New Mom and now I have Cancer????

I got married September 2012, gave birth to a beautiful 5 month old girl named Ava in August 2013. The day after Christmas I was diagnosed with Thyroid Cancer......

I am not afraid of the surgery (although not looking forward to it), but I have no idea how to make it through recovery and RAI with my beautiful girl wondering why Mommy isn't able to cuddle. Everyone keeps telling me that she won't remember and it is only a few weeks, but they arn't the ones that can't hold their baby. My Husband, family and friends are wonderful and they are so supportive, BUT it still is heart wrenching thinking about having to stay away from my little one.

Anyone else gone through this with small children? Have any tips or positive thoughts? I know I can do it and I am ready to kick this cancer's butt!!!!!!

Thank You!!!!!

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32 replies. Join the discussion

I did just have my thyroid removed. But when my baby was 9 months old I had a surgery that I couldn't pick him up for 6 weeks. Which meant he stayed at my moms a lot cause I couldn't be alone with him. He is 3 now. She won't remember. And just think it won't be 6 weeks) good luck

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I did just have my thyroid removed. But when my baby was 9 months old I had a surgery that I couldn't pick him up for 6 weeks. Which meant he stayed at my moms a lot cause I couldn't be alone with him. He is 3 now. She won't remember. And just think it won't be 6 weeks) good luck

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I am brand new to this site and am quickly finding out how much that I don't know. I had my surgery the day before Thanksgiving but didn't know I had cancer until a week later. I don't have children but I have a completely disabled husband that I am not sure how to care for if I need radiation. Are you sure you will have it? Because my understanding is that after I have the scan I am getting ready for THEN we will know if I need it or not. I am pretty worried about that part also.

As far as the surgery goes, I'd been waiting months to have it and was very glad to be having my thyroid out because I had hyperthyroidism and the anti thyroid meds were really abusing my body. To be honest I had no fear, but I also had no idea there would be any cancer. I think that would make it a lot harder to face. It was the unknown that bothered me. There was no way to know if I'd be there overnight or not, or if I'd have a voice, or how bad I'd feel....all question marks. As it turned out, the throat didn't hurt that badly. I have fibromyalgia so my shoulders hurt more and for longer from being pulled back for the 4.5 hours of surgery. I was up and around and doing most everything the next day. The only issue was no lifting and no bending. When I bent down it pulled on my neck. I was pretty pleased with how it all went until the follow up.

I used to care for many children and I can tell you that your attitude about it will influence how she does. If you take the attitude that she will be having some special time with daddy and that you are doing this to be there for her for many years to come, she will pick up on that. If it's being away from her a few days or not being there to see her grow to be an adult, those few days won't seem so bad. My 50th birthday is coming this week while I am on the limited diet before my scan. I don't care about getting old because each birthday you have is another year you've lived. I think if you look at the big picture and think of it that way you will be doing this FOR her sake. Good luck!

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I have a one year old and had my thyroid out in December. I haven't decided on RAI or not yet -- still have to talk to more docs and weigh options, but the impact on the baby is a very big concern for me. I feel for you, because I think I would feel even worse if she were younger. The problem is you really can't explain your absence to a baby. (No offense intended to rzzycat.) I had a really terrible endo who I am trying to replace and he said, "well, even if you're away for 2 weeks, that's less time than you would send a kid to sleep away camp." But no one would send a baby to sleep away camp! A child that age needs her mother. And I know if I disappear for 2 weeks my baby will think I'm gone forever. I'm sure she won't remember later on, but it doesn't make it any less terrible to live through.

That said, sometimes you have to do what you have to do. So I'm trying to figure out if I have to do it. How far along was your cancer, prattk1? Do you have to do RAI? Can you delay a little?

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You may not need RAI. Mine was small and encapsulated, so I do not need RAI. Although my nodule that had cancer was over 4 cm, only 6 mm of it was cancer, so you really will not know the size and extent of the cancer until the pathology comes back from your surgery. Wishing you the best. (Hugs)

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I didn't mean that a baby logically understands, just that if you have an attitude of "if I do this now, I will be there for her later" and that she is spending some special time with daddy, instead of being upset and tense, then she gets a better vibe. I've known a few people who go on vacations & cruises without little babies (not a choice I'd make) and they were fine when they came back. I am sure as a concerned mother you will make the best arrangements possible for her to be extremely well taken care of in your absence. The big picture is that you want to see her grow up and the little picture is a short period of time away from her in order to do that. I know it will be hard, no doubt, but if you want to kick cancer's butt, it's something you've got to do. I am worrying quite a bit about what I am going to do with my husband, then telling myself not to jump ahead, I didn't have the scan yet, maybe I won't even need it.

