Sunday, August 25, 2013

Papillary Thyroid Cancer: That's a WRAP!!


All of you have gone on the crazy journey of Papillary Thyroid Cancer with me and to you I say:  THANK YOU.  Thank you so much for the support; the text messages, phone calls, emails, facebooking, twittering, donations, ALL OF IT.

If you've been keeping up with my Blog Posts, you'll especially understand this has been quite the journey for the "Champagne Cancer."  That's right, that's what a lot of people call this since it's the easiest cancer to cure.  The "Champagne Cancer."  Cuz you're supposed to breeze right through this.

Well......... If you ask my Uncle, my Aunt's hubby, he'd strongly disagree.  This EXACT cancer is exactly what's been kicking his ass for many moons.  He's fighting back like a champion, but here it is.  This impatient little bastard called cancer is waiting to stake it's un-rightful claim.  And yet he fights.  We all fight.  At the end of the day, who wants to CALL IT a day??

If you're someone who found this blog through Google or some other search result other than already knowing me, don't let the following info trip you out.  We are all individuals and how my body reacted to Radioactive Iodine (RAI) might be totally different from you.  Do your research, understand what you can.... And REALLY grasp that your journey is yours.  Own it, believe it, you got this.  No matter the ease or the nightmare... YOU GOT THIS.

Moving on to the Radioactive Iodine.  I left off in the last Blog Post at the point of "OK I will be cool after Radioactive Iodine."

I didn't lie.

But what I didn't know is that Radioactive Iodine (RAI from  here on out) was going to KICK MY ASS. And holy crap, that's what it did.

I did research.  I spoke with several peeps who had RAI and they all said about the same thing: RAI wasn't that big a deal, they were mildly nauseous for a minute, etc. etc.


Let me set up the whole scenario for you.

Unless you have AMAZING health coverage and you get to have what's called a thyrogen shot that'll slam you into a quick and crazy hypothyroid state, you have to stop taking your thyroid replacement pills about four weeks prior to your RAI treatment.  It's important that you reach a Hypothyroid state prior to getting the Iodine that marks where there's thyroid cells left in your body.  They will also put you on a low iodine diet for a couple weeks prior to all this so the RAI can take proper effect.

I swear sometimes it felt like the health departments of the world want you as pliable as POSSIBLE before a treatment so they could have little to no fight from ya before something big!  hahahaha!  When one is full blown hypothyroid, there is little fight left.  You feel like you are walking sideways.  It took two parking tickets and a moving violation before I asked my Mom to come out for a couple weeks cuz I realized it wasn't a good idea that I be out and about on my own.  You think, in your head, that you can do all these things to take care of yourself and then.. you realize... you cannot.  For me, it was easier to ask my amazing Mama to come out and help me than it was to ask anyone else.  And thank God she did.  My hypothyroidism only got worse, not better.  She was the biggest help than anyone in the world.

Fast forward to the actual RAI.

With RAI, you cannot AT ALL be around another living soul for a few days.  Not one.  It's not like other radiations for other cancers.  Depending on your dose, you are told to hole yourself up in an undisclosed location.  (the CLINK from here on out)

So.  On a Thursday, I went to the Nuclear Medicine Department (THAT is a crazy term to say out loud!) and took a charcoal colored horse pill.  The humans that work there are not allowed to touch the charcoal pill.  I literally "bottoms upped" it from a TEST TUBE.  Wow.

On that same Friday, as I was in full solitude in the "clink",  that little charcoal bastard took hold, full force.

It's hard to describe.

