It’s Back.

Unfortunately, it looks like my thyroid cancer is back. I was looking forward to the 6 year anniversary of my total thyroidectomy at the end of January. Now, I am facing dealing with thyroid cancer again.

My oncologist retired in December. The doctor that took on her patients did not want to keep me on, as he does not treat thyroid cancer. I spent a couple of months looking for a new doctor. I found an endocrinologist in another town not too far away. I wasn’t totally thrilled with him, but thought he’d be fine for bi-annual check ups. I saw him for the first time in September. Not long afterwards, I got a letter in the mail saying he was quitting with no future plans. He saw me one last time to make sure I had a prescription for my Levoxyl and referred me to an endocrinologist in Columbia.

The reason I was seeing an oncologist instead of an endocrinologist was because I had a horrible experience with one of the few endocrinologists here. He told me that nothing was wrong with me, I needed to stay off the internet, I needed to be on antidepressants, and there was nothing he could do for me. I was his patient for 2 1/2 years (I was hypothyroid for years before the cancer diagnosis) and during that time he never once physically examined my neck and only ran blood tests for TSH. Imagine my dismay when I found out I had been referred to his office. I didn’t respond to his office’s request to schedule a consultation for a couple of weeks. I started looking for a doctor in Charleston or Rock Hill. It would be hard to make a 2 hour trek for appointments, but I would make it work if I had to. After thinking about it for a while, I decided to call the local office and ask for another doctor. I told the woman on the phone I could absolutely not be the one guy’s patient again and asked her to pair me with the doctor in the office that was best for a thyroid cancer survivor. Without hesitation, she recommended a female doctor in the office. She just so happened to have an availability the next day. I went in with low expectations and a positive attitude. The new doctor is awesome!

During the consultation, she said everything I had hoped she would say. She could not understand why I was not getting yearly sonograms since my thyroglobulin number have never been under 5. I have antibodies from having Hashimoto’s so it complicates the reliance of thryoglobulin as a tumor marker. She gave me information on natural desiccated thyroid medication, scheduled me for a sonogram at the end of June (her first availability), and sent me to the in-office lab. She called me a week later with the blood test results. She was concerned with my thyroglobulin level of 7 and wanted me to come in Friday morning at 7:30 AM for a sonogram.

I went in on Friday for the sonogram. With in a few minutes, she had found 2 nodules in my neck. One was just below my thyroid bed. She explained that it looked like it could be a fluid-filled cyst. Another nodule, deep in my neck tissue on the right side appeared to be hard and she was concerned. It measured 1.1 cm. The nodules are not in the lymph nodes. I had a total thyroidectomy and radioactive iodine ablation. Those nodules should not be there. She tells me that I will need a biopsy and then we can decide on an action plan – more radiation, surgery, or a wait-and-see approach. Surgery might not be an option because of the size and location of the nodule. She would have another endocrinologist in the office do the biopsy. His first availability is Friday, February 21st. So, I’m scheduled for a biopsy. Now I wait. I do not want to do this again. I cried all the way to work.

Luckily, I am busy and don’t have much time to dwell. I kind of know what to expect and I am not scared for my life. Still, this sucks. Hard.

No Whole Body Scan This Year!


I do not have to have a whole body scan this year! I’m pretty stoked. No low iodine diet, no Thyrogen shots, no radioactive iodine, no visits to the Nuclear Medicine department at the hospital, no anxiety-filled time in the scan tube, no waiting for results, and no having to pay for a new scan (still paying off last year’s). Yay!!

Tamarind Chutney (LID)

IMG_3129 (640x480)

Tamarind Chutney is a delicious sweet and sour Indian condiment. I especially like it with samosas. There is a good chance you can find a prepared tamarind chutney that is LID-safe at the grocery store in the ethnic aisle. Buy it. That would be so much easier. : )

If you just like to cook and want to try something different, give this recipe a try. It is worth the effort. The tamarind chutney keeps well. Store it in the fridge for up to 3 months. After you are done with LID, Tamarind Chutney is a nice accompaniment to a cheese tray.

Tamarind comes in many forms. Sometimes  you can find the dry pods in Mexican or Indian markets. I have also seen tamarind concentrate. I get “wet” tamarind (from Thailand) at the Asian market. It comes in a solid block. It’s sticky and full of seeds and pod pieces. I use about 1/4 of the package for this recipe (a little over 4 ounces). I cut up the tamarind block so more surface area can be exposed to the hot water.

