Sunday, July 31, 2011

LongLazySunday: The Blues?

13 Go Team Pancakes!
Usually longlazysundays are filled with zest and excitement, however today i feel nothing. 
 I didn't go to church so that could be it.  
Mr. Pancakes had to work so that could be it too.  
My iphone is still acting up, could that be it?  
But honestly i feel like doing NOTHING!

Last couple of days, i have been working a lot of hours so i feel tired.  And i have so much to do! 
I have to go grocery shopping, 
cook for tonight and the week, 
clean the kitchen and bathroom, 
 get my nails done, 
call to wish friend/family for their birthday
check-in with my nephew about a bursary contest
write some notes for work, 
do some banking online, 
call AT&T
visit family and friends, 
do something to my hair for the week, 
get my workout on (for the first time in months). 
 But nothing! 
I have no motivation whatsoever!

It's not even laziness, i just want to lay in the bed the whole day and do none of the things i have listed above. But then that's not being a good woman, friend, aunt, employee or wife is it? 
This desire to want to do nothing worries me a bit.  

Could i have the blues? 
I am usually in a good mood so it concerns me a bit to be so blahhh!  
Maybe i need to just get out of bed and just do something! 
It doesn't help that i am cuddled in my bed writing this post, haven't showered and letting out a lot of sighs!

Maybe after i publish post, 
i will just get up and do something with myself.  
Blast some gnarls barkley...they always get me going!
 I do hope this helps as i sigh deeply.

Hope the rest of you enjoy your longlazysunday!

How do you deal with the blues?

Friday, July 29, 2011

My iPhone is Sick!

17 Go Team Pancakes!
When Mr. Pancakes surprised me with my iPhone 4, i was really pumped about all the fun and exciting things that i can do! Like talk on the phone and check email at the same time.  The two way camera. The iPod with all the music i wanted.  And of course the one million available apps.   I was just excited.

However, 8 months into owning my precious iPhone and it's started to act up! 
Today for no reason, it just shut off! Imagine my shock and horror at this action. 
I was devastated.  I was unable to access my phone.  I would check my email and the screen would go blank. 

Like a sick baby, i took it to the AT&T (store) hospital where they (operated) reset it by holding the sleep/hold button and the power button until the phone shuts off. 

Press and hold sleep/wake button
Press and hold home button

Of course, he does this and the phone is magically restored! I can access my phone and email again!
Of course i have lost all of my Apps that took me hours to search and add! As much as i love my iPhone and cannot live without it, i hate all the other technical stuff that are beyond my control!

The iPhone is definitely a smart phone but man it's frustrating when it doesn't act so smart!
Or does the smart phone make me not so smart?!

Have you had any challenges with your phone recently?
What kind of smart phone are you working with?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Go Bowling!

5 Go Team Pancakes!
When Mr. Pancakes and i first started dating, we went bowling on a regular basis.  One of our first bowling dates consisted of the winner doing some cheesy favours like giving the other one a back massage or something.  Oh the cheese!

Therefore bowling has been part of our lives.  That is why i wanted to discuss National Bowling Week, i know, there is actually a week dedicated to bowling.  This week begins July 31st and culminates on August 6th.  Guess what Mr. Pancakes and i are doing that week? you guessed it, we are going bowling at least once!

If you go on, you can download a coupon.   However there is a caveat (of course), you have to sign on and vote for the celebrity you want to see in the Bowling Hall of Fame.  After you vote, you will be able to download your coupon for a free night of bowling. I voted for JBeibster (Justin Beiber),

Also, August 6th is World Record Day for bowling.  Therefore, vote, print your coupon, get some funky bowling shoes and BOWL away with your hubby, friends, and family!

Enjoy ladies!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Birthday Deadline: Flowers Delivery to Canada Made Easy!!

13 Go Team Pancakes!
At the end of the month, I have two birthdays coming up. Today I realized that the end d the month is four days away! But only two business days left! Both birthdays are at the end of the months which falls exactly on Sunday. And both birthdays are in Canada. So of course it's past 5pm and I am freaking out because I only have two business days left to think of something fun and amazing to do.

Then it struck me: flowers! Flowers are always an awesome idea. Ladies, it's a nice and generous thing to deliver flowers to your besties!! So I have the idea and now i was wondering which company to go with. Then it hit me, flower delivery canada! There is a great service (that a friend of mine had used a while ago to deliver flowers to yours truly).

