TOMORROW, October 13, is the Annual 2012 Butterfly Bash!!!!
benefiting ThyCa: Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Association
In lieu of attendance, please consider making a donation of any amount by clicking on the green "DONATE" box! Every dollar counts. No donation is too small to make a difference.
"We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give."-- Winston Churchill
Donating to this cause will make a differnce in the lives of all thyroid cancer patients who need HOPE for a future without cancer! I am only one of many people living with advanced thyroid cancer, but so that you may better understand the need for funding, I will share my story.
Tamra Kaufman’s Story
Thyroid cancer has been a very personal disease for me because every day since January 2004, this disease has affected my life. Since then, I have been on a journey to raise awareness and funding for much needed research into this disease not only for myself, but all other thyroid cancer patients who need and deserve HOPE for a future without cancer!
Many of you already know the story, but for those of you who don’t, I will share my story again and again so that even one more person may donate to this cause. There are so many cancers out there who get so much attention, but thyroid cancer is relatively ignored……But if I have anything to do about it, not for long!
I was diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer in January 2004, when I was 6 months pregnant. I was told, as so many thyroid cancer patients are, that I had a “good cancer” and that I had won the “cancer lottery.” Less than one month after delivering my daughter, I had a total thyroidectomy and neck dissection. My original tumor was 4.5 cm and I had over 40 malignant lymph nodes removed from my neck with the majority matted around my trachea. About a month after surgery, I had my first radioactive iodine treatment (RAI) of about 250 millicuries. I was isolated in the hospital and then at home for almost a month. After my initial treatment, I was told and believed I was CANCER FREE! Only to find out I wasn’t….
In 2006, my doctor discovered additional malignant lymph nodes in my neck. I underwent my second neck dissection and had another 20 lymph nodes removed from the right side of my neck. Unfortunately, during my operation, a spinal nerve was severed leaving me permanently numb on my upper right torso.
While undergoing additional imaging tests in 2006, my doctors found additional malignant lymph nodes in the left side of my neck. I underwent my third neck dissection in late 2006. I was sent home with a post-surgical drain (as I had been with all of my previous operations) and contracted a resistant staph infection in my wound. I was readmitted to the hospital for 10 days to fight the infection. I then had my second RAI treatment of 150 millicuries.
In 2008, ultrasounds revealed additional malignant lymph nodes in my neck. I was not an ideal surgical candidate, having been through so many previous operations on the same site. So I had a successful an ethanol ablation procedure to several malignant lymph nodes.
As frustrated and fed up with cancer as I was, I had accepted that I may never be “cancer free.” While I was never comfortable with that fact, I knew my cancer was slow-growing and manageable. I tolerated cancer in my life as an inconvenience and considered myself “lucky” that I was living with, and not dying from, cancer. But my world was about to be rocked!
In September 2010, my blood work came back more abnormal than usual, so I had a CT scan of my chest. The results of the scan showed innumerable metastases scattered throughout both of my lungs. Everything changed on that day and it will never be the same. I underwent more testing than I can list, followed by an additional RAI treatment of 350 millicuries.
I would love to now write that the treatment was a total success and I am cancer free, but as is true for almost all advanced thyroid cancer patients, that is not the case. Today, I am living with cancer and the unknown. I am so fortunate to say that my disease has been stable for the last two years. But I know my battle is not over and that we are prolonging the inevitable as long as my cancer is slow-growing. And I know that for all of the patients living with advanced thyroid cancer, we need HOPE that with research and funding for our disease, there will be options available to use to fight. I am grateful for all that has been done, but there is so much work to do.
Here are some facts about thyroid cancer that make it a cancer we should all pay attention to:
• Thyroid cancer is the fastest increasing cancer in BOTH men and women in the US
• It occurs in ALL age groups, from children to seniors
• Thyroid cancer is one of the few cancers that has INCREASED in incidence in recent years
• Thyroid cancer is the 5th most common cancer in women
• According to the American Cancer Society, 56,460 people will be diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2012 in the US. 1,780 people will die from thyroid cancer this year.
• While the prognosis for most thyroid cancer patients is good, the recurrence rate can be as high as 30% and can occur decades after initial diagnosis
• For patients with advanced thyroid cancer, just a few short years ago, there were virtually no treatment options
• Within the last 7 years there have been clinical trials that show promise for the future
• Thyroid cancer research remains grossly underfunded
PLEASE KNOW that no donation is too small because it will make a difference and every donation is sincerely appreciated!
Tamra Kaufman and Stacie Lacina