Book Review, FREE books

Free Book!

Hi all,

I have a series of 3 books written about my journey through diagnosis and various treatments for Stage 4 papillary thyroid cancer.  The first book in the series, Thyroid Cancer for Beginners’, will be FREE from tomorrow 17th October to 21st October.

Here is a 5 star review that the paperback version has on Amazon.com

https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/RG9HCX4FS39FM/

This is an easy-to-read book that gives patients diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer a quick read on a British woman’s experience grappling with the disease. Glenda Shepherd, the author, received the shocking diagnosis when she was in her late forties. I appreciated Ms. Shepherd’s honesty–her ability to share many personal details and the feelings she was experiencing– and got a kick out of her British way of expressing herself. I think this would be a wonderful book on tape with the author reading the book with her beautiful British accent. I loved looking at the photographs and enjoyed the author’s explanation that she looked for a dress that covered her scar on her neck. I hope Ms. Shepherd will write a sequel. I particularly identified with much of what she wrote, especially the painfulness of waiting for test results and the fear of dying that is part of the experience of being a cancer patient. Bravo for Ms. Shepherd for writing about her cancer journey in a poignant, yet humorous way. I am grateful that books like Thyroid Cancer for Beginners exists for people like me to read.

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Blog, Thyroid Cancer Books

‘Relapse!’ is now published.

Yesterday I published the third book in my series of thyroid cancer books.  ‘Relapse’ tells of two recurrences of papillary thyroid cancer I suffered in November 2014 and January 2017, and of the treatments I had to undergo.   You can find more details on my Amazon author page, the link is given below.

Relapse cover

https://www.amazon.com/Glenda-Shepherd/e/B00491GHRG/

Am I now in remission?  You’ll have to read the book to find out!  Here’s a little snippet from Chapter 1:

‘Relapse!’ by Glenda Shepherd, copyright 2017.  All rights reserved.

I suppose I had become rather blasé about the whole thyroid cancer thing.  Whilst waiting to see the oncologist in her NHS clinic in early October 2014, I sat patiently reading my Kindle and waiting for my name to be called.  All my previous check-up appointments since December 2007 had been fine, and almost seven years down the line I had no doubts at all that this latest follow up would be exactly the same.

The clinic was running over an hour late.  There were 70 patients on the list to be seen, and I was one of them.  After five years of follow ups, my insurance company had informed me that they would not be paying for any more check-ups, and so it was to the large NHS thyroid clinic at Addenbrooke’s Hospital that I had driven that morning, which was about 50 miles from my home in Suffolk.

As I sat there wondering when it would be my turn, I looked around at some of the other patients and felt relief that I had finally shaken the disease free some time ago.  I saw the lines of worry on the faces, and did not envy them the surgery, radiation, and possibly more surgery that they would have to endure to get to the stage where I was now at.

At last the nurse called my name and ushered me to another waiting area just outside the consultant’s office.  I smiled at her as I sat down and picked up my Kindle again.  However, the wait was brief this time, and about an hour and a half after my appointment time I was finally called in.

Usually the oncologist would inform me that my latest MRI was fine almost before I had sat down. This time I noticed a nurse was present.  The oncologist did not mention the results of the MRI at all, and instead asked me about how much thyroxine I was taking, and whether I had good energy levels.  A little warning bell started up in my brain, and I asked her for the results of the MRI scan.  She replied that she would ‘get to that in a minute’.

As soon as I heard those words I knew something was wrong.  My heart sank and I quickly looked over at the thyroid cancer nurse, whose expression was inscrutable.  I sighed, put on a brave face, and waited impatiently to hear my fate.

Blog, thyroid cancer

We Wait…

I don’t know what it’s like for other cancer sufferers, but for me with thyroid cancer the condition entails a lot of waiting.  On May 10th I finished the last of 30 external beam radiotherapy treatments to my neck, and I won’t find out if they have killed the cancer until I have an ultrasound scan on August 29th!  Apparently the radiotherapy continues working for 3 months after the last treatment.  I’ve exhausted further radiotherapy and surgery, and if the treatment hasn’t worked, then all I have left are Sorafenib tablets which could halt progression, but have many unpleasant side-effects.

However, I’m not putting my life on hold.  Having got over the worst of the radiotherapy side-effects I’ve decided to go back to work as a medical secretary to cover holidays and sickness.  Today I went back to the hospital where I worked for 13 years to sign up as a bank secretary and receive the mandatory fire training.  I took early retirement 3 years ago as I had next to no voice left after a right neck dissection, and although the voice is still weak, I’ve dropped a grade and so I do not have to answer the phone.

It seemed strange walking around the hospital corridors again where I spent so many years walking up and down pushing trollies full of clinical notes.  It will be good to get back to some semblance of ‘normal’ again.

