Our story of this courageous 27-year old continues as Dimaris learns about her test results from surgery. The battle is almost won as she continues fighting and surviving. This is her journey with thyroid cancer.
Racing thoughts went through Dimaris’ mind as she drove the 45 minutes to the Smilow cancer center to receive her surgical pathology results. On edge already she could only think why did a surgery that was supposed to be an hour and a half long last for 3 hours? The drive that felt like an eternity finally came to an end, she parked her car and entered the facility expecting the unexpected.
Her results were in. It was obvious she was positive for having cancer. But what she didn’t expect was how far and fast the cancer spread within her thyroid. A total number of 15 lymph nodes were removed during surgery, sent to the pathology lab, and tested for staging, resulting in stage one cancer. They were also tested for a gene called BRAF Mutation. Positive results of BRAF Mutation indicates the cancer, as being aggressive and fast growing in which she was also positive for. For a few seconds, it felt like time stood still and the words of the doctor reading the results echoed in her ears over and over and over again. She felt numb, stunned, and scared. It took all but that one split second to just want to break down and cry. But she was relentless. She wanted to live and be there for her son. So what was next in her preparation to fight again, radiation.
Here’s a really quick and general overview on the function of thyroid cells. Thyroid cells soak up iodine from the foods that we eat and convert it into thyroid hormones. These hormones regulate the body’s metabolic, heart, digestive function, muscle control, brain development, mood, and bone maintenance.
Radiation is used mixed with iodine to attract the residual thyroid cells that are left from surgery. The residual cells soak up the iodine with the radiation killing them off. Before treatment could occur Dimaris had to be on a low iodine diet for one week before starting radiation to starve the cells. It was a grueling process for her, but it had to be done. Caffeine withdrawals, irritability, frustration was everyday while on this diet. It wasn’t until the hallelujah moment came when she completed her one week and radiation took place.
Another week, but this time without her son in isolation. She was blessed to have the loving support from her family, friends, and boyfriend to give out a helping hand with the care of her son. Her boyfriend opened his home to her so she was able to rest comfortably. Face timing and silly faces from her son kept her spirits high and distracted her from missing him so much. She got through this part of her journey like a champ. Despite the challenges and setbacks she always put her best face forward with her middle finger in the air saying F U cancer.
Here is a list of some foods to AVOID and what you CAN eat while on a low iodine diet. It sucks…
- dairy products—cheese, cream, yogurt, butter, ice cream
- egg yolks, whole yolks, and food containing whole eggs
- seafood, shellfish, seaweed, kelp
- milk chocolate
- cured and corned foods—ham, corn beef, sauerkraut
- bread products that contain iodate dough conditioners
- supplements that contain iodine
What you CAN eat
- egg whites
- vegetable oil
- unsalted nuts
- unsalted peanut and almond butter
- fresh fruit cooked or raw form
- iodine free spices
- fresh veggies cooked or raw form
- unprocessed meats including beef, pork, or poultry