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A Family, Created

Updated: 2016-03-06T08:24:14.212-05:00


The Waiting Game


So, I had my endocrinology consult on August 5th. There were no surprises. She reviewed the pathology report with me again, and confirmed I would need Radioactive Iodine Ablation (RAI) of any remaining cells, since the cancer had to metasticized to at least 5 lymph nodes.

RAI is both diagnostic and therapeutic: It will show if there are any thyroid cancer cells left in my neck, or if there happens to be any distant metastases (please God, no). Even if there is cancer still present, the radioactive iodine will destroy (ablate) any of it left. Pretty cool.

Problem is . . . I need two injections of a drug called thyrogen, in the days before the RAI treatment, to prep my body. Well, there is a "worldwide shortage" of that drug, so I cannot have the treatment at this point in time.

I really can't make this shit up.

So I am on the "waiting list" for treatments, once the manufacturer produces more. It is expected that there will be an announcement as to when the drug will be available by the end of this month.

So I wait. Again.

You do all know I HATE waiting!!!!!!!!!!???

Back to work, back to life


I started back to work this past Monday. I felt good (relatively speaking) for the first 3 days, but yesterday afternoon, I hit the wall. I was so tired, I could barely walk at about 3pm. I made my way through the last hour of work, picked up my big boy at the camp bus-stop, got the little one from daycare, and headed to the pool. Daddy did swim duty while I relaxed and chatted with a friend.

I have gained 5 pounds in the last 2 weeks though! I'm sure my replacement synthroid dose must be too low. I am really not eating more food that I usually do, and I'm much more active than I was the week before surgery and the three weeks after. I guess we'll find out next Friday.

I used to be a real fan of Viactiv calcium supplements. But taking 6 a day for the past few weeks, and I am just gagging already. Can't wait to stop those :)

On a bright note, we were just given 4 front row seats the a home Yankee game on Sunday afternoon! I'm so excited to see the new stadium, and for the boys to enjoy an afternoon at the ball park.

back to work tomorrow . . .


I am as healed as I will be for now, so I am back to work tomorrow. I've been gone for four weeks! I have never been away from work for that long. Ever.

My next appointment is with the oncology-endocrinologist at MSKCC on August 5th. She will take over my care from the surgeon at that point. She will dose my thyroid meds, watch my calcium levels, and talk about the plan for the radioactive iodine treatments.

So, at this point, I am in a holding pattern for 2 more weeks. Guess I will enjoy the summer for now!


So that was fun!