Wet Tamarind

Tamarind Chutney

4 ounces of wet tamarind, cut into pieces
1 1/2 cups hot water
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)
pinch of salt

In a bowl, soak the tamarind in the hot water for 15 minutes. Using a spoon or your hands, break up the tamarind and work as much of the pulp off the seeds and pods as possible. It doesn’t look pretty.

IMG_3082 (640x480)

Pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer set over another bowl or measuring cup Work the tamarind through the strainer with a spoon or spatula.

Tamarind Sieve

Discard the seeds and pods left in the strainer. You will have about 1 cup of a somewhat thick tamarind liquid.

In a saucepan, combine the tamarind liquid, sugar, spices, and 1/2 cup of water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Simmer gently for 10 to 15 minutes, or until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. The chutney will still be fairly thin, but will thicken slightly when it cools.

IMG_3141 (640x480)

Cilantro Chutney (LID)


This is an excellent Indian condiment that can be used while on a low iodine diet. It would be perfect as sauce for Trader Joe’s Vegetable Samosas. It is also good as a sauce for grilled chicken.


This chutney is versatile too.  You can toss it with hot pasta (or with cold pasta and veggies for a pasta salad) or use it instead of tomato sauce for a pizza topping. You can usse it as a condiment for sandwiches or wraps. It is also wonderful as a marinade for chicken or pork tenderloin. I like making cilantro chutney the day before I want to serve it so that the flavors have time to meld and intensify.

Cilantro Chutney

1 bunch cilantro, washed and dried, most of the bottom stems removed
1 or 2 small green chiles, stems removed, seeded, and cut into chunks
juice of one lemon (or lime)
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 pinch of black pepper
non-iodized salt to taste (not more than 1/2 teaspoon)

Put all the ingredients into a food processor or blender and puree into a paste. Add water, a teaspoon at a time until you get the consistency you want (not too thick, not too thin).

A Note About Salt


I use Morton’s Coarse Kosher Salt when I am on LID. In general, kosher salt does not contain iodine. I have assumed that most people know what kosher salt is, but I may have been wrong to do so.

A recent commenter on this blog expressed concern that I use kosher salt on LID and list it as an ingredient in my recipes. He was concerned that kosher salt could contain sea salt or iodized salt. Sea salt and iodized salt can be certified as kosher, but they are not safe for LID. I have never seen sea salt or iodized salt that has been certified as kosher labeled as “kosher salt”. That doesn’t mean it can’t happen. ALWAYS READ LABELS.

On a low iodine diet, you can not have sea salt or iodized salt, even if it is certified kosher. You can’t have Himalayan rock salt, gray salt (sel gris), bay salt, solar salt, fleur de sel, bamboo salt, smoked sea salt, black salt, or iodized table salt. Avoid fancy, gourmet salts, just to be safe.

You can have non-iodized (table) salt, and non-iodized kosher salt.

Here’s the deal, you can not eliminate salt completely from your diet while you are on LID. It is very dangerous to do so. Your body needs salt and if it doesn’t get it, you could die. Do not eliminate salt from your diet. 

I am in the process of changing all my LID recipes on this blog to list “non-iodized salt” as an ingredient instead of “kosher salt”.  I don’t want someone to have a non-productive LID because I assume everyone knows what kosher salt is.

Buffalo Cauliflower (LID)

LID Buffalo Cauliflower

When I’m not on LID I make this recipe with butter, but it’s just was good with the Earth Balance Soy Free Spread. Frank’s and Texas Pete hot sauces are both LID-safe (of course, always check ingredient list, as ingredients can change). Alternatively, you can use the Buffalo sauce on baked chicken wings (just make sure that the chicken wings have not been injected with a salt solution….ask the butcher).

Buffalo Cauliflower

1 head cauliflower, wash and dried, separated into florets
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup water
pinch of non-iodized salt (I use Morton’s Coarse Kosher Salt)
1 tablespoon oil

1/4 cup Frank’s Red Hot Originial Cayenne Pepper Sauce (Texas Pete is also LID-safe)
2 tablespoons Earth Balance Soy Free Spread, melted
pinch of non-iodized salt

Preheat the oven to 450° F. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and set aside.

