It’s been just two days since my doctor uttered the ugliest word imaginable. Cancer. It’s almost impossible for me to wrap my mind around cancer. I am a healthy, 34 year old, wife and mother with possible thyroid cancer. There it is again, cancer, it sounds as ugly today as it did yesterday.
My first cancer scare began in 2008, when I was diagnosed with Graves disease and a multi-nodule goiter. I know it sounds gross. It reminds me of some wicked witch, with a huge hairy goiter sticking out of her neck, but I assure you it sounds worse than it looks. I underwent a Fine Needle Aspiration (FNA) in 2008 to determine malignancy. A few days felt like a lifetime, but at last the results were in! Benign! I dodged the bullet. I did a little happy dance and didn’t think about
I would struggle with thyroid issues for three more years before my endocrinologist recommended having my thyroid removed. The nodules in my thyroid release their own hormones and leaves me in a constant thyroid battle between hypo and hyper. My doctor ran a RAI (radioactive iodine uptake) and my thyroid didn’t take up the iodine as expected, so I am not a candidate for radioactive iodine (I-131), leaving surgery as my only option. My only concern with the surgery was how hideous my scar would be. I am beginning to stock pile scarves and necklaces in an attempt to
combat staring and questions.
It wasn’t until my surgeon uttered the words, “Betsy, you and Mitch (my husband) should prepare yourselves for the possibility of cancer”, that my whole focus changed. My heart sank. There it was again, cancer. The surgeon is concerned about the size and location of my largest nodule and although I have had a biopsy, he is still concerned it may be cancer. We won’t know if it is cancer until the thyroid is actually removed and examined by pathology.
As ugly as the word cancer is, I guess I am lucky. Thyroid cancer is extremely curable, and even though I know it is highly curable, I still find myself scared. I find strength among those women who fought the disease before me. Their words, wisdom and advice are the only comfort I have.
My surgery is scheduled for April 8th. So, for the next month I am left to ponder, worry and cry. When the last tear is shed, I will gather my strength and prepare to fight.
So readers, I fight. I fight for myself. I fight like a girl.
This article is intended to convey general educational information and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.
Update! My thyroidectomy was a success!! My pathology report indicated the presence of “precancerous” cells. The surgeon felt had my thyroid not been removed we could have had a much bigger fight on our hands. I feel very lucky to have the support of a wonderful family, amazing husband and son, and of course the best endocrinologist and surgeon. I urge all readers to have their thyroid checked regularly. It just might save your life!
Besty, that is wonderful news!! I’ve been wondering how everything turned out and am so happy that you gave us an update. Your story is an excellent reminder of the importance of having regular “thorough” checkups including thyroid tests. Thanks again for sharing!