The flower delivery canada is a great venture.  It is a convenient service for last minute birthday gift-givers, like myself! I went online at: and shopped around.

To my delight found two very lovely arrangement, with 10% off, added a bear to one and a Happy Birthday balloon to the second and within twenty minutes, I had sent the flowers and they will be delivered by before Sunday! Whew, as I sigh and take a deep breathe!! In the midst of all this, I don't even think I remebered to sign the cards that come attached!!

Have you ever panicked because you wouldn't make a birthday deadline?!
What did you do?!

Romance Wednesday: Random Romantic Moments!

8 Go Team Pancakes!
I am joining The YeYo Diaries and YUMMommy in her Romance Wednesday! It is an opppotunity to talk about the romantic things that you and your significant other are sharing! 

Mr. Pancakes and i have been sharing some random romantic moments through movie date nights.  It is important in marriage, whether newlyweds or married for years, keeping romance alive is imperative.  And Team Pancakes keeps it alive regularly.

We have been having random movie date nights during the week which has been awesome and fun! If we see a good movie  or a UFC fight (we bonded over this during my hospital visit), we will stop whatever we are doing, cuddle on the couch and have a movie date night. 

When i was in the hospital, we spent about four hours watching UFC matches.  This was so much fun (and bloody--i had to close my eyes a few times) and it really allowed us to bond over a male related activity that the man enjoyed.

Then one Tuesday night, Going the Distance was on some movie channel and we started to watch.  We immediately related to this movie because we started off long distance.  Athough it comes across as a girly movie, Mr. Pancakes enjoyed it because it had a lot of the guy humour he finds  amusing! This movie night we did not go to bed until after 1AM.

Then another night, i was watching Love Happens and he joined me.  He was actually making fun of the movie but then he got into it and we enjoyed a sappy romantic comedy together.  After all, all our love stories are romantic comedies anyway!

Recently, we watched another Jennifer Aniston movie, The Break-Up.  I mean, it was so random how we started watching that one.  I was bored of HGTV and WeTV (which he doesn't know why i love those channels) and was flipping the channels and came across the movie.  He joined me after he saw the dinner scene when the brother starts singing.  He thought that was hilarious! And he will say to me, "and babe on the kick drums!"--something silly like that! If you've watched the movie, you'll know what i mean.

Then the other night we caught Grown-Ups. This was fun because it was a mundane Sunday night and we managed to make it a fun night, eating tostitos and enjoying each other's company.  Afterwards, he gave me a hug and said, "i really enjoy our impromtu movie nights!"

Spending these random movie nights together is romantic.  There is a romantic element to the randomness when we can cuddle on the couch and just enjoy each other's company.  I am starting to realize that romantic moments does not have to be planned elaborately.  It can be as random as stopping and watching a fun movie with your man on a Wednesday night.  Or watching one of his guy shows with him.  It's all about the company during those random moments.  Try sometime this week!

Or have you had any random romantic moments recently?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Dressing Like A Wife.....

31 Go Team Pancakes!
Since becoming a wife, i have decided to dress differently.  Not that i was inappropriately before.  But i have decided to put myself together more properly when going places like church and other outings like family celebrations.  Dressing like a girlfriend and a wife should be different, i think.  There should be a level of sophistication that comes with dressing like a wife. 

Kate Middleton, i think is a great example of dressing like a wife.  I know, i know, she has to dress a certain way because she is being scrutinized by the public.  And she has attendants to help her make decisions about her outfits and her hair (which always looks flawless) however she carries it off so well.  She is able to put pieces together that are both classic, sophisticated and just plain lovely!  Additionally, she dresses for her age and manages to keep things sexy!

(Her weight since becoming a wife is a completely different story.  She has lost so much weight and it doesn't look as healthy as before but i do like the clothes).

Here are a few of my inspirations from Kate. The hats are not my thing but the dresses are fabulous!
 We had our weddings a week apart so i feel we are kindered spirits. 

Kate's Ravishing Royal Tour Looks: June 30
She looks like a powerful attorney in this outfit!
Kate's Ravishing Royal Tour Looks: June 30Kate's Ravishing Royal Tour Looks: July 2
Kate's Ravishing Royal Tour Looks: July 3
Love This Dress!
Kate's Ravishing Royal Tour Looks: July 8
I have a dress from Limited similar in colour and style!
Kate's Ravishing Royal Tour Looks: July 5Kate's Ravishing Royal Tour Looks: July 7Kate's Ravishing Royal Tour Looks: July 10

Love the scarf and jacket, so Euro!

kate middleton
And the lovely white coat!
 Is there a wife out there that you enjoy their clothes and style?
It could be anyone...including yourself!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

LongLazySunday: 3-months Married!

