March 31st, 2012 by Cherié
“Trouble named Thyroid”
Some of you might have noticed the silence from my twitter feed as well as from my blog. I wrote about my recent struggle with life after a RTW trip with Semester at Sea program earlier. I was slowly getting back into the swing of things, with school and with a semi charmed kind of life back home. But my post SAS depression never quite lifted, I was struggling, truly struggling. I was starting to get concerned, my family and friend started to see a change in my behavior, and told me to get it checked out, and so I did.
“Cherie… there’s a lump in your neck…” my doctor murmured during a routine checkup two months ago. I went in with the notion that I might have Hypothyroidism, a condition where the thyroid gland throws your body/hormones out of balance. Irritability, weight gain, depression, foggy thinking, and lethargy are all signs of hypothyroidism, and I had all of them.
“A lump? Well, I always thought it was a pulled muscle or something…Do you think it’s serious?” I asked my doctor.
“(Sigh…) I can’t be sure, but I need a second opinion” with a hint of concern in her voice.
Was it an enlarged thyroid, was it Benign, or worst of all Cancer.Nervousness settled in, I couldn’t shake the terrible thoughts What if I do have cancer? What would this change? Would it change me? I went through ultrasounds, radioactive testing, and more ultrasounds, until my doctor finally referred me to an Endocrine Surgeon. He was highly recommended; this was his area of expertise and surely I would know the answer to my problem.
I sat down in a small stark white room, with an antique painting of a duck hanging on the walls anxiously waiting to hear back the results of the ultrasound. After what seemed like hours, he finally waltzed in to the room, introduced himself, and said that because of the large size of my left thyroid, it needed to come out regardless, and that he was skipping a biopsy. But one thing was clear I needed surgery right away.
My whole life I have tried to avoid surgeries as much as possible, in fact it was the number one reason why I opted out of Cochlear implants. I opted for a Hearing aid, just to avoid surgery. I don’t do well with this stuff; I get squeamish whenever I get flu shots. My stomach grumbles, my head feels lightheaded and woozy, and I’m almost always one second away from fainting.
SURGERY.. The thought echoed menacingly in my head, my heart skipped a beat, I felt a pit in my stomach, my eyes started to well up. Its been a month and they still can’t figure out what it is? It HAD TO be serious. It just had to be.
February 20throlled around; the day of the surgery had come. I packed my bags for an overnight stay at the hospital, and relished the thought of getting this surgery over with. I wanted it to go quickly as it could, and hurry back home. Once they started prepping me for surgery, my anxiety never quelled, my face became white as a sheet, pale, shaking, and terrified. As they inserted the IV in my arm, the pinch was painful which did nothing to help my nervousness. Luckily soon after they jammed the iv in my veins, they gave me medicine to help calm me down; by the time they rolled me into the bright white operating room I was cool as a cucumber, calm. Finally I thought to myself, the anesthesia started to kick in; within minutes it was lights out As if no time had passed, I woke up from a deep slumber, groggy, and confused as the doctors and nurses mumbled away, I couldn’t quite make out what they were saying. Just like that my surgery was over. It was now time to heal.
I anxiously waited for the results for over a week until I finally heard back. My doctor wanted me to come in to his office, to tell me face to face what the results were. I went over as soon as I could; we went over the usual chit-chat.
“How are you feeling today Cherie?”
“Fine..My neck is feeling a lot better” I told him, to which he nodded in agreement “Yes, the scar is healing up quite nicely”, but his mood changed, he was much more serious now.
“Well, Cherie, I wanted to call you and your family into the office today, because I got the results back”
“Well…What is it?” I quickly added.
“The lab work came back on the Left Thyroid… It is Cancer…”
With one word, it changed everything, my biggest fear came true…Cancer…
( Note: Part two of my ongoing battle with cancer will be posted soon)