Mark’s Visit with the Surgeon

The outpouring of support these last several days has really meant a lot to us.

This afternoon we met with Mark’s surgeon.  The appointment went really well!   The surgeon is open to waiting until after our bike trip to do surgery!!! We’re both over the moon about it.

Mark will get one additional scan (hopefully next week) that will give us a bit more information, and we will get a second opinion (probably at UCSF) before we make a final decision.  And if we decide to go on our trip, he’ll likely get another scan in Europe midway through our trip.

Postponing surgery is definitely going off the reservation, but the surgeon is willing to go there with us.  In fact, when women are diagnosed with thyroid cancer while pregnant, standard procedure is to wait until after childbirth to do the surgery – with no statistical difference in long-term outcomes.

The surgeon also offered a second out-of-the-box treatment option to consider (lobectomy vs. thyroidectomy).  Again, it’s not playing strictly by the rule book, but because he appreciates our concerns about over-treatment, he is willing to consider less aggressive treatment options.  If Mark opts for more conservative treatment and over time it looks like this approach isn’t working, then we can always switch gears and get aggressive.  So, we’re really happy with our surgeon!

Assuming the second scan and the second opinion reinforce our current understanding of Mark’s diagnosis, the next question is whether or not Mark can live with the risk of not treating immediately.  Because so many cases of this type of cancer turn out to be indolent, Mark said that at the moment he’s more concerned about the risk factors associated with thyroid removal than he is with living with the cancer for a few extra months.  Besides, having a couple of additional scans will only help the surgeon make final surgery decisions when the time comes to actually operate.

Next steps are to schedule the second scan and the UCSF appointment.

Again, thank you all for your good thoughts.  Keep them coming!

P.S.  Please note that the less aggressive treatment option that the surgeon mentioned is a “lobectomy” not a “lobotomy.”  While we sometimes think that a lobotomy might not be amiss, it wouldn’t really address the thyroid cancer. 🙂


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