I turned the color of ASH.  Grey, grey, grey.  I was beyond swollen.  My entire body swelled like a little glow in the dark balloon! All of my joints hurt.  My entire body HURT like hell.  My tongue swelled, I could barely talk.  I skyped with my Mama probably five times that day.  My thought process:  "If I make it to the next breath, I am good.  If I make it to the next breath, I am good."  And then I would sip water.  And then I would breathe.  All I could think was if I could continue to breathe, then chances were I would likely make it to the next day.  But I couldn't think about making it to the next DAY, as I was literally having to think about making it to the next BREATH.  The thought that God doesn't give us more than we can handle kept going through my mind as a focal point.  Thank God for TNT having a marathon for the TV show SUPERNATURAL--It's one of my fave shows--and for showing LORD OF THE RINGS that night.  It was like--if I make it to the next breath, then Dean Winchester will gank this awful little demon thing in this episode or Frodo will make it to the elves and get healed, etc. etc.

Point is:  It was MOMENT TO MOMENT.  And it was scary as hell.  And in the midst of it, as I was skyping my Mama, I said to her:  Wow.  What good practice to live in the moment.  Cuz that's ALL I CAN DO RIGHT NOW.  I really wasn't sure if I would make it to Saturday.  And she wasn't either.  It was like that---no joke and no exaggeration.

Saturday came, and so I remained.  Sunday too.  And every day (thankfully) since then.  Days  have come, they have perished.. Those days in between  now and then that now we consider the past.  Buh-BYE.

There are three people who need to be hugely recognized during these moments of my crazy hell.

My Mama--let's just call her... Mama!, the Hubby--Christopher Nelson and the Bestie--Landall Goolsby.  These peeps brought me food whilst I was in the clink and I wouldn't have survived without their support and constant texting, phone calls and food bringing during my darkest of cancerous radioactive hours.

According to where I am right now--I pretty much have cancer licked.  I have done everything by the book and then some.  I get a blood test in six months to tell me exactly where I am and a scan in another six months to confirm I am one solid chick.  I am choosing to believe that I have KICKED IT'S ASS.  My endocrinologist said:  given the size of the tumors and the fact they only spread to one lymph node and the size of my body and my age, that I am totally good.  But he cannot and will not guarantee that fact until the follow up stuff happens and that'll be in six months to a year.  OK then!  Let's just say:  WE ROCKED IT, GUYS!! :)

Papillary Thyroid Cancer is considered the most common and least aggressive of the cancers out there.

That's cool.

I am glad that's what I got and kicked it's ass.  I am glad and BEYOND grateful for the support system of all of YOU that I've had during this process.

At the end of the day... IT IS STILL F**KING CANCER.

Laugh all you will, judge all you must.  But until you get a call, and I pray you DON'T, at 830AM on a random Tuesday morning, you don't understand the utter holy s**t moment that comes with the cancer discovery moment.  You will fall to your knees.

But what defines our journey is not how many times we fall to our knees in fear, pride, envy or uncertainty... but how many times we fall to our knees in gratitude for the journey itself and who's along for the ride.

Thank you, all of you, for teaching me just how many times I can fall to my knees in utter gratitude.

I promise my next Blog Post will not have a damn thing to do with Cancer.


Michelle Tomlinson

My Site


  1. The world is a better place having you in it's presences! You are forever gracious and willing to learn and teach us others that need the positive lesson, whatever it might be. I am so glad the Powers Above allowed us to keep you hopefully for a VERY VERY LONG Time! I love you Michelle! I'm so glad this journey is basically over! Just Keep Livin'!

    1. Love YOU, girl! So proud of you, you keep on keeping on. Thank you for all the support!

  2. Amazing!! Absolutely amazing your strength is inspiring. Thank you fighting and making it to the next breath. Keep breathing, friend.

    1. Thank you so much, Nathan. You ROCK--huge hugs to ya, my friend. Let's keep breathing together. :)

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  4. Had issues with my first post... so let me again post LOL (I pulled a McT!) There are no words to describe how proud I am of how you handled this journey from start to finish. There are no words to describe or express my thanks to all the powers that be that you made it through. You are truly THE MIGHTY F**KING MCT!

    1. Uh Oh, you pulled a McT! hahaha ;) Thank you so much for the MASSIVE support during this quagmire, Amato. From the phone calls to the yoga to the dog tags.. Thank you.