Combine the flour, water, and non-iodized salt in a large bowl. Add the cauliflower florets and mix to coat. Using tongs, place the battered cauliflower on the prepared baking sheet. Throw out any left-over batter. Bake at 450° F for 20 minutes or until the batter becomes crispy and golden. I flip the cauliflower halfway so that it browns evenly.

Meanwhile, combine melted Earth Balance Soy Free Spread, Frank’s hot sauce, and non-iodized salt in a large bowl. When the cauliflower is done baking, add it to the sauce and toss to coat. Serve immediately.

Overnight Oats (LID)

Towards the end of this round of the low iodine diet, I used the last of the So Delicious Coconut Creamer and Trader Joe’s Coconut Creamer to make Overnight Oats. I was really happy with the way they turned out. Creamy and filling, but without an overwhelming coconut flavor. I kept mine fairly simple, only added shredded coconut and pecans.  You can customize you overnight oats however you want them. The sky is the limit. You can also make them ahead of time and keep them in the fridge for up to a week. I would suggest adding the fresh fruit right before eating.

Overnight Oats (LID)

1/2 cup rolled (old-fashioned) oats
LID-safe milk or creamer substitute
sweetener of choice, to taste
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Combine the oats, dairy substitute, sweetener, and vanilla in a Mason jar. You can include your add-ins now or wait until you are ready to eat your oats. Stir to combine. Place the lid on the Mason jar and store in the refrigerator for up to a week.

.Nuts and Seeds
-sliced almonds
-sunflower seeds
-chia seeds
-pumpkin seeds
-sesame seeds
-flax seeds

.Dried Fruit


Fresh Fruit
-berries (strawberries,blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, etc…)
-pumpkin puree

Other Add-Ins
-peanut butter
-cocoa powder

-dairy free chocolate chips (or break up a dark chocolate bar0

Scan Results are In!


My oncologist’s office called. My scans were clear!! Everything looked good! I don’t have to go back to my oncologist until August. I am so relieved!

Crockpot Pepperoncini Pot Roast (LID)

Crockpot Pepperoncini Pot Roast

This is a super easy and delicious recipe. I love the little kick the pepperoncinis provide. I based this recipe on the Mississippi Pot Roast recipe that’s everywhere. That recipe calls for butter, ranch dressing mix, and a package of au jus or gravy mix, none which are LID-friendly. I do not use those ingredients even when I am not on LID. The pot roast turns out so flavorful, I don’t think you will miss any of those ingredients.

Vlasic does not use iodized salt in their products, so Vlasic brand pepperoncinis are perfect for this recipe.

You can eat the Crockpot Pepperoncini Pot Roast over mashed potatoes, as a sandwich filling, or in a flour tortilla. I made a burrito with the pot roast, pinto beans, and barbecue sauce in a flour tortilla.

Crockpot Pepperoncini Pot Roast (LID)

1 2-3 pound beef pot roast (chuck roast, mock tender roast, brisket are all good for pot roast)
non-iodized salt (I use Morton’s Kosher Salt)
black pepper
1/2 16-ounce jar of whole pepperoncinis with pickling liquid

Place beef in the bottom of the crockpot. Season with non-iodized salt and pepper. Pour 1/2 a jar of whole pepperoncinis and their liquid over the beef. Cook on low 8 hours or on high 4 hours until very tender. Use a fork to shred the beef and keep in the cooking liquid until ready to eat.

LID Round 3, Day 17

My whole body scan was this morning. I arrived at the Nuclear Medicine Department at 8:30 am. The first scan was of my neck.  It took about 20 minutes. Afterwards, I went to another room for a 3-D whole body scan. That took about 30 minutes. They didn’t have the 3-D scanner the last time I had a whole body scan in 2015. I was told it gets a better picture. Now I just have to wait for results. They told me if I haven’t heard from my oncologist by Wednesday, to give her a call. I’m looking forward to hearing I am clear. Fingers crossed.

I was able to stop the low iodine diet after the scans. I stopped at a grocery store on the way home and bought a can of Rico’s Nacho Cheese Sauce and a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Everything But…

I can’t even explain why I got the canned cheese. It wasn’t planned. I got home and made ballpark-style nachos and they were delicious! After lunch, I made coffee and put real creamer in it. I am soooo glad to finally be off LID!

What I ate today:

Breakfast:  Leftover spaghetti with Newman’s Own Tomato & Basil Pasta Sauce, Coca-Cola

Lunch and Dinner – officially off the low iodine diet!! Yay!!


Previous Older Entries