ThyCa News Notes – March 2014


5K Run for ThyCa — Thank You!

On the morning of Sunday, March 16, 2014, George Washington University School of Medicine’s chapter of the Arnold Gold Humanism Society hosted a 5K Race and Walk at Rock Creek Park in Washington, D.C., to raise awareness of thyroid cancer.

All registration funds and donations supported ThyCa.  The Arnold Gold Humanism Society chose ThyCa in support of their classmate who was recently diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Anyone can still support this wonderful event. Go to our Rally for Research page for details and to donate.

Our special thanks to the volunteers of the George Washington University School of Medicine’s chapter of the Arnold Gold Humanism Society!

Your awareness and fundraising 5K Race was a lot of fun and really got the word out! 

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ThyCa Inspire Community Grows To Over 10,600 People

Thyroid cancer survivors from teenagers to people over age 90 are taking part in ThyCa’s Inspire Online Support Community. They live in all parts of the world. To find out more, and to join, visit our Support Groups web page.

Online support is an opportunity for people to send messages back and forth with fellow survivors going through their thyroid cancer journeys. It can be especially beneficial for people who either don’t live near a face-to-face support group, or are unable to attend the meetings.

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Support Group Starts 16th Year of Monthly Meetings

Congratulations and thank you to the ThyCa Washington, DC, Support Group, starting its 16th year of monthly meetings this April. This group has met in Silver Spring, Maryland, every month since April 1999.

Gary Bloom started this group, and co-facilitates it with Cal Pierce, Barbara Statas, and Gloria Keller, who will celebrate her 50th anniversary of her thyroid cancer diagnosis in early May 

More than 110 local ThyCa support groups serve communities around the United States and in Australia, Canada, Costa Rica, and Philippines. Find the web pages of all groups on our Local Support Groups page.  

If you are interested in starting a local group, we can help you. Send an e-mail to the ThyCa Support Groups Coordinator at

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Free Mid-Atlantic Thyroid Cancer Workshop To Be Held on April 19

Kenneth D. Burman, M.D., Endocrinologist, ThyCa Medical Advisor, and past president of the American Thyroid Association, headlines the upcoming 13th Mid-Atlantic Thyroid Cancer Workshop, sponsored by ThyCa: Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Association, Inc.

The Mid-Atlantic Workshop will be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Holy Cross Hospital, 1500 Forest Glen Road, Silver Spring, Maryland.

In addition to Dr. Burman, the program features Nishant Agrawal, M.D., Johns Hopkins Associate Professor of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, and Oncology; Kanchan Kulkarni, M.D., co-editor of the second edition of the reference book Thyroid Cancer: A Guide for Patients; and Priya Kundra, M.D.

The program also includes sessions on coping skills and survivor/caregiver support roundtables 

Everyone interested in thyroid cancer is invited to attend for all or part of the day. Walk-in attendees are welcome, or register online in advance. More details will be posted on our Conferences page.  

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Free Midwest Thyroid Cancer Workshop To Be Held on April 26

The 10th Midwest Workshop, sponsored by ThyCa: Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Association, Inc., will take place from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the David C. Pratt Cancer Center (on Mercy Hospital grounds), 607 South New Ballas Road, St. Louis, MO.

The program features Endocrinologist Irini Veronikis, M.D., and Otolaryngolgist Brendan Stack, M.D. The program also includes sessions on coping skills and survivor/caregiver support roundtables 

Everyone interested in thyroid cancer is invited to attend for all or part of the day. Walk-in attendees are welcome, or register online in advance. More details will be posted on our Conferences page.   

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Thyroid Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment in the News

Journal and media articles have recently focused on the rise in thyroid cancer, and the possible reasons for it. JAMA’s Otolaryngology journal, San Francisco Chronicle, Clinical Oncology News, and WNCT9 TV in North Carolina are among the media discussing this topic.

At the recent CancerCare Webcast, Dr. R. Michael Tuttle, ThyCa Medical Advisor, noted that the increase is largely due to detecting small cancers (under 1 inch), though “that’s not the whole story.” There’s also a rise in bigger thyroid cancers. A team approach is used in treatment, which allows doctors to personalize patient care based on each person’s situation.

