Friday, January 27, 2012

I HAVE CANCER

This is a post that I never imagined I would be writing. I don’t even really know how to explain it so I am just going to say it……I HAVE THYROID CANCER. I found out January 20, 2012…a day I will never forget. I’m sure every cancer patient can remember the day they were told they have cancer.

The day was a tough day all around. My sister, Selena, had just lost her mother-in-law to a terrible cancer at the young age of 67. We were all very close to her and she was also like a grandmother to my children.  Our family drove from Sacramento to Fresno (about a 3 hour drive) to be with Selena and her husband for the funeral. As I sat at her funeral, in awe of what an amazing woman she was, I wondered to myself what my fate would be. I'm only 41 years old, but these are the kinds of things you start thinking about when someone you love dies of cancer at such a young age.  Would I live a normal healthy life watching my four young boys grow, get married and have children of their own? Or….would I be faced with a diagnosis of cancer someday that might alter this path?

Ironically, and unfortunately, my question would be answered sooner rather than later. We drove back home from Fresno that day and rolled into town around 6pm. I had just answered a phone call from an Annie & Isabel customer when, at 6:30pm, my surgeon, who had removed the right side of my thyroid on January 11, 2012, called.


The words swiftly fell from his mouth…. “The pathology on your thyroid is back and you have cancer". I know it didn’t come out quite as harshly as that and he spent a lot of time talking with me over the phone, but the main thing I heard was “YOU HAVE CANCER”.

All the while, my husband was in another room getting dinner ready to put on the table and was completely unaware of the news I was taking in at that time.  So you can imagine when I came around the corner sobbing, it took him completely by surprise.  I cried like a baby the second I hung up the phone and fell into his arms. My children witnessed this too. My 8 year old later told me, “I don’t think I’ve ever seen you cry mommy” and, really, he should never HAVE to see me cry like that!!

You see….I never for a second believed I would have thyroid cancer. My thyroid was removed due to the continued growth of a nodule in which I had two prior benign biopsies over the last four years. The cruel thing is that this particular type of cancer is nearly impossible to diagnose with biopsies.

While this has rocked my world over the last week, I have a lot to be grateful for:

* Thyroid cancer is one of the most curable cancers and most people do really well after treatment.

* The treatment itself is so much easier than treatments for other types of cancers.

* I have an amazing family to support me.

* I couldn't ask for a more supportive, loving husband to give me strength during this time.



* I have 4 beautiful boys that provide wonderful distractions for me.



* I have amazing friends and a wonderful school community that have already wrapped their arms around me.

* I get to show off my Annie & Isabel hospital gowns for a second surgery (ok…maybe I’m not so grateful for more surgery but the gowns are a plus!)

* I have a great surgeon who I know will take good care of me.


I want to thank everyone for all their support. I am amazed and overwhelmed with so many wonderful people that have started praying for me and my family and have offered to help in any way needed. I am truly blessed.  This whole experience is very surreal, unbelievable and scary but I know I can get through it!!

You know…..sometimes the game of life throws us a curve ball. I just want CANCER to know: I PLAN TO STEP UP TO THE PLATE AND HIT THE CRAP OUT OF YOU!!!! I’m a pretty good athlete too so you don’t stand a chance against me!

66 comments:

  1. Many prayers for you and your beautiful family!

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    1. Thank you so much!! The support I am receiving is amazing:)

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  2. oh my goodness! I remember seeing your photo from your first surgery and felt happy for you that it seemed more or less routine. I am so sorry and although I do not personally know you I will pray for you during your journey and know that all of the good Karma you have acquired in your life will be coming your way through this. I have no doubt that your curve-ball will be hit out of the park! Prayers from El Dorado Hills.

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    1. I so appreciate you taking the time to write this message. It feels so good to have so many people keeping me in their prayers

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  3. Thank you for sharing your story with all of us. I will keep you and your beautiful family my in prayers. Our family has seen more cancer in the last year than our hearts can handle. May your passion and kind heart continue to fight cancer's ugly self out of here!

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    1. I am so sorry that you have been touched by this cruel disease so closely too. I will fight this and I will win:)

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  4. Oh no!! I had NO idea this news was coming. You're in my prayers. So encouraged by your spirit!! You can DO THIS!

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    1. Thank you Manda!! It is the last thing you would expect to hear right?? I am ready to beat this!!

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  5. Hello,

    I came across your blog through a tweet by Jessica (mommasgonecity).