I wait on the edge of my seat for the results on August 29th…

 

Book Review, Thyroid Cancer Books

5 Star Review for my Book ‘Living With Thyroid Cancer’

I thought I’d share a 5 star review I received from reader Andy McCloone for my book ‘Living With Thyroid Cancer’, which was posted earlier this year.

“This book was really informative re thyroid cancer.  I have this condition and presently going for my 2nd RAI treatment.  I read the book that Glenda wrote for beginners too. This is the 2nd time that I have picked this book up; the 1st time prior to my two ops, and again before treatment.  It gives me informed facts plus the unselfish sharing of herself…experiences, feelings, thoughts etc, and allows valuable identification of the thyroid journey.  Many thanks.”

You can find the review on my Amazon book page:

Re-blogs, thyroid cancer

Re-blogged from Nuclear-News

Seven more young Fukushima Prefecture residents have been diagnosed with thyroid cancer, according to a prefectural government statement on Monday. All of the patients were 18 or younger at the time of the 2011 nuclear reactor meltdown. This bumps the number of Fukushima residents diagnosed with thyroid cancer up to 152. Although many times higher than the national average, […]

via Thyroid Cancer Plagues Fukushima Evacuees, But Officials Deny Radiation to Blame — nuclear-news

Blog, thyroid cancer

Still Surviving

I’ve been absent for some time as I’ve recently undergone 30 radiotherapy sessions for a recurrence of my thyroid cancer.  There was a small nodule found in my neck after a scan in January, and instead of surgery this time, it was suggested that the radiotherapy treatments could be most beneficial for a local recurrence.

Every weekday for 6 weeks I attended the Oncology Department at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in order to be blasted by the tomography machine.  The worst part was having to be immobilised by wearing a ‘shell’ over my face inside the tomography machine  for at least 15 – 20 minutes each day, which was very claustrophobic.   The radiation made me very fatigued and nauseated, and I haven’t felt like doing much.

Four weeks on and I’m slowly recovering.  My taste buds have been massacred, and the only foods that taste like they should are salty foods, which I don’t usually eat.  I’ve lost 10 pounds in weight, and am having much difficulty putting it back on.  However, the pain I was starting to get in my left knee has gone with the weight loss, so it wasn’t altogether a bad experience!

I’ve been writing about the whole event in my new book ‘Relapse!’, which I’ll publish later in the year once I have the results from this treatment.  I have to wait until my throat has healed inside and everything has settled down before I can have another scan to see if the radiotherapy has worked.  My throat is still a bit sore, but the red inflamed skin on the outside has healed very well.

I’m still surviving!  One good thing to aid my healing and recovery was being able to buy a holiday home on the Isle of Wight after receiving an inheritance.  I look forward to many short breaks and holidays with my husband on the Island I love.

 

thyroid cancer

Side-effects from Thyroid Cancer Treatment

I have shared the article below today, which is taken from the website http://www.doctorslounge.com

“Younger survivors of thyroid cancer are at increased risk for certain types of health problems later in life, according to a study presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s Cancer Survivorship Symposium.

Brenna Blackburn, M.P.H., a graduate research assistant at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, and colleagues tracked data from 3,706 thyroid cancer survivors in Utah diagnosed between 1997 and 2012. The researchers compared those patients’ long-term health to that of 15,587 people who did not have thyroid cancer.

The researchers found that thyroid cancer survivors diagnosed before the age of 40 were five times more likely to develop peri-, endo-, or myocarditis, and more than twice as likely to develop heart valve disorders, compared to people in the other group. Patients diagnosed with thyroid cancer when young were also more than seven times more likely to develop osteoporosis, and more likely to have hypertension and cardiac dysrhythmias. Patients diagnosed when over 40 were 46 percent more likely to develop hypertension and more than twice as likely to develop osteoporosis than people who’d never had thyroid cancer.

As the number of thyroid cancer survivors grows, more people are living with other serious health conditions resulting from treatment,” Blackburn said in an American Society of Clinical Oncology news release. “It’s important to understand these long-term risks so that we can not only help manage their health, but also inform how oncologists care for these patients from the onset of diagnosis.”


I can attest to the part relating to osteoporosis.  At the moment I have osteopenia, a forerunner of osteoporosis, due to originally having to be over-medicated on thyroxine for 5+ years following my thyroidectomy (as per clinical guidelines at the time).  I have a bone scan every 2 years, and have had a bisphosphonate infusion to try and counteract the decline in bone density.  Everything is holding steady at the moment and my thyroxine dose has been reduced to what it was originally, but I have intermittent pain in my lower back and a kind of grating sometimes.

I was given calcium supplements a few years back, but last year was advised not to take them anymore, as they can cause heart problems!  You can’t win, can you?

Do you know anybody who is suffering side-effects due to treatment for thyroid cancer? If so, what kind of side-effects are they?