11 Go Team Pancakes!
This has been a fantastic weekend because it was Team Pancakes' three month anniversary on Saturday.  Three months ago i married my best friend.  We basically did nothing on the morning of our anniversary aside from breakfast and relaxing.  Exactly how we like to enjoy our longlazy days!  There are not many of those because Mr. Pancakes usually works on Saturdays by i lucked out!  

We went out for dinner at the restaurant where our reception was held.  It was my idea.  And it was fun to sit and talk and reminisce about our married life so far! The waiter asked "what are you celebrating tonight?" and of course i said, "our three months anniversary."  He gave me a look like "oh that's cute."  I think he believed it was like "three years."  But the way i look at it, every month we are married is special and we are going to continue to celebrate every single one until the end!

Mr. Pancakes invited his father over for a fight night on HBO which is always fun.  I am a sports fan and enjoy watching boxing but geez it can get bloody.  This last one was not as bad.  And it was over in five rounds which is short in the boxing world.  That did not make for an exciting fight for the men! Oh well, clearly i was not invested!

We went to visit our church grandmother, who at 95years old continues to be as feisty as ever.  She continues to be alert and sassy which is refreshing because at the age, everyone thinks you are old and senile.  She has her health issues but you would never hear her complain about any of them.  She is always in the best mood each time we visit with her and we live blessed for being in her presence.  She has family that lives close by but do not visit regularly which is so sad.  The nursing homes are some of the most depressing places i have ever been in because many of the people there are ill and all alone.   The staff are not the most friendliest people!  It's become part of our Sundays to visit our "granny!" It's definitely time that we all look forward to.

Hope all my fellow blogger friends had a good weekend!
Here's how i stayed cool most of the weekend!

America's Got Talent: Silhouettes

5 Go Team Pancakes!

Not sure who watches America Got Talent however there is this amazing dance troupe from the Denver area that i love.  I would so go to see them in concert.  The dance troupe is called: The Silhouettes and they are fantastic!  I think i voted for them for thirty minutes last voting day:-) First time voting ever in tv land anyway!

The young dancers, ages 9 to 18, hail from  A Rocky Mountain School of Dance and Performing Arts in Arvada, Colorado.

I have never seen anything like it.  The dance instructor/creator (Lynn Waggoner Patton) is so creative,
 it boggles the mind!
I love creative people!

Have you seen the show?
Do you like this group?
Have you ever voted for a contestant on tv?

Friday, July 22, 2011

On This Hot Friday...

13 Go Team Pancakes!
On this hot friday afternoon, (it's over 100degrees in my neck of the woods) i am:

Drinking lots of cold water in my new Camelbak water bottle.
 I own three, pink and green!

Product Image

Eating lots of fruits including plums and strawberries!
Love the red fruits!

I'm Craving a Mcdonald's fruit smoothie which is actually really good. 
We've already tried the mango and the berries.
I know i could make it myself but it's only $1!
McCafé Strawberry Banana Real Fruit Smoothie

Hope you are keeping cool with something you can enjoy!
Happy Cool Friday blogger friends!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Book Club

14 Go Team Pancakes!

I am excited! As if i just joined a secret club.  I remember when i was in grade school, my friends and i had a secret girls club.  I was the president and we had meetings during recess time.  I can't really remember what the purpose of our club was but i am sure it had something to do with gossip, fashion and tv shows.  It was one of the best clubs i have ever been part of.  Aside from being part of the blogger club.  Blogging really is like a private girls (with the occassional male blogger) club only we speak about more grown-up stuff like gossip, fashion and tv shows love, marriage and babies.  
Why am i talking about clubs anyway?
I was recently asked to be part of a reading club which reminded me of my girls club during elementary school.  I have always loved to read.  And the idea of discussing a book with a group of other readers excites me.  More than anything, what excites me is the social gathering that will occur because of the books we read.  The ladies have read books and then watched the movie.  They had done dinners based meals on something from the book.  

I once watched the Jane Austen Book Club and loved how reading books was able to connect a group of women in such strong ways.  The book club goes beyond the book and relationships are built.  The social gathering is exciting for me and takes me back to being part of that girls club in elementary school.