At least I haven't lost my sarcastic edge after surgery ;)We arrived at MSKCC at 5:45am on Tuesday to check-in for surgery. They were ready and waiting for me. I continue to be so impressed by the smooth workings of the institution, in regards to appointments, communications, etc.They brought me to the pre-op area where I changed into a gown and those awesome slippers with the no-slip bottoms. They gave me a garment bag to hand my clothes in andthey tagged it with a sticker from my medical chart. They added it to a rolling garment rack and told us it would be delivered to my room after surgery. Thanks! The nurse placed an IV after taking vital signs. Reviewed medical history, met with anesthesiologist, then surgical fellow who marked the correct side of my neck for surgery (with a good old sharpie!), and I was good to go by 7am. We hung out until about 7:20, when they came to fetch me. They had me walk myself to the OR and climb up on the table. No taxi service going in.There were about 9 people in the OR, and everyone introduced themselves and were so nice. My surgeon came in to check on me and he put me right at ease. When they were ready, they started the IV and I was out before the oxygen mask coming towards me even touched my face. Love that part! I woke up seconds later in the PACU, although it was already noon. I dozed in and out for another 4 hours in the recovery room, before being transferred to my room on the 17th floor. I hazily remember my husband visiting me in the recovery room at about 2pm, and that he told me Dr. Wong took out 10-15 lymph nodes instead of just the five he planned from the pre-op ultrasound. Lovely. My cancer just keeps getting bigger and bigger. i always was an overachiever ;)I had a corner room, overlooking the East River and my old campus of Rockefeller University and the 59th Street Bridge. How strange to be back so close to it all-and looking down at it from Sloan :(All my nurses and techs were excellent! Thank you to Stephanie, my day RN (three times!) from Jersey City who was just adorable. My night nurse (three times too!) Victoria was fantastic as well. Jen, my day RN one shift, has a brother having knee surgery at Greenwich Hospital this coming Wednesday! Small world. And Lauren, my night tech, was the best of all. I was so grateful for being blessed with a great team. Oh! And the IV tech who took my blood a few times was hysterical. I forget your name, but thanks for the packet of McD's saved that turkey burger for me :)The worst part of the post-op time was the unbelievably, incredible horrible sore throat I had from being intubated for the four-hour surgery. It took 2 full days before I could swallow somewhat comfortably, even with pain meds. My parents brought Jackson to visit me on Wednesday evening. He climbed in bed with me for a bit, brought me flowers, and then went to eat fried shrimp and french fries with Daddy. Nothing changes!The neck drain was uncomfortable and ugly, especially the darn tube and collection tub thingie. Yuck. Poor Lauren had the job of emptying that puppy and measuring my output. God bless her! Luckily by Thursday afternoon, the drainage was almost nothing, so I could go home Friday morning. My neck is sore and tired, and starting to turn into a yucky pre-bruised yellowish/greenish color. Can't wait to see the final color palette. The incision is pretty small, considering how far my doc dug back to get those nodes on the right side. He tried very hard to keep the incision small and centered, so he told Michael he "tunneled" his way back to get them all. Ewww. What's cool is that I have no stitches...just glue and steri-strips keeping my neck closed. I'll try to pat a picture so you can see.and here was the view from my swanky upper east side junior suite:I go back next Friday to see the surgeon, have some post-op tests, get the dressing removed from the incision, and hear the final pathology report. Please, more surprises!Please?[...]

T minus one day and counting


By this time tomorrow, I will be 1/2 through the surgery. Please pray my vocal chords remain intact, so I can whoop it up like I know how!

Thanks for all the well wishes, everyone. It really helps.

Soon, this will all be a blur, and I can get on with my summer :)

Not digging this cancer shit


Just when I had prepared myself for a "simple" surgery of totally removing my thyroid, I get crapped on again. I had my pre-op clearance tests yesterday. Lo and behold, it appears the cancer has spread to 5 lymph nodes near the original tumor. Hmmff. I go from stage 1 to stage 2 cancer in a matter of hours. And I will have a neck resection with the thyroidectomy.

This means a 4-hour surgery instead of 2 hour surgery, and a 5 inch incision instead of a 2-inch cut. I will be in the hospital 3 nights instead of one, because I'll need a drain in my neck after surgery. Lovely.

It threw me for a loop. I'm scared all over again.

Treatment Update


So, this week has been busy. I had a consult with a head and neck cancer surgeon at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center on Monday morning. It went very well. Both Michael and I liked him immediately, and he was knowledgeable, confident, and actually nice. That's rare for surgeons (at least the ones I know ;). The worst part, but the coolest part, was when he threaded a thin tube with a camera down my nose and into my throat. He was taking pictures of my vocal chords when I sang a high note and a low note. He does this to document the integrity of my vocal chords now, and will re-test after surgery, to see if any intra-operative damage occurred. Apparently, the thyroid gland sits on top of the trachea and vocal chords, so when its removed, it needs to be very carefully peeled away. There is a chance that the chords can be stretched or severed. That may make some people I know very happy - I am quite loud!

Yesterday was my consult at Yale with another surgeon. Now I know why its important to get a second opinion! We did not like him at all. He was old, he mumbled, and he seemed bored with my case. His resident also made many mistakes when telling us about the procedure before the big surgeon came in. He said I'd have a neck drain for two days! Luckily, he was wrong. Eww. They also did the vocal chord test, but he barely explained it to me, didn't ask for my permission or for me to sign consent. He shoved that thing down my nose with no regard to me, and it hurt. At least at Sloan, they numbed my nostrils and throat, and went slowly and gently.

