Friday, October 26, 2012

Two more years--"I am still here!"

Time flies.  It's been another two years since I last updated this blog.  During the last two years I have talked to many individuals who were going through their first experiences with Hurthle cell cancer.  I am glad that readers are finding this blog informative and helpful.  Best wishes to Linda Mc Mahon who just went through surgery at MD Anderson--with good news--non-cancerous nodules, after an initial indication of possible Hurthle cell cancer.

During the past two years, I have had no problems at all, other than fear that the cancer may come back, plus a little problem of getting some new life insurance.   My 5th anniversary of the surgery removing my thyroid is coming up this December. In 2007, I did not think I would make it this far in life.  My two children at home with me are now age 7 (Allie) and age 9 (Maddie).  Maddie has become a red belt (just a couple belts away from black) in TaeKwonDo and Allie has her "camo" belt, a couple of years behind Maddie.  It's good that I have been here to see this.  I find that as they progress in life, I am not so worried about what would happen if I were not here.  Of course, I want to be here when they marry and when they have children, but it is comforting to see them age and mature, and realize they are learning their independence so that they won't always need me.  Unless you have gone through a life-death experience, you probably don't think about this.

By the way---if you don't have enough life insurance, get it before you get ill. (rocket science observation!)  And, don't just get the policy that has a level 10 year premium.  Go for 20 or 25 years.  My premiums went up 10x in year 11 (this year) but I have no option. The insurance companies won't even consider a new policy until sometime next year (after 5 years with no treatment).  If I had paid a little more for years 1-10 (with a longer term policy), I would be saving thousands of dollars a year, right now.

Healthwise, I had a thyroglobulin blood test in May of this year.  The result-was no detectable thyroglobulin--which is the way it should be (it is only produced by thyroid cells),  If it were detected, it would mean that somewhere in my body, some thyroid cells were floating around, or stuck in a lung, bone or my brain--growing because of the cancer. That would be bad because it means that some cancer likely survived and would eventually grow and cause problems in the organ or location where it calls home. This is the problem with cancer.  Cancer is the unrestricted growth of cells--when cells lose their ability to stop dividing and multiplying.  Normally, when one cell touches another, it turns off the mechanism to divide.  Cancer cells lose that ability.  If those cells are in an important spot, and they get in the way of other functions--that's when it causes problems.

No thyroglobulin and no nodules in my throat through an ultrasound is good news.  So, my outlook is pretty good.  It's been 5 years since I found I had cancer (plus about 5 years when I had it and it was not diagnosed by the brilliant MDs who missed it).   I truly believe I will be here for at least another 5.   If I can keep up the 5-year stints--I may make it to 100 (most of my relative lived to 95-105--and never had cancer.  My bad luck of the draw!).

On a personal note--I turned 53 in July (it is now October). I remember growing up thinking my friends parents (in their 50's) were ancient!   My brain feels 25, but when I look in the mirror, its shocking.  "Who the hell are you?!?!!!" goes through my head.  It's this old guy staring back at me.  (I feel younger away from the mirror.  We should do away with mirrors and we would be happier.)   At 53, you want to make some changes--otherwise, life gets boring.  So, I am trying to think of some changes and have been studying life in Costa Rica and Panama.  It may be worth a try--for a year or two to see how it goes.  I own my own company, which will do fine with me away, as long as I have a phone and the Internet (and an airport to get back once a month).  I will update the blog with my progress in this endeavor.  Maybe my next post will be from Panama or Costa Rica.