The book we are reading for August is The Help by Kathryn Stockett.  I know it's an old book, an OPRAH pick and because of the movie, it's everywhere, but i am excited to read it.  And so far it is an interesting read.  I will share more when i am done and attend my first club meeting. 

Maybe i can become the president of our book club:-)

How about you, are you part of the book club?
What books are you reading?
What fun things have you done because of your book club?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Establishing Roots

22 Go Team Pancakes!
Even before Mr. Pancakes and i got married, we had talked about establishing roots.  You see over the past several years, i have moved too many times to count.  And since Mr. Pancakes and i moved in together and got married, we have moved three times. 

Now that we are married (and healthy:-), i am hopeful we will establish roots somewhere soon.  (i am starting to hate the kitchen in our studio--it's functional but so small).  The somewhere is the challenge.  We would like to make a move and settle in the next several years after our plan of being debt free, saving money and just being ready financially and emotionally.

Plus Dave Ramsey suggests being married for at least one year before knowing how far to live from your in-laws:-)

The somewhere could be the East or the South.  I feel as if currently we are in transition because we love living out East however we really want to establish roots somewhere in the South.

I do not know much about the South  except that the standard of living is cheaper and we could live in a nice big house with a large yard (and afford it)! 

Has anyone moved from the East to the South. 
What was your transition experience like?
Any suggestions and or ideas about where Team Pancakes should settle?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

LongLazySunday: Weekend Wrap-Up!

7 Go Team Pancakes!
Thank you for all the great comments about my thyroid experience.
  It is definitely a testimony of what God is willing to do if you place all your trust and faith in him!

My Weekend Wrap-Up:

1)  My girls and i (we refer to ourselves as the Woldpack) did a little shopping therapy
2) Purchased the cutest dress (i've been eyeing for almost three months) for over 70% off (more info in another post)
3) Went to visit my church grandmother (who is 95yrs young and quick as a whip)
4) Cooked dinner (i will share more info later)
5) Attended church
6) Tried to stay cool
7) Does anyone care that JLo and her hubby are getting a divorce?
8) Congrats to Harry Potter fans--your movie is like #1 (and there will probably be another movie!)
9) I love my husband (just because...)!

Hope your sunday was longlazy and wonderful too!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Good Cancer: The Happy Beginning

29 Go Team Pancakes!
My surgery was scheduled for 6.3.2011, a little over a month after Mr. Pancakes and i were married.  The entire time leading up to the surgery, i was anxious. I was anxious for the surgery to be completed so Mr. Pancakes and i can really live our lives as newlyweds.  The anticipation for the surgery date was ridiculous.

Night before surgery, Mr. Pancakes and I hung out at the house with my family just relaxing and taking it easy.  We did take a break to pray with our pastor, which was so helpful.  I cried but it was more out of relief that the surgery date was approaching and i knew that everything was going to be ok.

Day of surgery, we arrived at the hospital too early for me.  But nonetheless, we got there, checked in, got into the oh so ever beautiful hospital gown under my bathroom and waited for my name to be called.  I prayed in the bathroom with my mom (over the phone) and i felt comforted before the surgery.  Mr. Pancakes gave me a big hug and kiss.  After this, i was called into the back room, met briefly with a nurse, completed last minute check-ins.  As i was meeting with the nurse, Dr. W (my surgeon) came in, marked me and assured me "everything will be fine."

I met with the anesthesiologiest, who asked brief questions about any allergies?  I said no.  As i waited, i was given a clothe to cover my legs to keep warm.  There was a lady sitting across from me and i smiled at her.  With my eyes i wished her "well" during her surgery.  The nurse came to get me into the surgery room. 
I noticed the machines and contraptions but i think i was definitely overwhelmed with the situation.  This was after all, the first time i was having surgery (of any kind).

The nurse helped me on the bed.  The anesthesiologist came to myself.  The nurse advised me to relax.  I felt the anesthesiologist prick me with a needle.  And i was itchy all over my body especially around my belly button region.  I remember the nurse asking "are you ok?" Dr. W telling someone his car got a ticket--i know--fortunately i didn't have time to panic about my surgeon making such casual conversation before such an important surgery because i was out in a flash.

When i came to, the nurse was asking me if i can hear her.  I was a little woozy so i couldn't respond but i think i felt ok.  The surgeon came by and said "the surgery went well, everything looks good."  I was glad to hear this.  I was then wheeled into my hospital room.  I remember the nurse saying "do you recognize this lady?" then i heard Mr. Pancakes say, "yes."

