm supposed to be here right now.

If you are one of those wonderful people who have been praying for us, I'm going to ask that you please keep it up! We need it now more than ever, especially for these next few weeks of hypo hell to go quickly with minimal pain and for the CANCER TO BE GONE!


Mae said... Best Blogger Tips

Had you and your family on my mind so much lately. Thank you for updating us! We will continue to pray!!!!!!!!!

Ashley said... Best Blogger Tips

Glad your PawPaw is okay!! Sounds like a rough go over there!! I am sending lots of positivity! Your Mom is a fighter and she has you by her side! Stay strong!!

Katie said... Best Blogger Tips

I've been thinking so much about you! {in the most uncreepy way ever :D} I'm definitely still praying for your sweet mom...I can't imagine what a strong lady she is. And I bet she's been so blessed to have you home, for sure. Please let us know if there's anything more we can do than pray!!!

sburton1130 said... Best Blogger Tips

I was just thinking that I haven't heard much from your blog lately. I'm praying for your sweet family! Cancer sucks big time; I know first hand. Lifting y'all up!

Stephanie said... Best Blogger Tips

I was just thinking about you last night...I was going to text, but I knew it would be too late on the east coast. So glad to get an update...I'm still praying for your mom and your family. As always, if there is anything I can do in CA, don't hesitate! :)

Allison said... Best Blogger Tips

I've been thinking about you and your family Julie. I'll continue to be praying for you all! Hang in there!

Alex Byer said... Best Blogger Tips

Oh hun, I've been thinking about you so much, but I haven't wanted to disturb you during your family time. I'm still thinking about you and your family, and hoping for the best for your mom. Fingers crossed!

Sarah @ Simply Sarah said... Best Blogger Tips

So sorry to hear about everything going on with your family. I will be thinking about y'all!

Megan said... Best Blogger Tips

Y'all are definitely still in my prayers!! Praying for cancer free!

Meghan said... Best Blogger Tips

I am still thinking of you and sending lots of prayers! I hope the cancer leaves for good!

Ashley Slater said... Best Blogger Tips

Praying for you both Julie, and for Doug and your entire family because I know it must be really tough for everyone in different ways. You are a great daughter, and I meant what I said call whenever you want! So glad we can stay in touch with text, love you girl! Hang in!


Katie said... Best Blogger Tips

wow, that's all so intense! i'm so sorry - that is a lot for ALL of you to handle! keeping you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.

Cole said... Best Blogger Tips

My mom had a heck of a time with breast cancer a few years back, so I can sympathize. Prayers for your mom to have a clean scan!

Phoebe Jan said... Best Blogger Tips

I'm so sorry to hear about your mom. =( I too hate cancer big time. Keeping you and your family in my prayers. Stay positive.

Brittany said... Best Blogger Tips

I'm so happy to hear about your Pawpaw! Sounds like you needed some good news.

As always, I'm thinking of you and your ENTIRE family (including the fur babies!). You know who to call if you need to talk! LOVE YOU!

Myra said... Best Blogger Tips

Praying & sending good thoughts your way, gal. Stay strong! I'm sure your Mom is so happy to have you there by her side. We're all pulling for her!

J and A said... Best Blogger Tips

Been thinking about you lots. I hope your pawpaw stays strong and I'll be thinking of your mom. So tough. I hate cancer. :( stay strong girl. Big hugs. Xo

Megan W said... Best Blogger Tips

Thinking about and praying for you and your family. I think your presence will help heal your mom :)

Britt said... Best Blogger Tips

Love you Julie! If you ever need to vent you know I am here for you. If you need weekend help with the pups let me know:)

Ruth said... Best Blogger Tips

Praying the tests went well. Glad your PawPaw surgery went well.

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