GYN Oncology Update

The estridol is working, and my oncology check this week was not as horrible.  Still uncomfortable, buf he was able to use the speculum and I didn’t tear down there or scream in pain.  Hashtag progress.

So, all clear for three more months.  He did ask if I was exercising.  I told him my endo forbid it until my thyroid gets straight.

Bonus points for the week?  My horrible tendon spasms are no more since I cut out my vitamins.  Score!

Update From My Last Post

I saw the endocrinologist on Monday, and after his exam (pending some MORE bloodwork) he has given me a diagnosis of Graves’ Disease.  Graves’ Disease is a condition in which the body’s immune system attacks the thyroid gland, and causes an excessive amount of thyroid hormones in the body.  It can lead to muscle pain and weakness (check), fast heart beat (check), fatigue (check), anxiousness (check), and weightloss.  Now, I worked hard to lose 50 pounds earlier this year, and my doctor still says much of it was more than likely due to the Graves…but I’m still claiming it.  Graves’ can also cause eye problems (just diagnosed with the need for glasses after having lasix about 10 years ago) and bulging eyes.  Yikes.

The issue with Graves’ Disease before treatment is that is causes your muscles to deteriorate.  This includes your heart.

I will undergo a radioactive iodine ablation in the near future.  This means, I will swallow radioactive iodine that will go in and kill my thyroid.   Once the treatment is done, I will take synthetic thyroid hormones to regulate my system.

What this means now?

I can no longer take any of the vitamins I have taken on a regular basis since my gastric bypass surgery.  I generally take a multivitamin, Calcium with D, Magnesium, B12 and B-complex.  As many over the counter vitamins and meds have a high level of iodine in them, I’m forbidden to take them.  The only one I still have to take is B12 (to keep from going anemic) and a prescription dose of D to prevent a D deficiency.  I freaked out a little bit about that, but my endocrinologist told me there have been recent studies which show that bariatric patients do not show that great of a benefit from OTC vitamins afterall, and that calcium in someone who is diabetic (controlled, but will always be diabetic) can cause heart attacks.  WUT?  The ONLY thing I can take OTC now is my B12 and tylenol if I need it for pain.  Nothing else.  Sigh.

Additionally, I am forbidden from exercising until further notice, as he doesn’t want any further muscle damage.  I have horrible leg cramps every single night with no other cause (I’m hydrated and I have good magnesium levels) so that means it’s attributable to the Graves.  Not even a lot of walking at work.

Also, I’m not allowed to have any more CT scans that involve contrast.  None.  I’m not sure if this is ever, or until I have the ablation.  Hopefully I can still have my colonoscopy mid-way through October.  They don’t use contrast though, only cameras.

I asked what could have caused the issue.  I have a family history of thyroid conditions.  My oldest sister had Graves’.  My older sister had tumors on her thyroid which caused a partial removal of her thyroid.  I have cousins on both sides who have thyroid issues.  But as to what actually triggered it, no idea.  I asked if it could have been the radiation and chemo, but the endocrinologist said they have found no corralation between cancer treatments and Graves’.  He also was quick to point out that the studies are inconclusive, so it could have been the treatment, or it could have been the strep throat I had earlier this year, or it could have been just about anything.

Seriously people, if it is not one thing, it’s another.  You shouldn’t start laughing at the doctor when he gives you more bad news, but honestly, there comes a point when all you can say is, “Really?  Well, why not?”

Results Are In…

There comes a point in a cancer patient’s post treatment world where you have to look at yourself and say, “Ok, this is not from chemo anymore…something else must be wrong.”

I’ve had issue with fatigue and anxiety for a while now, and since I completed chemo 18 months ago, my primary care looked long and hard at my bloodwork and thought I may have an issue with anemia and my thyroid.

I had some more bloodwork done a week or so ago, and the results are in…

Not anemic.

This was the big one for me, because unexplained anemia for a cancer patient is scary. My iron and B12 levels were good (that leads to post gastric bypass anemia) so the doctor was concerned. Turns out, my levels are 11.4 – right where they are supposed to be. Phew.

My thyroid tests came back as overactive. Sypmtoms of overactive thyroid are fatigue and anxiety.

So, he’s referred me to an endocrinologist.

I have chosen to go to an endo I saw way back in 1999 and 2000. He is well respected around here, and hopefully can determine the best course of action for my thyroid.

Anyone have experience with overactive thyroid and treatment? I’ve heard it could be the result of radiation, but I was not radiated there.

Gastrointerological Oncology Update

Lynch syndrom (a malformation in a gene) leads to an increased chance of cancer in the ovaries, colon, uterus, and gastric path. In fact, Lynch Syndrome leads to an 80% higher risk of colon cancer.

I have Lynch Syndrome.

So, as a result, I have to have an annual appointment with a gastrointerological oncologist – Bruce Greenwald – who is in Balitmore at the University of Maryland.

In my appointment last summer, when I had a colonoscopy, he indicated that perhaps he would go to a bi-annual conoloscopy, with an annual follow up.

So, Monday was my annual follow up in Baltimore.  I met with Dr. Greenwald, and his opinion has changed from last year.  Because I have wacky plumbing (a roux en  y gastric bypass)  in which part of my stomach is sectioned off, he can’t easily get to it to look at what’s going on.

This is a concern.

There is a procedure to look at this part of my stomach (done like an endoscopy) in which a baloon is placed at the end of the scope, and it makes the turn around my Y, and into my sectioned off stomach and intestine that I no longer use.

Only a few doctors do this scope.

Dr. Greenwald feels that as a matter of safety, to put his mind at ease as well as my own, we are going to go ahead and do this scope, along with a colonoscopy.

He doesn’t do this procedure, but has a colleague who does.

So I’m waiting to have it scheduled.

What they don’t tell you about having a bowl prep post gastric bypass is this:

You have to do two days of clear liquids, not just one.  Because my body processes food differently.  Much of the food I eat is not absorbed into my system, and I have no stomach acid left (it’s in that sectioned off pouch) to break my food down.  Instead, it is broken down in the intestines.

Additionally, things like bowel prep just kind of plow on through faster.

So, I have to do two days of clear liquids, and break up my prep a bit different.  It will be easier on my system and me.

Dr. Greenwald has also indicated that if this scope is clean, he will go to bi-annual with the colonoscopy, and only do this other scope every five years or so.

I can not stress genetic testing enough.  Get it done.  That way you know what you are facing, and can get the screenings you need.

Gynecological Cancer Awareness Month

Before we see pink for a month, let’s celebrate the Peach and Teal fighters.

Ladies, be aware of your girlie bits.

Excessive bleeding.
Unexplained fatigue.
Unexplained back and hip pain.
Things just don’t seem right.

Get it checked out.

Gynecological cancers often have silent symptoms that can mask as something else.

I was told I had arthritis in my hip.  I was told my bleeding was from fibroids.  My exhaustion was from work and school.

I had Stage III endometrial cancer.

Be your own advocate.