So yeah, happy birthday to me.

Here are the highlights:
  • I have thyroid cancer; and
  • I'm going to be fine.
That's all you really need to take away from this.

More details.

Back in December while I was at the doctor's on an unrelated issue, she noticed that I appeared to have a larger bulge at my thyroid than I should. She ordered an ultrasound, which happened about a week later, and early in January I was told I had a 4 centimeter "nodule" on my thyroid. Therefore, a biopsy was ordered, four months later that happened. The result came back that there were cancer cells in the biopsy.

That was about four weeks ago now.

So since then I've been to visit the surgeon who will be dealing with this, and from that we've learned a lot more about this than we knew before.

There are four types of cancer. I got "lucky" and got the one that is least likely to metastasize . The 10-year survivor rate is better than 99% (which means at this point I still have a better chance of getting hit by a car than dying from this thing). I am also young, comparatively speaking, so at this point the indications are that this is a stage-1 cancer. This means the cancer has not spread elsewhere.

The surgeon will be taking my entire thyroid, plus doing some digging around in my neck while I'm "open" to look for evidence of further problems. I will be in the hospital for two or three days while they make sure there are no complications, and then off work for two to four weeks following that. The surgery will likely take place around six weeks from now.

Post-op there will likely be a "radioactive iodine" scan, and depending on what they find while digging around in me I might need some direct radiation. But this is fairly routine.

Longer term I will have to take a thyroid hormone substitute for the rest of my life, which will probably be in the form of a pill taken once per day.

And that's really it at this point.

Right now we don't know what this will mean operationally for the family. We'll plan for things as we learn about them.

So yeah, I'm going to be fine. This is a big deal, but it isn't the BIG deal.

(I wrote this out simply because it is the easiest way to spread it around.)