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Thanks Everyone :) The Dr. is expecting that I will have to undergo RAI, however it is possible that after surgery we find out it is not necessary. The FNA was positive for papillary carcinoma (2cm nodule), but there is a slight chance it was a false positive. Either way I would rather expect and plan for the treatment and then find out it is not necessary. It may also be an option to postpone if it is recommended, but it may be easier to do it before the little bit decides she wants to crawl :)

I agree that my attitude and outlook will directly impact how my daughter handles it, I'm just trying to get to a place where I can take on that positive stance. I will definately do what I need to do now so I can see her go to school and get married and have children of her own. I can't bare to be away from her for an evening out, let alone 10 to 14 days. BUT.....thank you for mentioning the "daddy time." I think as new moms we naturally take on a very protective role and it may be good for Daddy to have some time to figure out his own way.

Thank you RachelRG for mentioning the point about a baby needing her Momma! That is exactly how I have been feeling and just didn't know how to put it into words. I know daddy, grandma and aunties will care for her just fine, but nobody will love her like me.

I am very thankful to have found this site to talk about concerns and fears and to get some information on what to expect. I appreciate all of your comments :)

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When I was diagnosed, the thought of having to be away from my small children was the worst part for me. I totally get it. I got lucky, and just found out last Friday that I won't need RAI, for now. Thank goodness. But, looking back, I did have to rely on my husband and my sister to help with childcare because of the surgery and recovery. The worry I had about that beforehand was much worse than the actual experience. They had everything handled.

Stepping away . . . with my second, my husband helped out alot more because I had the older one to care for, too. The bond my second has with my husband because of this is much, much stronger then the bond my first has with him. If I were to do it all over again, I would have let my husband do more of the feeding and cuddling with my first, so they could have that strong bond, too. Not that thyroid cancer is in any way good, but it may be that this bonding time with dad will mean a lifetime of a beautiful relationship between your baby and her daddy.

Big hugs.

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Bonding time with Daddy is definitely the positive. I would try and work more cuddles in with him now, so he's a source of comfort for her too when you are in for surgery and maybe gone for RAI. Have you read The Baby Book by Dr. Sears? He has a chapter in there on how daddies can nurture little ones in special ways. (With actual tips, like positions babies like, so they will be comforted by daddy too. One is cuddling the baby into the crook of daddy's neck.) And rzzzycat, definitely agree the most important part is making sure mom is here in the long-term.

I'm not your doc, and I'm still making this decision myself, but with a 2cm tumor (if there's no spread and maybe even if there is), not everyone would recommend RAI for you at this point. So even if your doctor recommends it, make sure you do your homework (and maybe get a second opinion) to figure out if it is the right option for you.

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So sorry that you had to join us, a warm welcome to you!! First off let me commend you on giving birth to a 5 month old ;-D I thought going over due 5 weeks was a rarity!! (My middle child. 9# 4oz) I apologize. My attempt at humor can be pretty much a groan sometimes.

Please know that here is THE BEST place you can be , if you need to ask questions, vent, cry, rejoice,

Tell us your story. You found out you had cancer the day after Christmas... what led you to that point? Have you had tests? Surgery?
Sounds like you are facing RAI. when does that happen?

See if you could set up a time to skype with your baby. It will only be a short time. Welcome again. Hugs. I am signing off as I keep falling asleep between works and waking up to :): b :) inning b bunny :) vBulletin BB bbhj
Terese in Michigan aka Swoozie64

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My Story:
I absolutely loved my daughers pediatrician (really an internist that specializes in peds) and so my husband and I asked her if we could join our daughter and have her as our primary. She agreed since my daughter was already a patient and I set up my "New Patient Appt." At that appointment we went over ALL medical history and it casually came up when she got to examining my neck that I have had an enlarged thyroid since childhood. She mentioned that she wanted to get an ultrasound (i had NEVER had one) of my thyroid just to get a baseline for changes that we may see in the big deal. Side Note: My previous Doctors new it was enlarged, but never mentioned anything about getting a baseline, I didn't even know that was something they did.

