Sunday, January 2, 2011

Starting the new year with a mission...

My first mission is to be a better blogger, life caught up with us here at the end of the year.  First off I was working on a second blog for our light show  Our house and the website were in the Indy Star and for the month of December we had over 1,200 page hits!  The show has been put to bed for the season but you can see the videos and follow us for next season.

2010 was a great year for us, both happily employed, enjoying fun times with the nephew, house remodeling, and just spending time together.  G is a cancer survivor, he has been free and clear for over 10 years now.  Each fall he has to go for a yearly check up.  At that time he pointed out to the doctor that he thought he had a lump in his neck.  It was checked and they called in a specialist who cleared it as an enlarged saliva gland, but to be sure they did an ultra sound. The ultra sound turned out the same result, but as they were checking that, the doctor noticed something on the thyroid.  They then ordered a needle biopsy.

That sent an alarm in my mind. I have had thyroid issues for 15 years now and my doctor has always avoided a needle biopsy.  The procedure took place on a Friday and they said it would take a week.  That week came and went, and finally the following Monday they called.  CANCER!  We wanted to get it taken care of in 2010 and the only day they had open was Friday of the same week, so we processed the news and made arrangements for the surgery.  Thyroid cancer is the easiest to treat, they remove it and put you on synthetic thyroid.
Here is the location of your thyroid, it is a butterfly shaped gland that sits just under the adams apple.  It really controls a lot of things, but most of us have issues and are on medicine. If you are tired and worn out and don't know why, this might be the cause! 

Here is how you can check your own thyroid and see if it is enlarged.

1.Hold the mirror so that you can see the area of your neck just below the Adam's apple and right above the collarbone. This is the general location of your thyroid gland.

2.Tip your head back, while keeping this view of your neck and thyroid area in your mirror.

3.Take a drink of water and swallow.

4.As you swallow, look at your neck. Watch carefully for any bulges, enlargement, protrusions, or unusual appearances in this area when you swallow.

5.Repeat this process several times.

6.If you see any bulges, protrusions, lumps or anything that appears unusual, see your doctor right away. You may have an enlarged thyroid, or a thyroid nodule, and your thyroid should be evaluated.


1.Don't get your Adam's apple confused with your thyroid gland. The Adam's Apple is at the front of your neck, the thyroid is further down, and closer to your collarbone.

Here is where it gets interesting and this is my call to action to all of you.  While on vacation last week there was a rerun of Dr. Oz on this very topic.  The news was astonishing.  Thyroid Cancer is the leading cancer among women right now. While breast and ovarian cancer has dropped, thyroid cancer has doubled since 1990.  3 out of 4 cases are women and most generally in their 30-60's.  Here is the link to the Dr. Oz info
While they are still learning about this, causes are most generally linked to family history and exposure to radiation.  The thyroid is very sensitive to radiation and what are we exposed xrays!  Some dental offices have started using a thyroid guard that is connected to the apron your dentist uses when taking an xray, if not Dr. Oz suggest that you request they get one, or refuse xrays if they are not needed. 
I have a dental appointment later this month and I plan to decline x rays unless they have the thyroid guard in place, I figure I already have thyroid issues I don't want to press my luck.
My patient is doing great!  He had tape on his neck over the incision and is feeling fine.  He goes back in a week to see how things are progressing. 
Cancer will always be a part of our lives, it is something I worry about every year when he goes for a check up.  Since learning of his diagnosis, we have met several others in their 30's that have had their thyroid removed this year.  If reading this helps one person find an issue with their thyroid, I will feel blessed that someone else caught it early.  G was in stage 1 and removal should take care of it because he was persistent and caught it early.

So here is to a happy and healthy 2011 to us and to all of you!!


ann said...

I will add G to my prayer list. God bless both of you.

Lana said...

Glad he was aware and caught it so quickly! I have a friend going through this too. She has had to take some radioactive treatments for it??? Must have been further along than Stage 1.

Good thoughts and prayers to you both for a healthy happy new year!

jwallman said...

Lana, he will find out next Monday if he needs the radioactive iodine. It is a pill that you take that would kill off any thyroid cells that may have been left. Most generally they will do that as a precaution to make sure it to all gone. Thanks for the well wishes, he is doing great!

BigD said...

Wow! Heck of a way to end the year!
My mom was diagnosed with Hodgkins when she was 34. I was little, but remember well watching her survival. Believe it or not, 32 years later, she's still kickin'! I still think she's the strongest person I've ever known.
I hope G gets a clean bill of health!

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