Michelle's Cancer - or not

So my old (very old, oh my god she’s old*) friend has “I wanna say a molecular palomapicasso variant”, a nodule wrapped around her thryroid gland. She’s going to have it “radio-somethinged” and then have it removed. And then I think some more radio-something.

Ok. So what it boils down to, is that she may have cancer of the Thyroid and I’m sort of freaked out. My husband’s biological mother had thyroid cancer in the 80s and has told me that she’d rather die than go through that treatment again.

Can anyone tell me what she’ll have to go through?

*she is 8 months older than I am.

There are four major kinds of thyroid cancer - each with a different prognosis and treatment approach. The good news is that most thyroid nodules are not cancerous and of those that are cancerous, the most common type of thyroid cancer is very treatable with a good prognosis.

There is a form of thyroid cancer that is very nearly impossible to treat and almost universally rapidly fatal. Trust me, despite what she thinks, your bio mom-in-law is very lucky she didn’t have that kind.

Well I’ll hope that it’s not any of the other types, then. The needle biopsies that she’s had done (three separate times, each time with more than one stick) have been inconclusive, except for one. That one said there are some hinky cells. So to me, it looks as though there may not be any at all.

A friend of mine (approximately age 30) had thyroid cancer earlier this year. She had surgery to remove her thyroid and then had a treatment of radioactive iodine. The good thing about thyroid cancer (at least the type she had) was that thyroid cells are the only ones that absorb iodine, so the rest of her was completely unharmed by the radioactivity. The down side was having to spend several days away from her fiance and cats in a room by herself in order to minimize their exposure to the radioactivity (urine, sweat, saliva, etc.). As far as I know the tumor was removed/radioactivated completely and she is in 100% remission. She will have to take thyroid medication for the rest of her life, though.

I wish your friend the best of prognoses!

My 25-year old nephew had thyroid cancer two years ago. Full thyroid removal and a radioactive pill were all he had to do. In fact, until they removed the thyroid, they didn’t know there was cancer - it was in a part they hadn’t biopsied. He did have to stay away from children and pregnant women for a couple weeks after taking the radioactive pill.

My sister had thyroid cancer last year. They removed the thyroid and that was all.

had my thyroid out last year (not cancerous) and the surgery was no big deal, although my voice was effected for a few months.

StG

Thanks for the reassurance, all. She’s in Edmonton so she’ll have excellent care at the Cross Cancer Centre, and excellent follow-up care. She’s thrilled to be LEFT ALONE with books for a while.

My wife was diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer earlier this year. I think out of all of it the emotional aspect of it have been the most difficult for her.

The surgery went well, although she had trouble keeping anything down for 24 hours afterwards, we believe it was a reaction to the anesthesia. She was up and about the next day, but it took several weeks to get back her full range of motion in her neck. Even now she hasn’t gone back to yoga yet.

We did one round of radioactive iodine, the treatment itself was just popping a pill but she was sick of the low iodine diet done for two weeks before the treatment and she was sick of me reminding her to suck on lemon candies and to drink more water afterwards.

She lost some of her sense of taste afterwards but it’s slowly coming back. So far her blood work looks good and she’ll have another scan done in a few months to confirm there’s no cancer or thyroid tissue remaining.

Compared to having full on chemo this wasn’t that bad, but it’s still an emotional rollercoaster ride.

A coworker recently went through exactly the same as mlerose’s friend, including the 100% remission.

I had thyroid cancer 2 years ago. My ENT told me that there are 4 types of thyroid cancer-2 are so deadly they aren’t diagnosed until the autopsy. Of the other two types, I had the more aggresive one (follicular). But even having the more aggresive type, I came out fine. Had my thyroid popped out, took my radioactive iodine, take my Synthroid every day and am living the dream. Okay, not so much with the last part, but my life is pretty normal. Even had a baby 3 months ago. :wink:

The worst part for me was the radioactive iodine. It made my neck swell up so that I looked like Fat Bastard, I lost my voice, my throat felt like I had the worst case of strep ever and I was sick to my stomach. This all passed after a week, but it was the worst week ever.

I have 2 small scars on my neck (one from the actual incision and one from the drainage tube), both of which get lighter every year. I was lucky that my ENT is also a board certified plastic surgeon, so the cuts he made were minimal and flow with my neck lines. (A little hard to explain, I guess, but he did a good job hiding the scars.)

One piece of advice I would give your friend is to look up and prepare ahead of time no-iodine recipes. She will have to go on a no-iodine diet for a couple of weeks before getting her radiation pill and won’t feel like messing with it after her thyroid is removed, trust me.

Missed the edit window, but wanted to say that my ENT also told me that if you have to have cancer, thyroid cancer is the one you want. It is completely curable in most cases. Not just remission, but curable.

Michelle is reading this thread, and says thank you very much. Particularly for the advice about the iodine.

Believe me, my thoughts are with you! (And Michelle)! My friend Corinne has just been diagnosed with thyroid cancer. She is a very, very close friend. She had a partial thyroidectomy just week before last, and is scheduled for a full thyroidectomy on the 13th of this month. We are all hoping and praying that it’s an easy-to-treat type, and that she’ll be fine. I will be hoping and praying the same for Michelle.

Corinne, BTW, is 40YO, so, not too much older than you, and significantly younger than me.

Ginger - Tell Michelle that kosher salt is not iodized, so she can use that to season foods. My nephew had to be careful of things like salted butter, salt in processed foods, etc., but being able to use kosher salt at least gave things flavour. I also baked bread for him with kosher salt, so he had the bonus of fresh homemade bread and no iodine.

StG

I was 29 when I was diagnosed. All of the doctors and nurses were shocked because thyroid cancer is usually seen in women over 40, usually post-menopausal.

My gynocologist found the lump on my thyroid during a routine yearly exam, which is why I tell all of my female friends not to skip their yearly! Your doctor is (or should be) examining you for more than the usual “female stuff” (as my husband puts it).

Michelle had her thyroid removed yesterday. Her sister tells me she’s doing fine, but I’ll call her and talk to her when she’s home from the hospital.

If you have any post-surgery advice, any thyroid cancer information, please share it.

Okay, you made me call my endocrinologist. I had a thyroid ultrasound a little over a week ago. I already know I have nodules, having been scanned and biopsied before. It’s common to get nodules when you have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, which is what I have, but the doc was saying that if the nodules grew fast, they would remove my thyroid to be on the safe side. I already take Synthroid, so that’s not a huge deal for me.

I’m sure your friend will be fine. I’m sending good vibes.