Friday, December 3, 2010

Thyroids, mold, moving and lumps.

Sadly, this holiday season Tattooedgeek and I will not be at this years Bust Magazine's Holiday Craftacular.  The Bust Craftacular is by far my most favorite vending event of the holiday season, unfortunately we didn't apply this year.  Actually we won't be vending at any holiday events this year at all. 

As I mentioned in previous posts the last few months have been a little rough on our family and subsequently  Tattooedgeek.  Several simultaneous events brought our whole world to a complete halt.  Most importantly; after being sick for a large part of the summer Michael (Mr. Tattooedgeek) was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Secondly, our landlord put the house that we were renting on the market without informing us.  We found out on a Tuesday morning in July when a team of Realtors showed up at our door at 9:00 am demanding a walk through.  The next 6 weeks were a literal whirled wind of doctor appointments and Realtors. At one point Michael was seeing 7 different doctors. The exact day Michael was diagnosed with thyroid cancer we were informed that our house had a buyer and the buyer had scheduled an inspection for the following weekend. 

The house our family had lived in for almost 2 years drastically failed it's inspection.  The buyer quickly backed out of the sale.  Afterward the inspector came to Michael and I and asked if any of our family were ill.  We told him what Mike was going through.  The inspector said that the house had a serious mold infestation in the basement and the air quality was seriously compromised because of it.  He insisted that everything, even the thyroid cancer, was a direct result of poor indoor air quality in the home.  He strongly suggested that we have an air quality test preformed.  We did and the results were off the charts.  While an average home has about 500-1000 airborne mold spores at any given time, our basement had a whopping 36,000!  Mike's office/studio had 9,600 and our bedroom had 5,700.   We forwarded copies of the air quality report to all of Michael's doctors. None of the doctors would confirm that the mold caused Michael to become sick but every single one of them said to move A.S.A.P.  So we did.

Whether or not mold spores and poor indoor air quality were the cause of the thyroid cancer we're still not certain.  On October 11, 2010 Mike had a complete Thyroidectomy and 19 lymph nodes removed from his throat.  What started out as a small lump in late July had quadrupled by October.  The right lobe of the thyroid had been completely replaced with a malignant tumor.  10 of the 19 lymph nodes removed had also turned malignant.  The second week of December Michael will have radiation  treatments   We'll find out after the radiation treatments how successful the surgery was.  Thankfully NO tattoos were harmed during the thyroidectomy and Mike handled the surgery amazingly.  He was already making faces and joking about going home in the recovery room.

Moving 7 people 3 cats and a Great Dane is no small task.  Fortunately we found a place that allowed the animals while keeping the kids in the same schools fairly quickly.  We started to move 2 days before Mike's surgery.  Unfortunately the place is less then half the size of our last home and now half of our stuff is in storage.  The actual move itself was a completely different traumatic experience that I'll save for another day.  "Didn't you know about the mold?" is the question most people ask us.  No, we truly  didn't. The largest source of the mold was in the basement behind a closed door in a room we didn't have access to.  Living in the house we didn't notice any moldy odors.  After we moved though we noticed that everything we owned smelled like mold.  What couldn't be washed was thrown out.

With Mike's surgery complete and our family moved into a nice mold free home I thought the only thing left to do was settle in and set up my work space.  However within days of moving into the new place I started to notice the base of my neck was feeling somewhat different.  A routine sonogram for a pre existing condition  confirmed that my thyroid had grown a little.  The growth was very little and my Endocrinologist wasn't concerned.  But then earlier this week I felt like maybe there was somewhat of a lump forming at the base of my neck.  A sonogram this Tuesday confirmed that there is indeed a new small little lump (nodule) on the right side of my thyroid that was not present just a few weeks ago.  What that means I don't know.  I am seeing a new, highly recommended Endocrinologist in a few weeks. Hopefully she'll have some answers for us.  So far all we've been hearing is that the odds of two people in one family experiencing significant thyroid growth at the same time are none.  But yet here we are,  both of us with thyroid growths at the same time.

The purpose of this blog post was to explain why we didn't apply to this years Craftacular.  Some of you have been kind enough to ask.   Even though we won't be there this year  many of our favorite shops and good friends will be.  A list of New York vendors can be found here:   Be sure to stop by the RockLove, Pulp Sushi and My Zoetrope booths! 


  1. Oh my, I don't even know where to start with this. I'm so, so sorry that you & your family are going through all of this and it makes me so mad that the place you were renting did this to you! I hope that 2011 brings nothing but goodness your way. I'll be on the lookout for updates. Lots of hugs!

  2. I am so sorry! That is terrible to have to go through all of that all at once. I hope Mike's surgery and radiation are working and I hope that your health issue turns out to be benign. Sending lots of well-wishes and positive vibes your way.

  3. i'm not one to comment, only a silent "lurker". this may not mean much coming from someone you do not know, and i only know second hand from a friend the stubborn and damaging effects of mold infestation, but i wish your husband a speedy recovery and your results favorable!

  4. Thank you so much Kerry. Even though I knew most of this already, this post was still difficult to read because I can't believe everything you guys have endured. You guys continue to be in my thoughts.

  5. I'm really hoping everything gets cracking in the healthy direction right away, so both you and your hubby can get healthy and back to normal as soon as possible! At least you are now living in a healthier home! All the best.

  6. Caiming, Thank you so much for your comment and understanding. You have no idea how much we appreciate it. Please don't silently "lurk" comment, comment, comment! I love to get as much input and perspective as possible.

    Pili, thank you, much love to you!

    Marilyn, well you know we love you already! thank you.

    Hope everyone has a healthy and happy new year!