The only pro to using Yale is that it can be done quickly, as in two weeks from today. They don't require any further pre-op testing. Sloan wants a confirmation ultrasound, during which they'll evaluate my lymph nodes . . . if they are suspicious, they'd want a biopsy of those, so they can take them out during the thyroid surgery. Surgery at Sloan would be after July 4th sometime.

I feel better, more calm. At least I made a choice, and feel comfortable with the surgeon. It is strange that he is about my age. Wow. When did I grow up?

This pisses me off even more . .


Hum Reprod. 2008 Feb;23(2):451-6. Epub 2007 Dec 6.
Risk of thyroid cancer after exposure to fertility drugs: results from a large Danish cohort study.
Hannibal CG, Jensen A, Sharif H, Kjaer SK.

Department of Viruses, Hormones and Cancer, Institute of Cancer Epidemiology, Danish Cancer Society, Strandboulevarden 49,2100 Copenhagen, Denmark.


Findings from the few epidemiological studies that have investigated thyroid cancer risk after fertility drugs have been inconclusive. Using data from the largest cohort of infertile women to date, we examined the effects of fertility drugs on thyroid cancer risk.

A cohort of 54 362 women with infertility problems referred to Danish fertility clinics in the period 1963-1998 was established. A detailed data collection including information about type and amount of treatment was conducted. Using case-cohort techniques, we calculated rate ratios (RRs) of thyroid cancer associated with different fertility drugs after adjustment for age at first live birth.


A total of 29 thyroid cancers were identified during follow-up through 2000. Use of clomiphene [RR = 2.28; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.08-4.82] or progesterone (RR = 10.14; 95% CI: 1.93-53.33) was associated with an increased thyroid cancer risk, although the latter estimate was based on few cases. When stratifying for parity status, the risk was primarily associated with clomiphene (RR = 3.09; 95% CI: 1.21-7.88) in parous women. No significantly increased risk was found after use of gonadotrophins, hCG or GnRH. We observed no association with number of cycles of use or years since first use (latency).


Clomiphene and possibly progesterone may increase thyroid cancer risk, particularly among parous women. Longer follow-up is needed to confirm our findings.

I look good with cancer, right?


Just kidding. This was me on our trip to Jamaica in may while awaiting the biopsy results, just before I knew what was cooking in my throat ;)


I have thyroid cancer? Ah, shit...


As of now, it’s probably papillary carcinoma, which is 95% "curable", especially for those under 45 years old, and for the size of my tumor. Unfortunately, there is that 5%, which doesn't sound like much . . . but only 5% of all thyroid lumps are cancerous, and I already got crapped on with those odds.

 When they take it out, they’ll be able to tell if it was papillary, or one of 3 other types of thyroid cancers that are either just as curable or very aggressive. I’m not thinking about those now

 So, basically, I have the surgery to get the thyroid out. They examine the tumor and decide what type it was. During the surgery, they biopsy the lymph nodes around the area to see if it has spread. If it was papillary cancer, then I’ll get a month for recovery (in the summer, yay!) and then take a dose of radioactive iodine, which travels to any remaining tumor cells and kill them off. Done deal.

If the papillary cancer has spread to the lymph nodes (50% of the time it does, ugh), then I'll need a radical neck resection to remove those. They can only do one side of the neck at a time, with two months between surgeries, b/c of risk of swelling, and the extensiveness of that surgery.

I'm looking at 1, 2, or 3 surgeries, plus radioactive iodine. I'll glow in the dark, so you won't miss me :)

Reunion time!


We rented a house in Rockport, MA for a week. It just so happens its close to Cooper's bio-family's hometown. They came for the day on Sunday and we had an unbelievably awesome time. Come to think of it . . .we always do!

as time goes by


they get bigger and bigger!

Jackson turned six in July, and got a great new short haircut for summer:


and Coop is learning to swim and just loves the water . . .


Now, is there anything better than an ice cream treat in the hot summer sun??





The pool is open.

Enough said.

Is it Summer yet?


What a winter. Rain! Snow! Rain! We lost 5 straight days of school in March due to a rainstorm that brought down trees and power lines. The last day of school has been extended to June 30th.