This is one of many topics you’re invited to discuss with the experts, at the many thyroid cancer events coming this month and this year. Visit our Calendar page for the latest list of educational events. We update the calendar frequently.

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New Planning Guide for Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month

There’s plenty of time to plan your participation in Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month, the worldwide event sponsored by ThyCa each September 

Get the free Planning Guide, downloadable from the top of the Raise Awareness page. It gives steps and tips for lots of possibilities for raising awareness.

You and your organization are invited to partner with us in this important event. Thank you!

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Diana’s Run, Walk, and Crawl for ThyCa

Diana Castro sent a photo, and wrote, “This is my run, walk, crawl 5K pic for the ThyCa virtual run. I did the Gladiator Rock-n-Run today in Pasadena. I literally ran, walked, and crawled.”

Thank you, Diana, for your terrific thyroid cancer awareness effort!



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Here’s How It Starts: From The Opposite of Everything

(Editor’s Note: Here are the first few paragraphs from the new novel titled The Opposite of Everything. A thyroid cancer survivor is the main character. The author is David Kalish, a medullary thyroid cancer survivor of nearly 20 years. This excerpt is reprinted with his permission. David will co-facilitate a roundtable on creating art for coping, at the 17th International Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Conference, October 17-19, 2014, in Denver, Colorado.) 

Here’s how it starts. First, a person has his health. Heart. Relatively easy commute. Decent career. Sense of humor. On occasion, he eats a Big Mac for lunch. Half a pint of Ben & Jerry’s before bed. A general optimism pervades his Brooklyn neighborhood, outdoor cafes vying with baby strollers for sidewalk space. Then one morning he wakes up—and concludes the only way he’ll live another day is to do the opposite of everything that came before. 

Daniel Plotnick woke up.

It was April 1996, shortly before 7 a.m. Squinting into the light, he glanced across the bed sheets at his wife, Judy, and felt a pain in his neck.

An actual lump in his throat.

His groans woke her. She stared at the swelling in his neck and reassured him it should fade on its own. She compared the lump, right near his Adam’s apple, to a pimple inside her nose that goes away. Like a sudden thunderstorm, it should abruptly give way to sunshine. He tried to convince himself she was right. The young couple, after all, was married four months — too soon, presumably, for major hiccups. But the next day, Plotnick’s family physician weighed in against his wife’s rosy assessment. After examining the lump, he advised a battery of tests, and referred him to a higher-level doctor who, in turn, diagnosed Plotnick with the condition that would ultimately send him, and his life, into literal free-fall.

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Author David Kalish Donating Book Proceeds to ThyCa

David Kalish, author of the new novel titled The Opposite of Everything, is generously donating part of his book proceeds to ThyCa during April, during Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month in September, and during the week of the ThyCa Conference in October. Thank you very much, David!

David writes:

Hi Everyone, 

ThyCa: Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Association has helped me through some rough times during my long struggle with Medullary Thyroid Cancer, and now I’d like to give something back. After three neck operations, chemotherapy, and experimental treatment, I’ve written a book, The Opposite of Everything, that’s a comic twist on my journey through cancer, divorce, treatment, and renewal. I believe that laughter is strong medicine, and would love to share my story with you.

As my thank you to this community I’ve arranged to donate one-half of proceeds from my book to ThyCa: Thyroid Cancer Survivors Association ( during special times such as Head and Neck Cancer awareness week (in April), Thyroid Cancer Awareness month (September), and the week of ThyCa’s annual conference in October.

The Opposite of Everything is a humorous, romantic novel about the things that break our hearts — cancer, family difficulties, busted dreams — and the things that sustain us: love and second chances. It’s currently available on and I’d be delighted to see you at one of my book events this spring ( 

I also can’t wait to see my thyroid cancer friends at the annual conference in October, where I’ll be presenting along with Bill McClain on the subject of Art as Therapy.

It’s my pleasure to share this with you.

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Strokes for Hope Scramble

Ready to dust off and swing your golf clubs after a long cold and snowy winter?  

Well, spring is finally here in Pennsylvania, and warmer weather will soon be here as well, as we get out on the golf course. Come support and promote thyroid cancer awareness while shooting a round of golf!