    Thank you for sharing your story. You are brave and from what I can see, you have a fabulous family! You're in my positive thoughts and (((((((healing)))))) energy field. You WILL hit the *crap* outta cancer!!! Rooting for you!!!! ;)

    Hugs,
    Vanessa
    www.mamascribble.com

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    1. Vanessa, thank you so much for taking the time to leave this message. It means a lot! You are right in that I have an extremely wonderful family who will be with me every step of the way to beat this. I am blessed!! Thank you for your positive thoughts:)

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  6. Oh my gosh Anna! I am so sorry to hear the news but you are right you are strong and you will kick cancer's a**. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

    Heather XXX

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    1. Oh Heather.....did you ever imagine this would happen to one of us someday??!! It's unbelievable really. We should plan to get together sometime soon. Miss you:)

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  7. Anna! You will be in my prayers daily. I wanted to give you a hug last night and see how you were doing after surgery but it was crowded and I waited too long. Fight hard!
    Alison

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    1. You are so sweet Alison. We will have our hug soon!!

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  8. Cancer is such an ugly word. After watching my mom kick it's butt and my sister's mother-in-law send it into oblivion, with strength and support it can be done. Sending you warm wishes, thoughts and prayers!

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    1. Denise...thank you so much for writing!! I think of you often and occasionally check on your blog. I plan to take after your mom and sister-in-law:)

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  9. You are in our thoughts and prayers. I'm in tears. You have no idea what my Anita gown and the kindness of you and your sister, meant to me before and after my son was born. You will win this fight!

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    1. Thank you Sara. You have become such an amazing "internet" friend. I so appreciate all your support!

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  10. Thoughts and prayers are with you and your family! Kick that cancer right in the butt!

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    1. Thank you Adrienne. I plan to kick it hard!!

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  11. Anna you are an amazing and beautiful person who has given so much to so many. Sending lots of positive thoughts your way. There is a reason you have 4 handsome boys . . . boys love protecting their mommy, I know, I have 3. Big hugs to you! As a friend of Selena I will do all I can to support her to help you. Take care of yourself. You are a fighter . . .

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    1. Thank you. I love that and have no doubt my boys will all be there for me. They already protect me in so many wonderful ways:)

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  12. You are in my prayers.

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  13. KICK that cancer right out the door! Praying for you and yours..

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    1. You know it!! Thank you so much for your prayers.

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  14. I hope that you get through this soon. This might help if you're interested. http://www.gerson.org/
    God Bless You

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    1. Thank you so much and I appreciate the link.

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  15. Thank you for sharing your story. I recently wore an Annie & Isabel gown for my daughter's birth and came across your story. My sister was diagnosed with thyroid cancer when she was 22. She turned 40 this year and is doing great. Like you, she is surrounded by wonderful doctors and a very loving & supportive family. You will be in my prayers:) Stay strong and have faith!!

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    1. Thank you for sharing your sister's story!! These always give me such great hope. Congrats on your new bundle of joy too!!!!

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  16. Anna, lots of love to you. You are an incredibl person in addition to being truly blessed with a most fantastic family! You are in my thoughts and prayers. xo Bridget

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  17. Anna, you WILL kick some CANCER butt!!! You are in my prayers sister.

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    1. You know it Rahima:). I miss you at work. I was ready for a little break from work but not this kind of break!!

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  18. Lots of love and prayers coming your way Anna. You will beat this!

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    1. Thank you for your prayers Jessica. It means a lot!!

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  19. Dear Anna,

    Mark, Matthew, and I send our best to you and your family! I'm sure you'll "hit a home run" as you step up to this challenge. Luckily, you are a strong person with a great support system. We are happy to help out, if possible, as well.

    Best Wishes to You,
    Karen

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    1. Thank you Karen and, yes, I will hit a home run !!!!

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  20. Anna - just read your post. I am so sorry to hear about your diagnosis - however I know you will beat it! Lots of prayers are coming your way from Ohio :)
    Toni Bloomfield

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    1. Toni, your support is amazing!! I can feel all the prayer warriors and it feels good!

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  21. Dear Anna,

    I emailed your mom to ask how the surgery went and she told me "very well" and then she gave me the news later the next week. You WILL step up to the plate, you will KICK the crap out of this, you are a fighter and best of all you have a loving family who supports you and tends to your spirit in a way that is admirable to all who witness it. My the peace of God rest softly in your heart and my prayers started with your surgery and will not end until the day you say, "I am cancer free". All my love to you Anna.
    Love,
    Kimberly

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    1. Kimberly...this message is so beautiful...made me cry:). A good cry though:). Thank you!!! xoxo

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  22. Anna,
    I am a friend of your Aunt Betty Jo. She posted a note on Facebook asking her friends to contact you with letters of support. Although we don't personally know each other, I want to give you a lovely hug of prayers that God will work a miracle on your behalf. Cancer is a tough one but as you say - you are too and that goes a long way in your recovery. I am a co-captain of a Relay For Life team in Chico CA. My Uncle Bob went through year's of treatment and had a progressive form of cancer. He is a survivor and you will too!!! Lori Jones

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    1. Lori, thank you so much for coming by to leave a message. It means a lot!!

