In the summer time I noticed that my neck was lumpy and thought that my glands were up. My other half at first joked about my hypochondria, but then noticed that there was a visible lump, which seemed to be growing. He persuaded me to make an appointment with the doctor to have it checked out. I went along gaily thinking that the doctor would pat me on the head, tell me I had some post viral symptom and lecture me about getting adequate rest, ridiculous and impossible with two young children. But to my surprise he asked to have a feel, and I watched as his face changed from affable friendly concern to the non-committal mask which gave away the fear that he had found something serious.
A few weeks later I had been fast tracked to the local hospital and was being poked and prodded in every office above the neck. I had ultrasound, a MRI scan, fine needle aspirations and cameras down my nasal passage. The upshot was that I was diagnosed with a (sexy sounding) multi-nodular goitre with an enlarged adenoma, which appeared to be growing rather quickly. A partial hemi-thyroidectomy was recommended. To say that I was in shock was an understatement. I asked for time to consider the diagnosis and the advised course of action.
In my usual fashion I got straight to work to research every aspect of this disease. I hoped to find that there was some way of managing a goitre using diet or lifestyle change. To my surprise there was very little information about this area of health available. I was confused about the information that seemed to imply that most goitres are caused by iodine deficiency, yet eating foods high in iodine content can actually cause goitre formation too. I read that goitres can also be the result of Graves disease or other autoimmune diseases. But my thyroid results were ‘normal’ and did not indicate any problem. I found the more I researched, the more conflicting information I found, and the more confused I became.
But this process was superseded when my final FNA test came back with a result indicating that cells ‘suspicious but not diagnostic’ of papillary thyroid cancer had been found. My decision was easy to make – I do not want to live with the threat of cancer. I agreed to surgery to remove half of my thyroid gland containing the adenoma, and had the operation this week. I now am waiting to find out whether my dodgy thyroid did contain cancer cells. If so I will be scheduled to have the other half taken out and then will have radioactive iodine treatment to kill off any remaining thyroid cells…..HOLY COW!
There is nothing quite so motivating to address general malaise as a life threatening health scare. Through this episode I realised that ….
It is not my time to go yet – Cancer can kiss my a$$ cos I have way too much to do, places to go and people to meet and love and laugh with! I’m going to do what it takes to find my mojo, to visit those places I want to see with my own eyes, and to meet those people who make my heart sing.
I thought about the possibility of dying and how this would affect my kids. Well basically I cant leave them – I have to work out how to live my life well for them. When I die (as we all must at some point) I want to leave them a legacy that they can be proud of, that will inspire them and help them live their lives fully with meaning and purpose.
I will work out how to live my life well. I want to be healthy and strong for many many years to come. I want to find out what I can do myself to be my own physician, to reclaim my health and have some sense of control over my body and energy.
Now I know that this is a bigger subject than just one blog post.. but if anyone has been through a similar journey I would be very grateful to hear from you! I need information, advice – whatever you’ve got, throw it to me! I am hungry for anything you can give me.