Tag Archives: pappilary thyroid carcinoma

Crabby Cashiers and Testosterone Trucks

People aren’t always aware of how they affect others with their attitudes and actions.

I was standing in the line of a very crabby cashier at Wal-Mart. Usually the people were friendly and helpful, so I was surprised.

I was also a little offended.

After all, I fumed to myself, they get paid to work with customers. She HAS to be nice to the customers. But she wasn’t.

I thought of a stinging remark to bring her to her senses, but the Lord put grace in my heart and tongue. He rebuked me before I could rebuke her.

Instead, when it was my turn, I smiled at her and asked her how her day was.

She almost started crying and told me she was leaving work early to go to a funeral. She had another one the next day. They were both unexpected deaths of people close to her.

I listened while she rang me up and spoke of the pain that caused the bitterness of her heart and mind. I told her I would pray for her and she reacted as if she wanted to hug me.

The Lord taught me something in dealing with Ms. Crabby Pants. There’s usually a reason people are crabby, and I needed to be more graceful in finding that reason and help bear that burden. Hurting people hurt people.

Fast forward about several years.

I was driving down the street, extremely distracted. I accidentally made a left turn in front of a huge pickup truck when it was his turn to go.

It was one of those testosterone trucks, you know with the huge tires, the noisy muffler, the fog lights – all the bells and whistles a man embellishes with when he wears his testosterone on the outside.

It wasn’t a close call, he’d barely touched his accelerator.  He just didn’t get to go first. A mom in a minivan beat him through the intersection.

He reared his huge arms in fists and shook them at me. He honked and yelled furiously. If I had gotten out of my car, I’m pretty sure he would have hit me. It took him less than five seconds to go from idling to furious.

I had just experienced five seconds that affected my life, too.

My doctor had just said,


As this man abused me from the comfort of his testosterone truck, I sadly wondered if his reaction would have been different if he knew what I had just heard- a diagnosis of thyroid cancer – that I had a good reason to be a little distracted.

Probably not.

I was very thankful I hadn’t hurt anybody, that it wasn’t  a serious mistake, but it changed my view on other drivers.

Some are just jerks, no doubt.

But, you never know when someone  on the road driving stupid because
     ~they’re driving to a funeral
     ~they j
ust heard bad news
   ~had a medical issue.

Fill in the blanks.

Then fill your heart with grace, mercy and understanding.

Oh yea, and if they’re pulling out in front of you, make sure you hit your breaks.

Then, instead of shaking your fists, pray for them. You just never know how you could affect them.



Making your home sing Mondays

Teeny-Weeny Tumors


There are squatters in my body, three tiny thyroid tumors that have been trying to stake a claim for three years.

I refuse to give up any more territory. They took my thyroid, a few dozen lymph nodes,  my strength, my stamina and a few years that remain a blur.  They can’t have anything else.

Every six months, I  go in for blood work. (If ya’ wanna brief history, you can read here.This is my third round of cancer.)

Every six months, it takes so long for the doc to call me back, it’s almost time for the next round of testing.  I keep telling myself “no news is good news,” but it can be just a little frustrating.

I look normal.  Most people forget what lurks, but I can’t always forget.  One of my endocrinologists told me that when he first started in practice, they weren’t concerned themselves with tumors under 5cm.  Now, thyroid tumors are tiny, tenacious and invasive, as I’ve learned.  As soon as we cut out a few tiny tumors, more grow. So, we quit cutting and started starving them by increasing the thyroid medication.

Because if they grow, they can spread through the blood vessels to the lungs, liver or bones.

But, living in a constant hyperthyroid state isn’t easy, but the key word there is living. I’ve lost so many friends to cancer, I feel guilty even mentioning my symptoms.

Summer 2012 185

In August I had my sonogram. It’s always a little nerve wracking, because I know the results, if I ever get them,  can be life changing. After the tests, the technician leaves the room for a consult with a doctor. I stare at the door and wait for her to return.  If it’s bad news, we do more tests.  If it’s good news, I go home.  She can’t me the whole news.

Summer 2012 187

I wipe all the gooey sonogram jelly off my neck, then stare at the ceiling.

And I pray.

Summer 2012 186

They put this pic on the wall to entertain patients.  I stare at is and long to straighten it out.  The little warping action was bugging me.  Nope, thyroid cancer doesn’t cure OCD, but it definitely knocks it down a few notches.

Christmas 117

The results are finally in.  The little sticker is 1 cm, to give you a visual. 

The black dot in the middle is the size of the tumors in 2009 and 2010, .5cm.

The black dot on the far right is the size of the tumor in November 2011 AND November 2012.

Yep, a teensy-weensy tinier.

That no news was good news.  Tumors had NOT grown and there were NO thyroid antibodies in the blood.

Doc says if I have another clear year, we can take my thyroid medication down a notch.

In other words, a year from now, I might be able to sleep through the night more than once or twice a week. 

Someone might be able to drop a book without sending me to the ceiling.

I might be able to eat dinner and not feel hunger pains at 2am.

If I look to the future agonizing over the potential spread of the cancer, I live in fear.  If I look to the future with false confidence that the tumors will go away, I could experience faith-shaking disappointment.

So, I live in the day.

And today, the tumors are a teensy-weensy tinier.