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  23. Anna,
    I am completely shocked and I know you guys were. I know you will beat this and our prayers will continually be with you. Keep us updated so we can pray specifically for you. God bless you and your sweet family.

    Rebecca Wer and family

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    1. Thanks Rebecca. It was pretty shocking. I appreciate all the prayers:)

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  24. Love to hear your story Anna absolutely love your phrase "keep calm and kick cancer" that us perfect and I know you will do it!! Lots if prayers everyday for you! Xoxo

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  25. Anna,
    Words can't express how sorry I am to hear this news. You have such a strong, beautiful spirit - thank you for sharing. I will definitely keep you and your family in my prayers for God's peace to encompass you as you put up a good fight in this battle.
    Kristen Branham (used to work with Joe @ UCD PT)

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    1. Thank you Kristen. I am blessed to have so much support. I appreciate your prayers!!

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  26. Anna, My prayers are with you and your family. You are a strong, wonderful women and I know you will beat this. Step up to the plate and swing hard!!!! XOXO Sandi Pullen (Bronson)

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    1. Thank you Sandi!! I think of you often. In fact, the blanket you made me whe I was pregnant with Daniel still gets used on an almost daily basis by us:). Miss you!!

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  27. my family is standing with you in prayer and belief!! XOXO, Jami

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    1. Thank you Jami. Your support means so much. Your strength inspires me:)

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  28. Anna you are such an amazing woman. I have admired you so much watching you grow up, working with you, such a role model. You will overcome this and I know you will help several people along the way, just like your aunt Kathy

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    1. Thank you Lynette. I think of you often and miss you!!

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  29. Anna,
    I found out today when I received an e-mail chain regarding meals for you and your family. Your faith, family and friends will help you through this and at the end you WILL BE CANCER FREE! When my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer she found a saying that spoke to her and became the name of her blog.."Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about dancing in the rain." With the help of everyone you to will "dance in the rain" and beat the cancer. You are in our thoughts and prayers.

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    1. Sharon....I LOVE that quote. I plan to do some dancing in the rain and kick some cancer butt!!

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  30. Anna,
    You don't know me, but I am your Aunt Lisa's next door neighbor. Thank you for the courage to share your story with such honesty and poignancy. Many of the feelings and experiences you wrote about rang true for me as well. I am a cancer survivor with 2 young children and I was also 41 when I was diagnosed, just having had a baby 4 months earlier and a son just 5 years old. I too remember that day and that phone call with the most unexpected news--I had Hodgkin's lymphoma. You are right in that you will find your children to be a wonderful and welcome distraction from it all and you will draw strength from them. You already have the attitude of a fighter which will help you win this battle!!! i wish you a speedy recovery. Feel free to contact me if you wish.

    Stacy
    Cancer free since June 2011

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    1. Thank you Stacy!! I can't imagine going through what you did with such a small child. Our children keep us strong:). Thank you for this nice message.

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  31. Anna, you are in our thoughts and prayers and we are so sorry that you are going through this. You have the right attitude and family support that will get you through this. God bless you all and may you have a speedy recovery. XOJo&DeanH

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    1. Thank you Jo & Dean. Dean...you have been in our thoughts with everything you are going through too.love you both!!

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  32. In my prayers and thoughts. I know your family is nothing less than amazing and you will have all the prayer warriors and support to get you through this time.

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  33. Oh, Anna.. I am so sorry. You are a beautiful strong woman and you can fight this. You have a huge group of supporters with you but know you have one in Texas too! Hugs to you.

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  34. Anna, you are so strong. I can tell. Most people wouldn't be smiling in these pictures... and yet you are. Cancer doesn't stand a chance <3 You will be in my thoughts!

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  35. Anna, Anna, Anna! I am sooo sorry to hear this news but so glad that you are sharing it. You WILL win this fight, and I know you have lots of family and friends who will be with you every step of the way. Please count me among them and know that if you ever need to talk -- to cry, to rage, to laugh, to complain -- you can call me (or e-mail if you prefer!) May I add two things that were said to me that I found very valuable?

    * Do not do anything that does not give you pleasure.

    * Cancer is not a gift, but it brings many gifts with it.

    You will be in my prayers! Keep smiling, keep fighting!

    Ta-ta for now!

    Molly

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