When i came to in the hospital room, my neck was bandaged, i had a tube to drain some blood from my neck to measure my calcium levels.  Due to where the thyroid is located, it impacts on calcium development. 
I was also put on IV.  I was in the hospital for two days because they wanted to make sure that all the levels in my body was normal including calcium. 

During the first two days, i was in pain and took several Tylenol 3s.  It was difficult to move my head, eat, talk, go to the bathroom and sleep.  However, i was feeling great.  Dr. W and my Endocrinologist  came to visit me.  Both assured me everything looked good.  On 6.5.11, i was allowed to go home. 

For the next three weeks, i rested and had several calcium levels checked.  I was able to talk and eat without any issues.  It was still difficult to sleep due to my neck hurting but i managed.  Overall, everyday was better than the last.   I have been taking my synthroid medication every morning at 6:30am (breakfast follows several hours later) and so far, everything has been going well.

Almost a month later, i received the pathology tests and it confirmed that i had thyroid cancer.  However, since it was so small and had not spread, i didn't require radioiodione therapy.   I would need to attend follow-ups every three months for a year.  Continue to take my syn-thyroid medication everyday.  This was such great news, i felt fantastic and again i felt completely blessed!

I returned to work almost a month after my surgery.  Mr. Pancakes and i decided i should take the time off to rest and just heal.  My neck was not hurting as much.  The scar would take a while to heal completely but thanks to my complexion, you can hardly tell unless you are staring real hard!

Since i have to live without my thyroid and be on hormone replacement therapy for the rest of my life, it is not really the end of my story.  But the beginning.  A happy beginning.  A life without cancerous cells running around my throat and or possibly body.  Everyday, i feel much stronger and better.  I cannot wait to work out again:-) I decided to take it real easy.

In the end, the good thing about thyroid cancer (in my experience) was that God was good to me. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Good Cancer: Fear vs. Faith?

7 Go Team Pancakes!
One of the challenging periods during this storm in my life has been my faith in God versus the emotional side of being human, aka: fear!  Although i trusted that God will get me out of this storm too, i couldn't help but to have fears along the way.  Thank goodness for Mr. Pancakes for reminding on a daily basis to believe that God has already healed me.  The best thing he advised me was to "cry, be angry at the cancer but not to be scared and lose my faith in God's power".  

My first initial fear was of course, "i am going to die" until i found out more information about the treatment pathways. 
 My second fear was of course that Mr. Pancakes was going to have to deal with an unhealthy wife for the rest of our lives.  He deserved to be happy.  But then i learned he loved me unconditionally and as a team, we would concur anything including the thyroid cancer and live our lives.  
The third fear (possibly could have been first or second) was that i was going to have this horrible scar on my neck.  Vain is a powerful thing even when there is the thought that you may die. 
 The last fear which slowly became bigger than myself were the physical symptoms i was suddenly experiencing.  My voice was the most impacted.

Dr. W informed me that my surgery would have to be imminent due to where the thyroid was located in connection to my trachea and larynx.


There was a chance in surgery that the removal of your thyroid may affect your voice box.
It's amazing once you find out you have something wrong with you, you begin to believe you have all the symptoms.  Or perhaps, you begin to notice the symptoms more.

One of the symptoms was if i talked for an extended amount of time, my throat would hurt.  I figured it was something about the growing lump in my throat.  Therefore, when Dr. W mentioned the possibility of my voice box being affected, i became paranoid. One morning as i was driving to work, i parked and cried and cried at the possibility of something happening to my voice.

Thank goodness for Christian radio stations playing the right songs at the right time.  Of course, Mr. Pancakes was there to pull me away from the edge of despair and no faith! I cried and cried and in the end, my faith was stronger than my fears.

I remember telling Mr. Pancakes to make sure i could speak post surgery.  After surgery, my voice was fine.  I could speak without any concerns.  I had a voice that could thank God for his blessings on my life, yet again.  My scar was not as bad as i had feared.  Mr. Pancakes loved me and all my pre and post comments about my thyroid.  Now we joke about me not having a thyroid (and cancer).  

I didn't die.  I survive.  Faith in the mighty power of God (and what he is capable of) is so much stronger than any fear that you may have (and that's my testimony).

In the question of fear vs. faith....i chose FAITH!