The 2nd Annual Strokes for Hope Scramble is scheduled for Saturday, June 21, 2014 at the Grand View Golf Club in North Braddock, Pennsylvania.  A great day of golf, food and raising Thyroid Cancer Awareness is planned.  Proceeds will benefit ThyCa: Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Association.

Whether or not you can attend, you can support this great event! If you’d like to sign up for the golf scramble, please e-mail and reference “Stroke For Hope Scramble” in the subject line of the e-mail.  Registration and entry fees are due by May 17th.  

Or visit our Rally for Research page, where we have posted more details.

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My Journey with Thyroid Cancer

Part 1, First Steps Toward Diagnosis

By Cara B.

Each September brings Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month. Two years ago, I didn’t know how important this month would become to me. However, when I was diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer, my whole life changed.

I’m sharing my story to help raise awareness of our disease.

It all started in January 2012. I got a strange feeling in my throat while I was driving. I told my mom about it. Several days passed, and the feeling remained. The day before I was supposed to return to college, I told my dad about it. He encouraged me to find an ENT at the college town. 

When I told the ENT what I was experiencing, he felt my neck and told me that the left lobe of my thyroid was enlarged. He told me that I needed an ultrasound, and possibly a biopsy depending on what the ultrasound showed.

I was terrified when I heard biopsy. I immediately thought cancer. I had millions of thoughts running through my head. Why is my thyroid enlarged?  Am I sick?  Do I have cancer?  I can’t have cancer!  I’m only 20! 

The next few days dragged on. When the technician took me into the room, I asked her if I was going to be able to get the results that day. Unfortunately, she said I would have to wait until I went back to my doctor. I guess she saw the stress on my face and offered to see if the radiologist would talk to me after he looked at the images.

After about twenty minutes, the radiologist came and told me that I had a large cyst on the left lobe of my thyroid and a few solid nodules on the right lobe. The cyst was pressing against my esophagus, which was why I was having that weird feeling in my throat. He told me that cysts can usually be drained. As for the nodules on my right lobe, he said that I shouldn’t worry about them since they were small. I left somewhat relieved.

The following week, I returned to the ENT doctor. We agreed on an aspiration of the cyst. He also said he would try to take a sample of the nodules on the right. The doctor ended up draining two vials of fluid. However, he was unable to get a good sample of the nodules.

A few days later, I started to get that weird feeling in my throat again. All I could think was, “Crap.”  The doctor confirmed that my cyst had refilled. He brought in another doctor to look at my neck. They agreed that surgery was my only option since the cyst refilled.

 He began to explain the risks that could occur during a thyroidectomy. He suggested that I only get the left lobe removed, and to have a biopsy of my right lobe.  When I left, my head was spinning. Surgery?!  All I could think was that I didn’t have time for surgery!  I had classes, exams, labs. I was a wreck.

When I told my parents what the doctor said, they both wanted me to get a second opinion. The following week, I went to see an endocrinologist. He viewed my ultrasound photos, felt my neck, and came to the same conclusion.

The surgeon would only remove the right lobe if the pathology results of the left lobe came back problematic. We scheduled my surgery the Monday of my spring break, because I was determined not to miss any classes.

(Editor’s Note: Cara’s full story will appear on Thank you, Cara, for helping to raise awareness. For everyone interested in helping to raise awareness, get free tips and materials, and download the free Planning Guide from the top of ThyCa’s Raise Awareness page. To share your story, send it to

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More Educational Events Coming Soon

Visit our Calendar page for more details.  We update it frequently.

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Low-Iodine Favorites — From Facebook Friends

Here are a few of more than 150 favorites, suggestions, and comments recently posted on our Facebook page.

Guacamole for sure! – Cindy M.

Unsalted potato chips and homemade bread. My husband also made seitan from scratch for some protein since I am vegetarian. – Tracy P.

My husband made me the most fabulous LID blueberry muffins! Satisfied my sweet tooth and carb craving like nothing else. – Tiffany P.

Egg white omelet with veggies – Elzette L.

Fresh salsa with baked matzo chips sprinkled w/ herbs and spices. And of course wine, to forget about how miserable that diet was! – Stephanie T.

