I am writing this blog as a way to get my thoughts out there and if anyone is interested in my story, I hope you feel free to read along as well.
I am not a very good writer, nor do I have any clue what to put in a blog post but I’m just going to go with it.
This blog is going to primarily be about my experience with dealing with thyroid cancer. I’ll start this first blog post by simply talking about my journey thus far.
It all began one day early August 2016 when I woke up with a pain in my neck. At the time, I had thought nothing more of it than the fact that I probably just slept on my neck wrong. All throughout work that day, I had this stiff pain in my neck. Kind of like my neck needed to be cracked but wouldn’t. I remember telling my coworkers how I slept on my neck wrong and how badly it was hurting. I came home from work telling my mother the same thing. I thought absolutely nothing of it. I remember later that day while I was driving in my car, I began to feel around my neck to find exactly where the source of pain was coming from. And that, was when I realized there was a swollen lump near the front of my throat on the right side.
Still, I wasn’t very concerned. I thought it was probably just a swollen lymph node that would go away in a few days. Something being wrong with my thyroid hadn’t even occurred to me. I’ve never had thyroid issues, and there isn’t a history of thyroid problems in my family. To be honest, to me, my thyroid was just another organ in my body that I really didn’t have much knowledge on.
Anyway, a few days went by at this point, and the pain in my neck remained. I did not have an established doctor at the time, and I felt really foolish going to urgent care for a pain in my neck. Because of this, I almost didn’t go to the doctors. I knew the pain in my neck would eventually subside, and it didn’t seem like a big deal to me. Despite all of this, I was set up with an appointment at a new doctor I had never seen. The doctors appointment was pretty brief. She felt around my neck and decided that it may be beneficial to have an ultrasound of my thyroid done.
The next day, I went in for an ultrasound. By this time, the pain in my neck was almost completely gone. Even during the ultrasound, I felt a little embarrassed that I was even there because I was sure of the fact that nothing was wrong. I was pretty positive they would find nothing on the ultrasound, and it was all just going to be a waste of time.
Well, about a week later the results of the ultrasound came back. It was determined that there was a solid nodule on the right lobe of my thyroid. Now, 9 times out of 10, these nodules are non-cancerous. Benign nodules are actually fairly common, and most people have them and do not even know because they cause no issues. I was told that this was most likely the case for me, but that we should get the nodule biopsied just to make sure.
So a few days later, I had a fine-needle biopsy done on the nodule. And all that was left to do was wait for the results. There was a lot of miscommunication with the results, so by the time that I actually received them, it was weeks later, and I had already started classes at college. Anyway, about mid September 2016, I found out over a phone call with my mom, that the results of my biopsy came back that I had papillary thyroid cancer.
I didn’t really know how to feel. And to be honest, for a while, I was fine because it hadn’t really hit me that it was real. I was told countless amount of times that “if you HAD to have cancer, thyroid cancer is the cancer to get.” “Thyroid cancer is the ‘good’ cancer.” I can tell you right now, that anyone who has ever said either of those things, have NEVER actually had thyroid cancer. I get the idea that thyroid cancer is most of the time very treatable, and it is a usually very straightforward type of cancer. However, living without a thyroid changes your life drastically. I’ll get more into that at a later time. But if you take any lesson from this at all, absolutely DO NOT call thyroid cancer the good cancer. Like ever.
Anyway, I met with an ENT to schedule a time for my surgery. It was still September at this time and my surgery was scheduled for November 22nd, 2016. I planned this right before Thanksgiving break so that I would only have to miss one day of classes instead of multiple days. So after my surgery was scheduled, I had a few months to do nothing but wait. This was the easy part.
I feel like this is a lot for one blog post, so I’m going to end this here. If you’d like to read more, I am going to make a post after this regarding surgery, recovery, and so on. 🙂