To be continued...the happy beginning.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Good Cancer: Treatment Pathway

12 Go Team Pancakes!
The treatment for thyroid cancer usually consists of surgical removal of the thyroid gland (thyroidectomy),  radioiodine remnant ablation and long term monitoring. I will explain these in details.

A delicate procedure because the thyroid gland is surrounded by many blood vessels and nerves.  Thyroidectomies are done in a hospital operating room under a general anesthetic.  the surgeon may remove all or part of the thyroid gland depending on the size of the tumor and whether it is suspected that the cancer has spread to other parts of the thyroid gland.

Following surgery, you surgeon or endocrinologist will usually prescribe thyroid hormone replacement therapy.  This will replace the hormone your thyroid gland was producing prior to its removal.  Without thyroid hormone replacement therapy, you will become hypothyroid.  Many people who become hypothyroid cannot function normally in their day-to-day routine.

Remnant Ablation
In addition to a thyroidectomy, some patients may benefit from an additional treatment called radio-iodine remnant ablation.  Radio-iodine may be used to destroy any remaining thyroid issues that the surgeon was not able to removing during the thyroidectomy.  Thyroid remnant ablations is not recommended fro all patients; whether it is will depend upon risk factors such as tumor size and tumor staging.

Thyroid remnant ablation is performed by giving you a dose of radiation in the form of capsule or liquid.  This radiation, called radiation iodine, targets and destroys any remaining thyroid cells that may be present in the body.  These cells may be normal thyroid cells, cancerous thyroid cells, or both.  This procedure is usually done several weeks after the thyroidectomy.

Thyroid Hormone Replacement Therapy
After your treatment has been completed, you will be placed on thyroid hormone replacement therapy.  Thyroid hormone replacement therapy consists of taking thyroxine which replaces one of the hormones that your thryoid gland would have produced naturally.  This is important because thyroid hormone has a role to play in regulating your metabolism.

My Treatment Pathway
Mr. Pancakes and i  debated whether to remove the complete or partial thyroid.  I wanted the cancerous cells out of my body and didn't care whether that meant i would lose my thyroid and be on medication for the rest  of my life.  Mr. Pancakes believed i did not need to remove my complete thyroid if the cancer cells were only on a small section of my thyroid.  I prayed.  He prayed.  We both prayed.

And when i finally spoke with my new ENT (ear nose throat) specialist, Dr. W, he recommended that i have a total thyroidectomy.  The main reason was that if he removes half of my thyroid, then radio-iodine therapy may not be effective (if needed post-surgery), i would still need to be on hormone replacement and i would merely have an appendage hanging in my throat without a purpose.  Psychologically it might make me feel better however medically and physically, there would not be useful.

For some reason, after these conversations with God, Mr. Pancakes and Dr. W, i felt a sense of peace i haven't never felt before.  I knew that the right decision was for me to have a total thyroidectomy and be on hormone replacement therapy for the rest of my life.  And amazingly enough, i was completely comfortable with this decision.

To be continued...fear vs. faith!

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Good Cancer: Causes and Types of Thyroid Cancer

8 Go Team Pancakes!

The causes of thyroid cancer are many. 

Radiation--People exposed to high levels of radiation are much more likely than others to develop papillary or follicular thyroid cancer. (i received an xray during a dental appointment once!)

Family history--Medullary thyroid cancer can be caused by a change, or alteration, in a gene called RET. The altered RET gene can be passed from parent to child. Nearly everyone with the altered RET gene will develop medullary thyroid cancer. (no one in my family has this...thank goodness!)
Being female--In the United States, women are two to three times more likely than men to develop thyroid cancer (i am a female)

Age--Most patients with thyroid cancer are more than 40 years old. People with anaplastic thyroid cancer are usually more than 65 years old. (i am in my 30s)

Race--In the United States, white people are more likely than African Americans to be diagnosed with thyroid cancer.( i am African-Canadian)

Not enough iodine in the diet--The thyroid needs iodine to make thyroid hormone. In the United States, iodine is added to salt to protect people from thyroid problems. Thyroid cancer seems to be less common in the United States than in countries where iodine is not part of the diet. (i love salt in my meals--im African!)

I didn't focus too much on the causes because honestly you can do everything possible to make yourself healthy.  However cancer truly does not discriminate.  It will find you if that's part of your life's journey. 

