Thursday, September 10, 2015

Thyroid Cancer Awareness

In 2004, shortly after the birth of our daughter, I noticed swelling on the left side of my neck/throat area.  I assumed I was coming down with a cold or something, as I had awoken with a sore throat for a few days that week.  I went about the week, thinking it would soon go away.  After another week had passed and the swelling increased, I made a doctor appointment to get my glands checked.  The doctor was alarmed at the sight of the swelling on my neck and immediately scheduled me for an ultra sound.  I was gravely concerned, as I knew whatever the issue was, it couldn't be good.  I was told I had a cluster of cysts the size of a golf ball, on my thyroid.
With 5 prior cancer diagnoses within our family, I immediately thought "I have cancer!"  Waiting for the day the biopsy would take place was the most difficult I had endured since my dad's cancer diagnosis, four years prior.  That, coupled with the wait time to receive biopsy results were among the most emotional and challenging days I can remember.  During the results wait time, I worried myself into a frenzy!  After all, I was a wife and mom to an infant and a toddler (and daughter to a man still battling cancer), who had always been a picture of health.  The dialogue of "how could this be happening to me?", kept replaying in my thoughts.

Twelve days after my initial appointment, I was informed my tumor was benign (non-cancerous).  I hadn't felt that kind of relief and of being Blessed, greater, than in that moment.  Five days later, I underwent surgery to remove the tumor and half of my thyroid.  
I can't tell you how often during the twelve days of waiting for results, phrases such as "thyroid cancer is the best cancer to have" and to "not worry" were said to me!  Though well intended, this was no comfort to me, as it was my experience, there is nothing good or fortunate about any cancer diagnosis.
I am blessed beyond measure to have my health and have had no other tumors present!

  • Thyroid cancer is one of the few cancers that has increased in incidence rates over recent years. It occurs in all age groups from children through seniors.
  • The American Cancer Society estimates that there will be about 62,450 new cases of thyroid cancer in the U.S. in 2015. Of these new cases, about 47,230 will occur in women and about 15,220 will occur in men. About 1,950 people (1,080 women and 870 men) will die of thyroid cancer in 2015.

    Many patients, especially in the early stages of thyroid cancer, do not experience symptoms. However, as the cancer develops, symptoms can include a lump or nodule in the front of the neck, hoarseness or difficulty speaking, swollen lymph nodes, difficulty swallowing or breathing, and pain in the throat or neck.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Prostate Cancer - The 2nd Highest Diagnosed Cancer Among Men
My dad was diagnosed with late stage prostate cancer 15 years ago; 3 months before my wedding day.  We weren't sure he would be healthy enough to walk me down the aisle or even attend our ceremony.  After an invasive surgery and just beginning recovery and treatment protocols, my dad made it to our wedding, and walked me down the aisle and all!  
15 years later - 3 surgeries, various treatments, as well as a liver cancer diagnosis, my dad has defied the incredible odds and is alive; yet continues to battle cancer today.  
Living the reality of cancer has been the most difficult challenge we continue to face as a family.  This life-changing experience, along with having lost my uncle to prostate cancer 3 years ago, I am constantly reminded there is much work to be done.  "Click" on the ACS image above for more information about prostate cancer.  Include a PSA - Prostate Specific Antigen - (a simple blood test) test within your yearly physical.

Timely Detection Is Key!

Facing Cancer Together-

Thursday, September 3, 2015

A Talk With Congressman Tom Emmer

It was an honor to host Minnesota Congressman Tom Emmer today at the American Cancer Society office to discuss important legislation we are working to gain his support on! I'm so grateful for the opportunities the American Cancer Society provides me to help make a difference! #acs #canceradvocate #tomemmer.
Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is a cancer of the white blood cells that normally fight infection. The cells do not grow and develop properly, filling up the bone marrow inside bones, where blood is normally made.
ALL is the most common type of childhood cancer, accounting for 35 percent of all cancers in children. Each year, there are about 2,900 new cases of children and adolescents diagnosed with ALL in the United States alone.
Its signs and symptoms resemble other common illnesses, which often leads to other treatments before the leukemia diagnosis is made.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

September Cancer Awareness Month

As you may recall from previous posts, September is one of my busiest and most favorite months!  
During September, the cancer community emphasizes focus on awareness of the following:
  • Childhood Cancer
  • Gynecological Cancer
  • Leukemia/Lymphoma
  • Ovarian Cancer
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Thyroid Cancer
This month holds profound significance to me as my dad continues to battle prostate cancer, while my uncle lost his brave fight two years ago.  My father-in-law lost his battle with leukemia, while my friend remains a fierce ovarian cancer survivor!  
I stand in awe of the many children I call "friend", who face the cruel reality of childhood cancer at such a tender & young age.  This serves as my constant reminder that cancer doesn't discriminate; not by age, gender, or ethnicity.
Please follow me as I provide insight and important facts of each of these types of cancers this month. 

Facing Cancer Together,

Friday, February 6, 2015

National Wear Red Day!

1 in 3 women die of heart disease and stroke each year. Celebrate National Wear Red Day with Go Red For Women on Friday, Feb. 6, 2015 to help save women’s lives. 

The American Heart Association is the nation’s oldest, largest voluntary organization devoted to fighting cardiovascular diseases and stroke.

Founded by six cardiologists in 1924, the organization now includes more than 22.5 million volunteers and supporters working tirelessly to eliminate these diseases. The AHA funds innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies and provide lifesaving tools and information to save and improve lives.

*Click on image for more information