I got the ultrasound and the day before Thanksgiving she calls me and says that I have 3 large nodules and the radiologist reccomended biopsy to rule out anything concerning.....again, no biggy. I went to the Biopsy and was reassured that only 5% of these things are cancerous and mine were fairly small and didn't look concerning. Biopsy was uncomfortable, but not tolerable.

Then I get the call the day after Christmas.........

It was really a blessing that I found out when I did, I hadn't had any symptoms or difficulties so it could have been years before I noticed anything was a problem. As of right now my Dr. is expecting that I will go through RAI, however that may change when the results come back from surgery.

Skyping is a wonderful ideal!!!!! I didn't even think of that :)

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My daughter was 4 months old when I had the surgery (she's 6 1/2 years old now :) ,and she was 6 months old when I had RAI , and had to be isolated from her for at least 7 days after, then not hold her for 3 more days after that.

I won't kid was heart-wrenching, and with my ill health, i didn't feel like I really got to enjoy to the fullest her first year of life.

But, she's a miracle (we lost 2 before her) ,and I now only have to see the endocrinologist once a year. I take nothing for granted, appreciate every good thing, esp. her. It wasn't easy....I know that my being away from her affected her----at the time (but she doesn't remember any of it, of course, and she's perfectly well-adjusted) was very hard on my husband, too, though we had the help of his mom through it all, and my sister.......
I agree with the other posters who mentioned attitude, and how children pick up on it....I was very determined not to be anxious around her, and I wasn't, nor around my husband (at least at first.....I did show some of those feelings can be very scary to contemplate your own mortality when you've just had a baby!)

You will get to the other side of this scary time, as many others on this site have.....just hold on to that----this too, shall pass.

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Prattk 1 ,
Sounds like you have a great Dr. So happy you have your miracle baby. Did you know that having trouble getting pregnant, and miscarriage are symptoms of thyroid problems? All of this unload quite quickly on a person.I had problems years ago but since my "numbers " were ok nothing was done. As time went by and I was asked by several Dr s how long I had a goiter. I would laugh it off not worried. I just had a little extra fat.
My newest Dr convinced me it was my thyroid. And just asked me to keep an eye on it. This past summer most of the things I was told to watch for appeared. Terrible fatigue, choking on food, hoarse voice, enlarged neck, hair falling out . I work in a resort town so I am gone for 5 days in a row, and home 2 . It works. So I had to wait until Oct . To see the Dr. He did all kinds of blood tests. Ordered an US . After seeing the tests results . He told me I had multi nodular goieter and he sent me to a surgeon that did a FNA. On the right side of my thyroid has 18 very small nodules. The left had 2 large, several small, and one on the middle. The FNA was horrible for me. The surgeon numbed the area when he was actually pulled out fluid it hurt something fierce. Not a good day. We discussed the different types, and he said we would talk when the results came in.
My next apt was to go over what to do next. The middle noduel was benign the others showed follicular cancer indifferent. Which the Dr described to me that you can't just do a test for follicular cancer, you have to look at a bunch of things. Which that didn't matter a whole lot because the left side had to come out due to the size of the nodels. I begged him to take it all out as it would have to come out in time, he said if he found cancer in the left side, he would go back in and take out the right' . When the pathology report came back it said no cancer in any large nodules! BUT on the back of the thyroid was a 6mm papillary cancer was found. I was sent home and at my check up, the Dr said. All I would have to do is get an ultrasound and a yearly neck check. I was not happy with that .My surgery was December 5 and I have yet to see anyone that will give me any meds so I can feel better. I sleep 17-20 hrs a day because I can't keep my eyes open, super dry mouth,skin,hair ,eyes. The list is long. There are so many things I would like to do. I do have an appt with an endo on January 31.I truly hope that we can work out a way to optimize the hormones. I am happy that I don't need rai. But a little upset that there are all those noduels still left. The surgeon is trying to convince me that it's a slow growing cancer. Most people never have another problem. .. Well I'm not other people. It's CANCER and I want it out. I have learned so much from these pages. And met the best people willing to share, or to just sit and be quiet with me. I pray you find solace here. Ask many questions, think good thoughts.
I thought of Skype because my bosses hubby works away from home and he is only home once a week. They have a 3&4 year old boys. And do face time or Skype. He reads books to them, the boys tell dad about their day etc.
Terese in mi . Hopefully this post makes sense. I fell asleep about a hundred times while typing it. My eyesight is so bad tonight that I can barely make out the letters. I hope that can be fixed with hormones replacement too.