There are four types of thyroid cancers (thyca).  Heretofore, we will refer to thyroid cancer as thyca because of course every illness out there has some sexiness to it:-)

Papillary and follicular cancers are referred to as "well differentiated" and are the most common types.  Together, they account for about 90% of all thyca.  The good thing is that these prognosis or long term outlook, for patients is excellent.  With regular checkups and long-term monitoring, the 20-year survival rate is nearly 93%.

Medullary and anaplastic thyroid cancers are much less common and are usually more difficult to treat, although great strides have been made in the treatment of all thycas.

The prognosis for any given thyroid cancer patient depends on several factors, including the type of thyroid cancer, whether the disease has spread to others parts of the body, and the patient's age at diagnosis.  Early and aggressive treatment as well as commitment to long-term monitoring is essential to achieve the best outcome.

And after my first and second fine needle aspirations biopsy (Mr. Pancakes insisted i get a second opinion just to be on the safe side) which came back suspicious for (guess away): papillary cancer.

If i had to have cancer, i guess i am glad it was of the thyroid.  And if i had to have a type, then i am glad it was papillary.  It didn't take away from the fact that i was scared out of my mind.  But in the midst of my storm, God was definitely looking out.

To be continued...treatment pathways

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Good Cancer: What Does the Thyroid Do Anyway?

10 Go Team Pancakes!
Before i went in for the biopsy, i really did not know the function of my thyroid.  I remember Oprah mentioning it in an episode.  Therefore, i knew the thyroid had something to do with weight gain.  But the purpose of the thyroid is more than that.

The purpose of your thyroid gland is to produce store, and release thyroid hormones into your bloodstream.  These hormones into your bloodstream.  These hormones, called T3 and T4, affect almost every cell in your body and help control your metabolism.  Thyroid cells take up circulating iodine from the blood to create T3 and T4, which are then released into the bloodstream and carried to organs in the body, including the liver, kidneys, muscles, heart and brain.  

Therefore, the thyroid gland is an important function of the body.  And when i received the diagnosis for thyroid cancer, i felt that my thyroid had given up on me.  I felt betrayed in a lot of ways.  The different parts of my body were supposed to work together for my health and wellness.  And i felt that with the diagnosis, this wasn't happening.  

Initially, i hated that God had allowed this to happen to me.  His child.  I had several pity parties in the beginning.  I would cry and cry.  And feel sorry for myself.  Mr. Pancakes would hold me during these moments.  He prayed with me.  He prayed over me.  He was and is such a rock during this difficult time.  

I always prayed to marry a man that was God-fearing and during this storm in our lives, i knew why i wanted such a man.  When i told him about the diagnosis (i found out just before our second pre-marital counselling appointment with our pastor), he did not panic.  He gave me a hug, kiss and told me that "you are going to be okay! everything is going to be okay."  And i truly believed him.

Therefore, when i was weak, Mr. Pancakes was strong for me.  When i wanted to hate God, he reminded me of God's purpose and his promises in our lives.  When i did not have faith, he had plenty for us!

Mr. Pancakes became God's strength here on Earth for me during this storm.  And even before we said our "i do's", he was loving me the way God loves us: unconditionally and without measure!  

To be continued...which thyroid cancer is it anyway?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Good Cancer: The Beginning

27 Go Team Pancakes!
Thank you everyone for your well wishes.  By the grace of God, I am doing great. I didn't really want to talk about this because (in the beginning) it was too emotionally draining.  But I have been through treatment and everything is going amazing.  I thought it was important to share this part of my life with everyone in the hopes of helping others.  Another PSA (public service announcement) to all my blogger buddies.

Even saying the word cancer is scary to me.  However the reason i am entitling these entries The Good Cancer is because apparently if you are going to get any form of cancer, thyroid is the good one because it is usually treatable.

The beginning was when i went for a routine annual physical in November 2010.  My regular doctor was on maternity leave so i was seen by a new physician.  I liked her immediately because we were talking about weddings and how exciting married life is.  She had recently completed her wedding.  We had completed all regular check ups and she was checking around my neck.  After all, doctors do that all the time.  I had been to the doctors for a cold several months earlier and she checked my neck and said nothing.

But this physician (for whatever reason) checked my neck and noticed that "there was a nodule"on my thyroid.  Nodule is another word for lump.  She assured me that everyone has "nodules" on their thyroid and that "it is probably benign."  Of course i remembered the word "benign" from some course in school and was hopeful that the nodule is benign.  The physician suggested that i should get an ultrasound just to make sure that everything is fine.  And off i went (still in wedding planning mode) for the ultrasound.

