I had waited my entire life for the moment to finally come. I was finally starting my quest through nursing school and couldn’t have been more excited. My happiness soon ended when on January 17, 2012, the second day of nursing school, my endocrinologist called me and told me I had thyroid cancer.
It all started when I needed a physical for nursing school. When my doctor felt my throat she said ‘Oh, I think there is a little nodule on your thyroid.’ Well I thought, well that’s no big deal. Boy was I wrong, I had an ultrasound to confirm the nodule and then a fine nettle biopsy on Jan, 12 2012. Right before I had my biopsy I talked with my doctor about the procedure and he reassured me that I was going to be fine and he didn’t believe it was cancerous because of its small size.
That was the first time I had ever heard the word cancer during this whole situation. My stomach was in my throat and I wanted to start bawling right in the doctors office. It was a word I never thought I would hear in my entire life. All I thought was ‘Why is this happening to me?’
The 5 day wait to hear my results was the longest of my life. What was supposed to be the happiest time of my life, starting nursing school, was spoiled by the worry that I might have cancer. When the call finally came, I wasn’t expecting what came out of the doctors mouth. He had told me before the biopsy that he didn’t think it was cancerous, but it turned out it was. How could he give me just false reassurance? I don’t think I have ever cried so much in my life. I went and told my mom and she couldn’t believe it either. It was the worst news possible.
From there I was told I would have my thyroid totally removed and would be on a daily medication for the rest of my life. I had to decide when to have the surgery and if I was going to continue with school that semester. I met with the surgeon and decided I wasn’t going to let anything stop me and get in the way of my dream to become a nurse, so I stayed in school.
On March 6, 2012 I had a totally thyroidectomy. It was right before spring break at school and this news of cancer had taken a toll on my schoolwork. I wasn’t passing 2 of my classes (have to get 80% in classes to pass in nursing school) before my surgery and had 3 exams the day before my surgery. I was a wreck. I didn’t realize this news had effected me as much as it had, until I thought it was too late.
I spent my entire spring break recovering and went back to school the Monday after spring break and knew it was going to take a miracle to pass my courses. I met with a counselor and talked to her about dropping out, I talked to my teachers asking what I would have to do to pass my classes. It was a long shot but I decided to stick to it and continue with school.
By some unknown miracle I pulled up my grades and passed all of my classes. It was probably the hardest thing I will every have to do. I was completely exhausted from lack of sleep from the ridiculous amount of studying I had to do, from having to wait for my medication to kick in and get to the right levels, from going back to work 2 weeks after surgery. I never thought I would be moving on to my second semester after the hardship I went through during my first semester. But I have learned that I can do anything I really set my mind to. I have learned that life is fragile and at any given moment something bad can happen to you or the ones you love. I couldn’t have done it without the support of my AMAZING friends and family.
The scar on my neck is a daily reminder of my thyroid cancer. But it is also a daily reminder that I am a fighter and can make it through anything! Fight like a girl!!!
The informational content of this article is intended to convey a personal experience and, because every person’s experience is unique, should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.