Salt-free peanut butter with rice cakes. Pumpkin bread that I modified. Lots of fruit and veggies. – Janet S.P. 

Meatloaf and banana muffins were excellent. Heinz has a no-salt ketchup which was great for the meatloaf – Carey S.M.

I really just lived on fried potatoes because that LID diet was worse than my total thyroidectomy and the third of my left lung removed. I just returned from my one-year check up and all is good and I feel great. – Dan H.

I lived on salt free peanut butter and unsalted matzo for snacks and such. Dinners I cooked as normal avoiding the major foods but used kosher or noniodized salt. Oh we did make some low iodine pancakes with coconut milk that were very, very tasty! – Stephanie R.H.

I referred to the cookbook everyday while on the LID! What a Godsend it was! I love the taco seasoning mix recipe. It tastes soooo much better than the store bought envelope kind. I’ve been on “the diet” twice now and probably again in the Spring! But as I always have to say, I will do what’s necessary to get through this journey! – Marilyn M.S.

Unsalted almond butter on apples. – Nicole B.

The entire cookbook is remarkable! I use it when I’m on the diet … and not! I’ve given it to friends as well. We thyroid cancer survivors are great cooks! – Karen L.

Thank you to everyone for your tips and suggestions. We’ll add new recipes plus more meal and snack tips to the next edition of the cookbook. The cookbook is free and downloadable from our web site in English, Spanish, and French.

To contribute your original recipe, e-mail it to us at

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Over 10,000 … Facebook Likes, That Is!

The power of joining together online, or face-to-face in our support groups, workshops, conferences, and webinars is immeasurable.

To all of you, our friends, fans, followers, volunteers, advisors, supporters…Thank You!

Follow Us on Facebook and Twitter

More Invitations 

  • If you’re not on either Facebook or Twitter, you may join at any time. They are free.
  • If you’re already on Facebook, invite your friends to ThyCa’s page.

Our support of each other — whether giving or receiving — is an incredible gift. Thank you for joining us.

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Invitation: Become a Member

No one should have to face a diagnosis of thyroid cancer alone. Your membership dues will support ThyCa’s efforts to provide our services to survivors and their families around the world. You may join as a 1-year, 2-year, or lifetime member of ThyCa.

Membership is open to anyone interested in thyroid cancer and supporting ThyCa’s efforts. To join, online or by mail, visit our Membership page.

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Every Day

Every day, thousands of people with thyroid cancer, and their families, receive support, education, and hope from ThyCa: Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Association, Inc. Your generous support is what makes it possible to sustain, strengthen, and expand our services and outreach.

It only takes a minute to make a donation online in support of ThyCa’s work (or you are welcome to donate by mail to ThyCa, P.O. Box 964, Chesterfield, MO 63006-0964).

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About ThyCa NEWS NOTES and ThyCa
Copyright (c) 2014 ThyCa: Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Association, Inc.

Please share ThyCa News Notes with your family and friends. For permission to reprint in another electronic or print publication, please contact us at Each complete issue is also published on our Newsletters page. 

Thank you to our writing, editing, and proofreading team for this issue: Cara B., Diana Castro, Tom Engle, Leah Guljord, David Kalish, Pat Paillard, the recipe/tip contributors, Barb Statas,Theresa Wickerham, Cherry Wunderlich, and Gary Bloom,

The information in this newsletter is intended for educational purposes only. It is not intended, nor should it be interpreted, as medical advice or directions of any kind. Readers are advised to consult their own medical doctor(s) for all matters involving their health and medical care.

ThyCa: Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Association, Inc. is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization (tax ID #52-2169434) of thyroid cancer survivors, family members, and health care professionals serving people worldwide and dedicated to education, support, communication, and fundraising for thyroid cancer research.

ThyCa sponsors the annual International Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Conference, as well as Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month, a worldwide observance each September, plus year-round awareness campaigns, research funding, and thyroid cancer research grants.

Contact us for free materials and information. E-mail to call toll-free at 1-877-588-7904, fax 1-630-604-6078, write PO Box 1102, Olney, MD 20830-1102, or visit our website.