I went in for my first  ultrasound ever.  For some reason, I thought that my first ultrasound would be when i was pregnant with Baby Pancakes.  Nevertheless, i went in for the ultrasound.  Several days later, i received a call from my doctor who informed me that "the nodule/lump looked suspicious" and she would like for me to see a ENT (Ear Nose Throat Specialist) for a FNA (Fine Needle Aspiration) Biopsy. I know all these acronyms!

The FNA Biopsy is the most effective way to determine whether the nodule is indeed cancerous.  I remember asking my physician if i could wait for the appointment because i had so wedding related things to take care of.  I spoke with Mr. Pancakes and of course he said i should go and get the FNAB completed.

So off i went and completed the biopsy.  At the appointment, Dr. B, who i found to be a little too rough and not very engaging, placed a fine needle into my thyroid and extracted cells from my thyroid.  It felt like ten thousand little needles sucking stuff out of my neck, it hurt so bad! But i knew it was definitely needed for me to know the truth.  

I went home thinking that everything is going to be fine.  It was the end of January 2011 and i had a wedding to plan for April 23rd, 2011.  I mean why would i think that i have cancerous lumps in my thyroid?  
A few weeks ago, i didn't even really know where my thyroid was and here I was about to find out whether i had cancer or not.

To be Continued...what's the use of a thyroid anyway?

Monday, July 4, 2011

Man or Woman..

12 Go Team Pancakes!
Since i have nothing substaintial to speak of...i thought i would write about something random!
I was watching Drop Dead Diva the other day on Lifetime and this question came to mind.  
Is this individual a man or woman?

Happy 4th of July my fellow blogger peeps!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

To Blade,Thread, Wax or to Tweeze!

17 Go Team Pancakes!
Hope everyone enjoys their Canada's Day and 4th of July with their friends and families.

I went to get my eyebrows cleaned up.  I've never been a lady to go and get groomed on a regular basis.  I go and then maintain at home.  Since I'm now married, i no longer represent myself but my husband too.  Therefore, I give a little extra effort in my grooming so that Team Pancakes can look well at home and in the community:-)

But this episode (of TATP--refer to my blog title) is not about me looking good for my Man Panackes.
 This episode deals with making choices when it comes to the maintenance of our eyebrows.  I never really groomed my eyebrows until late in my twenties when it dawned on me that perhaps i should.  And i did.

My first experience with eyebrow grooming was an African method using the "blade."  You use an instrument like the one above and very carefuly and gingerly shave along the hair of the eyebrow.  This works when you have someone who knows what they are doing.  Since the blade is so sharp, the specialist has to be knowledgeable.  The "blade" is effective however it lasts for maybe one week.

My second experience was threading.  This hair removal method is of the Eastern world (India).  My first time threading, ladies, i cried like a baby! The lady couldn't finish and she asked me to return when i could handle it.  Honestly, she did.  Needless to say I haven't been back to threading until recently.  And it wasn't as bad because (i think) i didn't have a lot of eyebrow hair.  The lady shaped it so beautifully, i actually had "an arch"!  And the arch lasted several weeks.
My third experience was waxing.  This wasn't bad after the first initial shock of your skin peeling off with the wax.  Waxing is always easier when it's for a touch-up because then there isn't much hair.  But man it hurts when there is a lot of hair!  Thank goodness, my eyebrow is fine and thin so it's a little easier.

My experience with tweezing has always been part of the complete eyebrow grooming.  That guessed it...hurt like a mama! However over the years, it has become much easier to deal with.  I use tweezing to clean up in between eyebrow maintenance.  Pluck, pluck anyone.  Now I cannot live without my tweezer.  I need it like a fat kid needs cake (i stole line that from a song;-)!
This episode of Team Pancakes was to help me reflect on my eyebrow experiences over the years.  I am still developing my eyebrow grooming and hope to have an arch that is long and luscious like...

Aishwarya Rai--Bollywood Actress
A girl can dream! 
In the meantime, I continue to use all the methods, blade, thread, wax or tweeze to grow and make my eyebrows healthier.  I do perfer a combination of waxing and tweezing.  However when I'm home (in Canada) with my sister (Blade Specialist) i will use the blade.  Special occassions (because i want that special touch) i will use threading. 

My newlywed eyebrows currently look something like this.  I believe Mr. Pancakes is pleased. And i look presentable when i am out in public.

Ladies, what are you doing to maintain your eyebrows? 
Which method works best for you?