I've been traveling the thyroid cancer road for five years. Five years of walking a new walk of faith, some physical suffering, some spiritual growth and a lot of changes. Changes in how I view the world. Changes in how I react to the world. Changes in my personality, due to artificial thyroid hormone. Changes in my strength and stamina. Changes in my priorities. Most things were hard, all are good. I truly believe Romans 8:18-28. I have lived it. The Lord has spoken to me through this passage over and over and over. I have wept over His promises, knowing He wrote this years before I needed it. It was there waiting for me all the time. Read it.
They have used four different tests to check my status. Blood-work is the most common. Needles, needles, needles. Ick. They have used a thyroid uptake scan, MRI and PET/CT scan.
I have gone through three endocrinologists, trying to find one I want to walk with on the journey.
I have had two surgeries to remove papillary thyroid carcinoma. During the first one I lost my thryoid and 30 lymph nodes, the second surgery they took 6 nodes.
Now, there is one word my new doctor is using I haven't heard in five years, of four tests, three doctors and two surgeries.
One little word.
R E M I S S I O N
One little word that causes us all the marvel and wonder and weep and praise God. OK, so maybe you aren't a crier, but I know you are rejoicing. He is SO Worthy of our praise!
At my follow-up appointment on Monday and I had out my bright red notebook and a heart-engraved pen from my honey, and was trying to ask questions and write down answers. Really, a lot of this doctor stuff goes over my head and I often wonder if I really should understand all this stuff and research, or just let the doctor worry about it. She went to school for medicine, I didn't.
The lumps are still there, but show no sign of cancer on the sonogram.
The antibodies are still in my blood, but at a lower level. They mess up the reading of thyroglobulin, the cancer-marker, so it is hard to get an accurate reading for blood-work.
She doesn't recommend Radioactive Iodine Treatment at this time (yahoo!!!!!) and doesn't need me to come in until January to repeat blood-work and sonogram. Three months off? To those who get a little tired of doctor visits, this is a break.
Then she used that little word, REMISSION.
You would think I would have jumped up and down and screamed with delight. I was silent. To be honest, it felt like my ball-game had been rained out. I was SO ready to play.
My first endocrinologist told me, "You will never be cured, you will never be in remission."
My second surgeon said in June, "You won't die from this, but I expect to see you every couple of years for a surgery to remove more cancer."
I spent the summer recovering from surgery #2 and gearing up my heart, mind and soul to take on whatever the Lord had for me. I thought it was a lifetime of cancer. I was ready.
Then, I was given a break. I was sent away with a smile and told to enjoy my holidays.
I told my sister, Laurie, "I am not sure I know what to do with myself. I have been cancer so long."
When I called my Mom and she cried a little with joy, I truly understood what I had been given. A rest. A time of refreshment. A time for people to stop worrying about me for awhile. A time to be Mindy again.
I realize it is a difference only in philosophy. My medical history has not really changed. My lumps don't usually show up to be cancer in the four tests. They are proven cancerous during surgical biopsy. The presence of antibodies in the blood turned out to be indicative of cancer there with surgery #2. My new doctor just feels there isn't enough to worry about at this point.
I could or could not truly be done with this. But, somehow, the word REMISSION gives me permission to let go for awhile. It gives me the chance to take of the cancer-colored glasses and look at the world through different eyes for as long as He gives me rest and remission.
It's just one little word, but I'm praising God for it.