I'm blogging, b/c my work internet is randomly unblocked today. HELLO BLOGWORLD!

Quick update on the family:
Jax is finishing kindergarten and is doing wonderfully. He just got a great report card :) He's really doing well with independent reading and money values. His maturity has grown, but is still as handful at home.

Coop loves school, so much so that he threw a fit yesterday b/c he couldn't go to school with a fever. Too funny. He is definitely getting the terrible two's attitude at times, but its manageable. And he's just too darn cute when he's throwing a fit!

I continue to knit crochet, make jewerly and now: Weaving! I gave myself an early 40th bday present of a loom, and it arrived yesterday. Can't wait to play!

I was offered a wonderful job in MD/DC, but the money wasn't quite right to make such a huge move and uproot the family. SO I am stuck here at this job until I find something better, or make this one worth staying for. We're getting a new boss at the end of April, so I hope it goes better than we expect.

If anyone is reading, say hi!

Overdue update


We had an utterly unbelievablly fantastic time with Coop's bio-fam. Lovely. Memorable. Touching. Fun.

Here's a pic of Coop and his bio-sibs, who were all created on the same day in the same petri dish back in 1997. But they are 9, 6, and 2 years old. And they all have their own look, right?


upcoming fun!


We are having special guests for the weekend! Cooper's bio-family are coming down for the weekend to visit us, and take a trip to the Statue of Liberty! Since we are very bad local tourists, both me and the hubs have never been (despite being born and raised within 45 minutes of the statue). Needless to say, we are all going together. We are excited!

In other news, J* has started Tae Kwon Doe this week. He's really enjoying it! And we are hoping for some energy outlet, and learning of discipline and respect. He has gotten quite difficult in the past weeks . . . perhaps the thought of Kindergarten is overwhelming him?

Here is my big boy, on graduation day from Pre-K.


Five Years


Five years ago today, about this time of the evening, we got the call. M* was in labor, and we had to get to Florida pronto. Unfortunately, it was a Sunday. He was born 11:50pm, but we weren't there. We met him about 11 hours later when we walked into that hospital room and fell in love.

Five years later, that love has exploded into immeasurable amounts.

Happy Birthday big boy!

First picture with mommy:


The first "moment" . . . .


of way too many, I'm sure.

One of J*'s 2nd cousins told him he's adopted.

Not such a big deal, but J* didn't understand the word in the context. I wasn;t there, so don't now the situation. I was at a bridal shower and hubby was working. J* was with my FIL and the men of that side of the family at my in-laws pool while we were trapped at bridal shower hell ;)

This 8 year old boy is certainly not malicious or mean in any way I have ever seen, so I don't even know how it came up. My FIL actually didn't tell me until today (saturday, and the shower was last Sunday). The boy said it to J* and J* went to his grandpa to ask why he said it.

My heart broke the instant I heard this.

How many times after this first moment will he have to deal with such a question? It takes my breath away.

Now, it really was just a mishap that J* didn't understand the boy's meaning. J* knows he grew in another woman's tummy. He even knows her name by heart. He mentions her a lot. He knows what state he was born in. He knows his brother came from NH too. He knows the situation . . . just not the word. ADOPTED.

So we talked about it tonight. He understands its just another word for what he has always known. The truth. Just not the label.

An he had the perfect answer to my question of what would he say if someone asked him/told him that again?

"DUH! Of course! My mommy and daddy chose me!"

I love every single morsel of that kid.

true momma


you know you're truly a momma when you give up front row Yankee tickets so your 4 1/2 year-old son can go to a baseball game with his grandpa.

I'm so grown-up!

words, they come a-tumbling


The Coop brings home a new word every day now! Horse! Nose! Fruit! Pasta! Manny! (Handy Manny if you're curious).

And he is connecting things in that adorable little brain of his . . . he points to the stainless coffee cup and says Dada! He points to the ratty slippers by door and says Mama! Brilliant, I say!

And of course he can now connect words too - that little overachiever! More bubbles! No Mama! Bye bye Dada! And, of course, MORE PASTA!

It's me!