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Well, my oldest was 4 and my youngest was 4 months when I had my surgery and was diagnosed. My FNA came back inconclusive while pregnant - so found out at my surgery. Every story is different - I had a terrible time after surgery with my meds. The first two weeks were okay but after that, my mom was basically taking care of my kids, especially my youngest. I only tell you this because I wish I had known about this site presurgery to see all of the different possibilities of life post surgery as I was told - you will take a little pill and be just fine. Anyway, that sort of got straightened out before RAI two months later - but I definitely had help here. I had RAI and had to be away for 5 days from my kids. It nearly did me in but I did Skype with them every night. I told my kids I had to go to school for work and my mom and husband stayed with my kids. I can totally feel for you and you are entitled to whatever feelings you have and to however your family chooses to deal with it. I cried a lot in front of my kids - I was mad, sad, scared, etc. I think it was okay for my kids to see that cancer or not - mommies have feelings just like anyone else. And yes, the separation was terrible but as other people have stated, it is to get to the other end and be there in the long run. And in the beginning, I dwelled on that a lot - will I be here for graduations, weddings, etc etc but then life just takes over and that slowly gets pushed to the back of your mind. And I have mommy guilt like most of us do and think that my youngest isn't bonded to me as much as my first and of course blame that time in my life - but I try not to dwell on those kind of thoughts. I was just grateful they had people who loved them to take care of them when I couldn't. I wish you the very best of luck and if you need anything or want to talk privately, I am happy to. Big hugs.

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I was just diagnosed with thyroid cancer after Christmas too. I'm a Mom of 4 - a 9 year old, a 5 year old, a 3 year old, and a 9 month old. It is very upsetting to think about being away from them for any length of time, but I know that I will do WHATEVER it takes to get rid of this cancer so that I can be there for them in the future. It does break my heart to think of how they are all going to feel about me having to be in the hospital, in isolation, etc. Especially my 9 month old, she won't have a clue where I'm at. I know exactly how you feel. :( Are you nursing? I still am but I've read I will need to stop prior to RAI. I don't want to jump ahead of myself though, as I haven't had my TT yet.

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I had my 2nd child in June, was Dx with ptc in July, had TT in sept and rai in November. My baby is now 6 months old and I have a 2 year old!! My kids went away for two nights when I had my surgery. I felt good the day after the neck was just sore but still cuddled them. When u had rai they were gone for 3 nights with my husband, left Friday and by Monday am I was good to be around them just not to have them climbing on me. I took 100 mci of rai which I think is a low dose. If u have family that can help that's great, it saved me. U can do this and I know it will be hard to stay away from your baby girl but remember u r doing this for her! It will come and go!! Good luck

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The whole RAI, LID and isolation sucks period. More for some. Less for some. But we have to ask ourselves, what is the alternative? For myself, I didn't want to go through life wondering should I have done that. I sucked it up, complained the whole way, (God bless my family and friends) and got through it somehow. Prayers and thoughts to all of you!!! GOD BLESS!!!

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My son was seven months old when I had my TT. I opted to decline RAI (still undecided) for many reasons- risk of secondary cancers, inability to breastfeed, isolation from baby with zero family nearby. The TT I had wasn't that bad- maybe a week or two before I felt pretty normal again. It was a quick recovery for me and it was a TT with a bilateral modified radical neck dissection. Good luck. It's incredibly hard dealing with cancer in general, but when you add a baby in the mix it gets even more difficult and challenging.

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How stressful for you! I can't imagine dealing with a diagnosis and having a brand new baby. I'd recommend seriously questioning the RAI -- do your research, and grill the doctors. Best wishes.

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hippiemama14, how big was your tumor(s)? and did you have spread? I'm actively debating turning down RAI currently, so would love to hear more about your situation.

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