I guess I suck even more than I thought! I haven’t made a blog post in over two months. So sorry! (not that anyone is even still reading . . . .)

But if anyone is still checking in on us, you’re in luck! I started my new (old) job last week, and now I can blog again. Actually, its all I can do. Most of the internet is blocked . . . so I can’t Facebook, Ravelry, shop, visit message boards, see Flickr pictures, or look up most other things. BUT, I can blog in Microsoft Word and post it when I get home. So that’s the plan.

Now, on to the interesting stuff! Today is a big day in our house! J* is registering for Kindergarten! And . . . Cooper starts his first day in the big boy room at daycare! Wow, both my boys are getting so big. If you know me, then you know I am quite happy about this. The baby stage is just so hard for me for some reason.

It looks like Coop will be moving to a big boy bed soon too. He refuses to go to sleep in his crib, and if we move him in there after he falls asleep, he screams his head off if he wakes up in the night, and is inconsolable until you bring him to a bed or the couch. Sigh. I have failed twice as this sleep thing. Oh well, at least they eat vegetables, right?

Cooper got a real haircut yesterday too. Now he really looks like a big boy. No more curls! But it looks so much better. Before, he looked like a mad scientist by the afternoon with those curls sticking up! Hopefully I can post a picture later.

Yes, I suck


Get your filthy mind out of the gutter! I suck at blogging, yo!

Quick note to say hello, and to confirm that its just the same old continuous madness in our household. J* woke up in the middle of the night screaming Ouchie!!! over and over, which meant he had a raging ear infection. Now on ABs and drops and 12 hours of TV, he's doing fine.

The Coop, on the other hand, is the healthy one, for once! Those ear tubes are golden. He is talking up a storm, saying apple, birdie, car, tree, fish, baby, ball, oh yeah, more, and NO! And can this kid eat!?! He SHOVELED in the chopped tomatoes from the Bruschetta at a baptism party last night, and is currently oohing and aahing over ravioli and broccoli.

And least I did one thing right.

PS - that new job is still on hold . . .they froe the hiring to re-evaluate the department's stucture. Will know more on Wednesday.

Facing Another Big Decision


This one has to do with my career.

I spend 2-3 hours a day commuting into the city for my dream job. I love my job, but it leaves me no free personal time, or time with the boys other than what we spend on dinner, bath-time, and reading before bed. I am worried about when J* starts Kindergarten in the fall, and when they both start after-school sports in a few years. Will I be the mom who CAN'T go to the games?

Its not that I was looking for an immediate solution to these questions. But one popped up yesterday. My old job, which is 4 minutes from my house, is available, and my old boss took me to dinner last night to pursue re-hiring me.

Its not my dream job . . . it'll be a step back in title, and a world away from my current career path (it would be clinical instead of research), but it is an ideal situation in every other way.

So I am faced with the horrible decision of choosing career over family. And its making my stomach very ill.

I think I've done alright so far . . .


How do you discuss adoption with your children? We read J* a book a lot called "The Day We Met You" and I change some of the words to make it more personalized. I have a book for Cooper, called "Before You Were Born: Our Wish for Baby" that is about frozen embryo adoption. I haven't started with it yet, but I will.

J* remembers the time when Cooper was growing inside me. He says things like, remember when we went to the carnival and I rode the roller coaster by myself, because you had Cooper in your tummy and couldn't go with me?" This kid has a memory like an elephant!

He did ask me once about when he grew in my tummy. We had a short conversation when I explained that he grew in another woman's tummy for us, b/c mommy couldn't grow babies back then. Avery special woman grew him for us, and her name was M*. That was about 8 months ago, if I remember correctly.

About a month ago, he mentioned her name once (and with perfect pronunciation, no less). Last night, my FIL was putting him in my car and was saying how he would miss him while he was in FL for the weekend. The poor man's jaw hit the snowy ground when J* asked him to say hello to M* for him, b/c "she grew me in her tummy, you know".


New Pictures


These were taken last week by Cooper's most loving daycare teacher . . .

J-man and his friend K-man:

Coop playing piano:

Coop eating, then inspecting, his banana: